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Home > Travels > France

Melissa and I were invited to attend my best friend Sasha's wedding in Lyon, France on July 2nd, 2005. We figured, "how often are we going to be in France?", and decided to make an extended vacation out of it. We carved 12 days out of our schedules and decided to spread it out over Lyon, and Paris, France as well as Wengen, Switzerland. The trek started Wednesday, June 29th with a lloooonnggg trip to Paris (through Dallas) where we arrived around 10:00 am on Thursday, June 30th. We originally had a train leaving from Paris to Lyon at 1:00 pm but quickly discovered our train was leaving from a different station in the heart of Paris. We decided to change our reservation and leave from the train station where we flew into which unfortunately required us to hang out in the train station another 5 hours. We made the best of it by getting a bite to eat - the start of our 12 day bread overdose. When we finally boarded our train, it was a battle to find a spot for our typical oversized luggage. Unfortunately, we got on the wrong car all together which was quickly pointed out to us by a gaggle of French elementary kids at the next stop - yep, we were in their seats! Instead of chilling after a long flight, we got to sit between two cars on the stairs next to the bathroom...how refreshing! I think we were really too tired to even care...as long as we were on the right train heading towards Lyon!

We finally arrived at the Sofitel Royal Hotel in Lyon around dinner time and met up with the gang for drinks and dinner. Friday was spent walking around the Square and touring Lyon on one of their double decker, open-air tour buses. We knew we had Sunday all to ourselves there in Lyon so this was a great way to find out where we wanted to roam. Friday night was a great gathering for the wedding at a cozy restaurant in Old Lyon. The meal was fantastic as folks mingled with people they either hadn't seen in a long time or never at all. Everyone had a great time! We left dinner and headed off to a local 'watering hole' and carried on until late into the night.

The wedding took place Saturday at one of the most beautiful places we'd ever seen. Sasha and Gaelle chose the Chateau de Bagnols as their wedding site and it was a complete surreal, postcard setting. The Chateau de Bagnols is a 13th Century castle in the wine country outside Lyon. The weather was gorgeous and the wedding went off without a hitch. The dinner to follow was in the old wine cellar of the Chateau which was a huge room with one central table and what seemed like thousands of candles. The dinner lasted 5-1/2 hours over 8 courses...True French Dining! The whole day was simply amazing!

Sunday was supposed to be a day of relaxation but Steve, Ashley, Mel and I decided to walk all over Lyon. We ate lunch at a cute outdoor cafe which fueled us for the hours ahead trekking all over town. We made our way up to the Basalic and rested for a bit, winding our way back to Old Lyon by way of the Greco-Roman Amphitheater. Lyon is a really nice city with waterways going through the center of town and tons of historical sites to see. We had a great experience there in Lyon!

Monday through Friday were spent in Wengen, Switzerland where we then headed to Paris for a few days before our departure back to Tucson. To get there from Switzerland required us to change trains 5 separate times before finally reaching our destination. Unfortunately, Switzerland drained all our batteries for our camera so we were dependant on our Video camera to take pictures for us. Even so we made the best of our short, two day visit to the capital city. Our hotel was about a 10 minute walk from the Eiffel Tower. We walked there the first night we were there and had dinner on a corner restaurant where you could peak your head out and see the Eiffel Tower. Saturday was a walking marathon around Paris. We started around 9:00 am walking past the Eiffel Tower on our way to the Arc de Triomphe. We climbed the stairs to the top of the Arc where we had a great view of Paris. From there we strolled down the Champs-Elysee which was preparing for the end of the Tour de France with French flags lining the streets the entire way from the Arc de Triomphe, through the Place de la Concorde (where the Yellow Jersey ceremony takes place), to the Louvre. We continued down the famous roadway til we arrived at the Louvre. We went inside and immediately made our way to the Mona Lisa...us and the rest of Paris! That room was packed! Even so, we've always seen pictures and heard stories about the famous picture so we had to see what all the buzz was about.

From there we continued our hike around Paris to Notre Dame. There were tons of people there too but we knew we had to get in. We waited in a pretty quick line and strolled around inside for about 30 minutes. What an amazing place. The stain glass was really impressive! The whole place was impressive! By the end of that tour, we were getting a bit tired so we headed back towards the Eiffel Tower. We knew we would probably crash out if we went straight to the hotel so we decided to stop at the Eiffel Tower and take to ride all the way to the top. WOW...What a ride! I don't think Mel has opened her eyes yet! The top is much higher that we thought it would be. Talk about an amazing view of Paris! It doesn't get any better than that! It was well worth the wait in line. From there we walked back towards our Hotel and stopped into another cafe for a well deserved dinner...around 8:00 pm...11 hours later. Needles to say, we slept well that night! We woke up Sunday and grabbed the best pastries from a local bakery for breakfast. From there it was off to the airport for another long flight back to Tucson.

France was such an amazing trip. The people were extremely nice and helpful despite the language barrier. We can't wait to get back and see more.