The powers-that-be have spoken. Although we thought things were looking promising to get our stay extended, it's with sadness as well as happiness that we announce we are, in fact, coming home as planned: on October 5th. So this trip was pretty special, since it's our last weekend trip out of Tours until we head to Paris to fly home.
The Provence area is the last region of France was definitely wanted to visit. Even though we didn't have very long, we had a great time in three different cities. It was fast, it was furious, it was a whirlwind of French-ness, and we enjoyed every minute. So buckle up, and hold on tight.
First up: LYON. We left Tours after B got off work on Friday night, and we drove for four hours to Lyon. The town is pretty large - the third-largest in France, behind Paris and Marseille. It's situated on a river, and on one section is an adorable "old town." We hit up Old Town on Friday night for a glass of wine and a snack, and came back Saturday morning to explore a bit. We saw the Saturday market, had a lunch of pizza and tarts, grabbed a cup of coffee, and went up to the top of the hill overlooking the city to see Basilique Notre Dame de Fourviere. From there, we had great views of the city. And on our way up, we ran into a bar serving Wells beer. I'm a HUGE fan of their Banana Bread Beer and Sticky Toffee Pudding Ale, and we searched all OVER England and Ireland for it...in vain. I couldn't believe we found it in France. Needless to say, we had to stop and have a pint.
Then it was time to head to our next destination: MARSEILLE. We got to Marseille at almost 5:00 p.m. on Saturday. After a rejuvenating cup of coffee after the 3.5-hour drive, we began to explore the Vieux Port - the Old Port. We checked out the marina, then went to Fort St. Jean to explore and see the views. We spent quite a while there, taking some great pictures. We then stopped for happy hour refreshment at a nearby bar, then wandered around the marina some more to capture the sunset. Once the sun had gone down, it was time for dinner. Then we went back to our hotel to collapse.
The next day, we got up and climbed up the hill to see Basilique Notre Dame de la Garde. It's quite a hike up there - we didn't realize how steep it was. However, we got a great view of the mountains, beach, sea, city, and just about everything. It was a beautiful morning and we're definitely glad we did it. Our last stop in Marseille was the beach, so we could put our feet in the Mediterranean. B has put his feet in the Mediterranean in Spain, but this was my first time. Although there is still an ongoing argument between us about whether we were in the Mediterranean in Santorini - according to the map, it says we were in the Aegean Sea. B maintains it's the Mediterranean. Whatever. We got there one way or another.
Then we were on our way again to: Chateauneuf-du-Pape. A renowned wine area, Chateauneuf-du-Pape was a must-see as we made our way north. It's a tiny adorable town with absolutely nowhere to eat lunch at 2:00 p.m. on a Sunday afternoon, but wine tasting rooms galore - and you know they're open. We never could find anything to eat, but we did go to a tasting at a shop run by a 75-year-old woman who was generous with the pours. We left with two bottles of goodness that we're definitely saving for a special occasion.
We had to stop in nearby Orange, where we finally found a cafe that would deign to serve us a cheese and saucisson platter. Finally.
After that, it was time to get back on the road. We hit traffic on the south side of Lyon, causing us to roll into Tours at midnight. It was exhausting, but beyond worth it. We're going to miss these crazy adventures, but knowing us we'll never have a shortage of adventures together!
E & B