Believe it or not, I only have just over a month left of studying in Lyon. To say it has flown by would definitely be an understatement. Over the past few weeks I’ve been trying to tick off some of the places I want to travel to whilst here, mainly when I had the week off university for Toussaint (the French equivalent of half term). It was lovely to get out of the city and explore elsewhere and escape the university bubble.
Annecy, a small alpine town in the Haute-Savoie area is literally like stepping into a real-life fairy tale, and really unlike anywhere I have ever been. We arrived quite early, and went to explore firstly the old town, filled with brightly coloured buildings and chocolate box esque cobbled streets. In the centre there is literally a floating castle in the middle of the river called ‘le palais de l’isle’. Shortly after we walked around Annecy lake, which has incredible views of the alps. Also, I tried fondue for the first time here and I actually can’t believe I’ve spent my whole life without it. It is really worth going here for the day if you’re anywhere near, as you can see everything in just a few hours.
I had never been to Switzerland before and had always wanted to go, and it’s only just over 2 hours away from Lyon so I had to take the chance! Just after arriving we had a wonder around Lake Geneva which you can actually see Mont Blanc from, which was cool. We also saw the famous ‘jet d’eau’ fountain which is absolutely massive and can be seen from anywhere in the city. We then walked around the old town which had a very nice autumnal feel. Then we went inside the cathedral and thought it was a good idea to pay 5 francs to climb up the tower for a ‘panoramic view’ – it was not. We literally climbed over 300 steps in a narrow spiral staircase to get to the top, the view was probably worth it though. As the one of the UN headquarters is in Geneva, we decided to go for a tour of it which was so interesting. The security there was ridiculously (but unsurprisingly) high, they took pictures of us all before we went in and checked our passports a million times. The tour guide took us round all the meeting rooms and council chambers, whilst telling us about its history. Also, we had an absolute nightmare getting back as our flixbus was over 2 hours late, and finally arrived as a random unbranded German coach with a driver that couldn’t speak any French. Would not recommend flixbus.
I’d been to Paris a couple of years ago, but I really wanted to go again whilst I’m in France as there were still a number of places I didn’t manage to see before. First of all, the main thing I got from this trip is that taking a night bus in order to save money on staying somewhere for the night is a big no-no. My seat was right at the front of the bus, where the lights were on and right next to the driver who was playing the radio on loud all night. Literally just pay more for a hotel/hostel, it isn’t worth it. After arriving, I first went to Notre-Dame, but unfortunately couldn’t go inside as the queues were too long. Then, I had a walk around Jardin du Luxembourg, and actually managed to track down the exact location of where Tame Impala’s Lonerism album cover was taken there. After getting hopelessly lost on the metro, I then managed to find Musée d’Orsay where I was able to see many famous Van Gogh paintings, including starry night (the least famous one, but still). Then I went to Musée l’Orangerie, just across the river, where I saw the 2 rooms of Monet’s ‘Les Nymphéas’ paintings, which was so cool to finally see as I’d been wanting to go for years. In the evening I went to see my favourite band Wolf Alice, which was the main reason for me coming to Paris that weekend. I had several hours before my coach back to Lyon the next day, so I decided to go and explore Montmartre as I hadn’t been before. I mistakenly walked all the way up the hill to the Sacré-Coeur as I had no idea you could take the funicular – google maps said it was only a 9 minute walk, what could possibly go wrong? When I finally made it up there, there was a stunning view of the whole city from the top. After that, being the stereotypical Amélie obsessed French student I truly am, I went to find some of the places that it was filmed including Café des deux Moulins, which was definitely a highlight of my weekend.
Thank you for reading!