Friday, 2 February 2018

A Quick Trip to Lyon, France

In my recent post about Heathrow's airport lounges, I mentioned about my little trip to Lyon. And if you're following me over on Instagram, I've slowly been teasing you with some of my favourite photos from the trip. But I thought it was finally time to tell you a little bit more about my journey to Lyon, France!

 Firstly, why was I in Lyon?

Well, I didn't actually go to France for Lyon. I was over there because myself and a friend decided to go into the mountains to go bobsledding - but that story is for another day!

However, ski resorts being what they are, it was incredibly expensive to actually stay at the resort and there wasn't a whole lot to do there anyway that wouldn't cost us a fortune. Neither of us had ever been to Lyon before, so we decided to fly and stay there instead and just hire a car for when we needed to head up to the mountains.

And well? We LOVED Lyon.

I've got to be honest with you, I don't typically enjoy my trips to France. I always have expectations and it never quite meets them. It's not that I DISLIKE anywhere that I go, I just find there's always something that isn't quite met. Well, Lyon changed all of that, and now I actively want to go back and visit more places - and back to Lyon itself, of course.

For starters, it's just such a friendly place. People speak to you. People smile at you. Everyone is people watching and everyone is polite and enthusiastic. It just has a nice, welcoming atmosphere.

The amount of English spoken was surprisingly limited - but that doesn't matter. Between us we were able to communicate in French although probably incredibly broken and painfully, but we found that in Lyon, people didn't mind. People didn't get frustrated with us. They encouraged us, and spoke to our level, and tried to help work out what we were trying to say, and they did it with a smile. By the way, I am by no means saying that I expect them to speak English to us, I certainly don't - but I appreciate that they've tolerated us and our terrible attempts at interaction, and although it's probably incredibly annoying they didn't show any signs of frustration with us. It's just that sort of a place, and I really appreciate that.

 There's also a lot to see. There's a lot of interesting architecture and it's a very pleasant place to walk around. It's not a perfect, storybook French city, but I'm glad that it isn't. I enjoyed just walking around and seeing what there was to look at, and discover new things as I went. I had a French friend give me some recommendations of what to see but honestly, we didn't need them - it was the sort of place where we were able to just find things as we went.

Obviously we need to talk about the food, right?

Well, that's yet another area where Lyon just excels. You see, when I think of France, I think of patisseries and cafes and a wonderful selection of delicious food and sweet treats. Whenever I visit, I've found that isn't quite the case. Lyon is everything I wanted it to be in terms of food. Baked goods are everywhere, and they're delicious. We basically ate cake for breakfast every day that we were there, and were very happy for it. So many restaurant selections for dinner, and all of them good. We didn't have a single disappointing meal in the entire time that we were there. Again, I was armed with a long list of recommendations from a friend originally from Lyon and we didn't need to refer to it at all - literally everywhere we went was delicious. If you enjoy bread or baked goods, you will be very happy here.

Driving in Lyon was a little bit difficult though. I don't know if it's true for all French cities, I suppose it probably is, but the roads were really disproportionately thin for the size of the cars which is already difficult to adjust to when you're driving on the opposite side of the road to what you're expecting.

It is also the world of extremely sharp corners. We struggled with getting the car into the car park at the hotel each day and felt a bit stupid for it, until we noticed on the last day just how many marks were all over the walls from where other people had tried and failed at it.

The tolls are quite expensive, too.

And you will almost 100% be given a Renault to drive!

Overall, would I recommend visiting Lyon?

Of course I would!

It was one of the best European trips I've taken. It's such a friendly city, with delicious food and lots to see - what isn't to love? It's one of the only places I've visited and immediately afterwards thought that I'd like to return to, and I definitely do plan on making another quick trip in the near future.

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