Chambéry and the Chartreuse

Before I left Lyon, I was intent on returning to the Parc Naturel Régional de Chartreuse. Put simply, my visit to the southern edge of the park back in February had whetted my appetite for more and I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to see another tiny corner of this majestic mountain range. I also had my eye on a little trip over to Chambéry, and it just so happens that this quaint little town provides easy access to the natural park. (A win-win scenario, if you ask me.) The map was purchased, the packed lunch packed (no items left in the fridge this time!) and the alarm set. On y va!

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Lyon’s Secret Garden

Lyon is like an onion: peel back the outer skin of iconic landmarks such as Fourvière, Place des Terreaux and Cathédrale St. John, and you’ll discover there’s far more to the city than you first thought. Take the time to explore the quirks of its diverse neighbourhoods, glimpse some of the city’s famous fresques and zigzag across the city using its network of traboules, and you’ll be richly rewarded. If it takes your fancy, you can even play at being Mary from Frances Hodgson Burnett’s timeless classic, The Secret Garden. It’s one of the city’s best-kept secrets, and is rarely mentioned in guidebooks – at least, it wasn’t in either of mine!

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Pépites Parisiennes (IV)

As the saying goes, time flies when you’re having fun – and I’ve certainly had fun compiling this little series about my recent trip to Paris. While it may not be the end of the road for this series, as I’m rather fond of the title, it has now reached a red traffic light, so to speak. I thoroughly enjoyed visiting (and revisiting, as was the case for a few) some of the crowd-pleasers, but felt most at home wandering the city’s fringes, which were both peaceful and picturesque. On our last day, after an essential detour to a pâtisserie or two, we headed out to the nineteenth arrondissement and gradually worked our way back to the tenth, conveniently finishing just a short walk away from Gare du Nord, where Laurence would catch the Eurostar back to London. Until next time, Paris. / Comme dit le proverbe, le temps passe vite quand on s’amuse – et je me suis bien amusée en écrivant cette petite série sur mon voyage récent à Paris. Tandis que cela ne sera pas nécessairement la fin du voyage pour cette série, car j’aime bien le titre, elle se trouve devant un feu rouge pour l’instant, pour ainsi dire. J’ai adoré mes visites (ou bien mes deuxième visites, selon le cas) des grands monuments, mais je me suis sentie plus à l’aise en flânant dans les quartiers plus loin du centre, qui étaient à la fois tranquille et pittoresque. Le dernier jour, après avoir fait un petit détour à une ou deux pâtisseries, nous sommes allés au dix-neuvième arrondissement et petit à petit nous nous sommes dirigés vers le dixième, finissant près de la Gare du Nord, d’où Laurence prendrait le Eurostar. À la prochaine, Paris.

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Blooming Marvellous

It’s been a while since I last sat down and actually penned a bucket list – these days, mine tends to be more of a mental note – though had I done so prior to moving to Lyon, visiting Monet’s garden would have sat pretty high up on it. Naturally, when the opportunity arose to do so, I grabbed it by the horns. (I work on the basis that I don’t know when I’ll next be in the area, so if it’s feasible – in terms of both time and money – at that point in time, then I may as well go for it.) A quick scout around the Voyages SNCF website was all it took for me to confirm it was doable as a day trip sans tour guide, and armed with the logistical details and a Google Maps printout, we were off.

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Pépites Parisiennes (III)

Paris is one of those cities that’s an assault on the senses. There’s so much to take in, to see and (most importantly) to eat, that there’s never enough time to do it all. (Not that that stops me from trying.) On my last trip to Paris, I zigzagged across the capital, scouting out the city’s gems – both large and small. Today’s instalment focuses on a few jewels in the fourteenth arrondissement’s crown (and that of its neighbour, the thirteenth arrondissement) – though this won’t sate the appetite of any budding cataphiles, as there’s more to this neighbourhood than the famous warren filled with human remains. (Though if that’s what you want and I can’t convince you otherwise, feel free to check out this post.) If you missed the previous instalments in this series, you know the drill: click here for the first post, and here for the second. Let’s crack on! / Paris, c’est une de ces villes qui est une agression sensorielle. Il y a tant à aller voir, à saisir et (de manière plus importante) à manger, qu’on n’a jamais suffisamment du temps pour tout faire. (Mais ça ne m’empêche pas d’essayer quand-même.) Pendant mon dernier voyage à Paris, j’ai traversé la ville, à la recherche des grandes et petites pépites parisiennes. L’épisode d’aujourd’hui va mettre l’accent sur les plus beaux fleurons du quatorzième arrondissement (et ceux de son voisin, le treizième arrondissement) – mais les cataphiles ne se seront pas rassasies, car cet arrondissement n’est que le fameux labyrinthe souterrain remplie de cadavres. (Cependant, si cela est votre truc et je ne peux pas vous convaincre autrement, allez regarder cet article.) Si vous avez raté les épisodes précédents, vous savez ce qu’il faut faire : cliquez ici pour le premier épisode, et ici pour le deuxième. On y va !

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Jeu, Set et Match: A Day at Roland-Garros

There are currently 5,384 people ahead of you in the queue. Welcome to the online booking system for Roland-Garros. Fortunately, the virtual queue moved speedily and less than thirty minutes later I was presented with various ticket options for my chosen day. Whoopee! The French are hardly renowned for having efficient online booking systems, and yet there I was, in awe of their seamless booking process before I’d even set foot in the grounds. As soon as I knew I’d be spending another year in the Land of Baguettes, I set my heart on a trip to the French Open. I wasn’t bothered about seeing the final or even a semi-final; I just wanted to experience the French Open any which way I could. Luckily for me, Laurence is always game for watching some live tennis, so it wasn’t difficult to talk him into spending the last weekend of May in Paris!

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Pépites Parisiennes (II)

Just over two months ago, I was soaking up the sunshine (and glowing lobster-red as a result) in Paris. Now, it’s a different story – back in the UK, I’m mostly soaked by incessant downpours instead. Inevitably, I’ve found myself reminiscing over that trip: the heat, the monuments, the food and everything in between. Today, I’m continuing this series on all gems great and small in the French capital, with an emphasis on the larger gems in this city’s tourist treasure trove. (If you missed the first instalment, click here to be brought up to speed.) / Il y a deux mois, à peu près, j’étais à Paris, absorbant la lumière (et devenant rouge comme un homard). Actuellement, c’est une autre histoire – au Royaume-Uni, je suis comme une éponge absorbant la pluie. Inévitablement, je passe du temps en réfléchissant sur ce voyage : la chaleur, les monuments, la nourriture et tout le reste. Aujourd’hui je continue cette petite série sur toutes les grandes et petites pépites parisiennes, en mettant l’accent sur les plus grandes pépites dans ce trésor pour touristes de cette ville magnifique. (Si vous avez raté le premier épisode, vous pouvez vous mettre au courant en cliquant ici.)

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