On our visit to Annecy, we left till last our visit to one of the cleanest lakes in Europe. With an area of 2,760 hectares and a length of 14.5 kms and an average depth of 42 meters in spring time, it is a unique places to relax and unwind. The evening was falling as we approached its banks and pre-Alpine peaks and we had a glimpse of the setting sun. A real treat if this place is not crowded as it tends to be in the summer. Sitting in one of the benches along the path that goes round Annecy, I spent time taking some photographs, good, fair or bad is not important. What is important is the tranquility and peace with which I did it.
Fourviere is a special place for its connection with the origin of the city of Lyon. In this city the second Catholic church of Europe can be found and with your imagination you can see what kind of experiences the people of the time had who watched between the two rivers, the Saone and the Rhone, the ability to give rise to a city like Lyon. It is charming.
Located on the Annecy lake, this picturesque French town in Haute-Savoie definitely shows off its alpine roots. It is, after all, very close to the Alps, Switzerland, and Italy. It's a small city (around 50,000 people) whose history begins in the 10th century, and has always been linked to Geneva. It's been part of the Savoie house since 1401.
For many years, Annency was the home of the Geneva bishopric, and of the Catholic orders which fled to the city during the Reformation, making Annency home of the Counterreformation, led by Francis de Sales who founded the Salesian sect.
Annecy's main attractions are the gorgeous lake and city center which houses many medieval relics and charming canals. There are also historic monuments like the Island Palace, which dates to the 12th century, the Cathedral of St. Peter, Sante-Claire and Royale streets, and the Annecy History Museum located in the old mint.
It's a beautiful trip to the past and a great experience.
The Parc de la Tête d'Or in Lyon is an amazing place. The meadows, lakes and countless animals provide for a wealth of activities. Any season of the year, it's nice good to walk on the paths, but if what we want is a more varied plan, it's best to head there in spring-summer. We opted to get there by the trolley that leaves you near the park entrance. Just like in the movies, you roll out your red checkered tablecloth and sit down to start the feast!. It is very common to see people picnicing in the park. After lunch, we chose to cruise around the lake by boat, but you can also explore the park by bike. The free zoo inside the park is the nigh point. You can see everything from small monkeys and porcupines to tigers, lions and giraffes, among others.
The Island Palace is probably the most photographed monument in the center of Annecy. This is a 12th century palace on a small island in the middle of the river. It was later used as a prison and now houses a center devoted to the study of the city's architectural heritage. Presumably, being completely surrounded by the river, is it was difficult for the prisoners to break out. Its figurehead is very recognisable and gives a great charm to this area of the city.
We loved it, much more than we expected. The houses are built in the typical architecture of alpine structures. It also has some canals, a very small but very romantic train station, some monuments and, of course, good views.
Quite a small zoo, but at least it is free, and it is in the most beautiful park in Lyon which is la Tete d'Or. This historic space which was bought originally by the city council from the city's hospitals lets families discover the animals of the world, their way of life, and how to help the animals' survival ...It was bought to give the citizens a green space. The zoo brings together birds, monkeys, mammals elephants ... And if they appear sad and missing their African land, most animals seem to have adapted well to the climate of Lyon. Many animals come from afar, from antelopes to lions or bears. It is a strange mix it is surprising to see it in a public park. There are 6 acres and more than 300 animals. Before they were in sad cages, veterinary services now are trying to make landscapes that resemble, as closely as possible, the natural habitat of the animal so it it feels at home.
Grenoble station is the main station in the region of l'Isere. It's a fairly modern station, which is open until midnight, with a waiting room equipped with good heating facilities, an important detail at a mountain town where it is cold in winter. From there you can get to the other cities of the Alps, ski resorts, to Chambery for example, or Annecy. For Lyon, the first big city, it depends on if you go on the fast or normal train, it can take between 45 minutes and an hour and a half. Grenoble has smaller stations in the villages on the outskirts. The station was built for the 1968 Olympic Games, which were successfully held in Grenoble. If you want to go to Paris, you will have to take the TGV, the French AVE, and it takes three hours and a half. Train tickets are easily purchased online at www.voyages-sncf.Com site if you are under 25 you can buy a card for 50 euros per year that gives you an whopping 50% discount - well worth the price. But if you are spending some time in France, it's always best to purchase your tickets as far in advance as is possible in order to procure the very best possible rates, so some planning is probably necessary.
The Cathedral of Saint John Baptist de Lyon is a Roman style cathedral, which is next to the Rhone River, in the district of Old Lyon. If you take the subway there, you have to get off at the Vieux Lyon stop, or you can go on foot, or by Vélov, free bikes you'll see all over teh place and, at 1 euro per week,are the best way to discover Lyon. Then, you reach the courthouse walkway or Bonaparte Bridge. If you're coming from the Place Bellecour, the largest beach in the city, then the church is just on the other side. As the streets of Old Lyon are very narrow, you don't see the wall unless you go in the square in front of the church. It is beneath the hill and the Basilica of Fourvière. It was built in the 15th century on the ruins of an old church originally built in the 6th century. There's an old astronomical clock which is pretty nice and dates back to the 14th century. Before the construction of the Basilica of Fourvière, this was the was the main church of Lyon. We visited it at the same time we were exploring old Lyon which still retains a very nice medieval look.
For many people this is the most beautiful square in the city. It is located in central Lyon, in the most central first district. It is a closed square, rectangular in shape, with the town hall on one side, a fine arts palace which is now a museum and a shopping arcade on the west side. In days gone by there was a wall that protected the city and a tower that allowed monitoring the area, particularly the bridge du Change, the only way across the river into the heart of Lyon. The square is considered a historical monument and has also been named a UNESCO world heritage site together with the rest of the old district of Lyon. In the sixteenth century, the walls were destroyed. Then they began developing the area with gardens and the town hall. It became an important place in the city. Today it is a very nice pedestrian location, with a large fountain, which was renewed in 1994 by Daniel Buren, who also made the squares of the royal palace in Paris.
The National Opera of Lyon promotes the arts, dance and music of Lyon and its region. The building's main hall can accommodate 1,100 people. Then there is a small amphitheater of 200. It is a modern building that was built in 1983, looks quite modern, and is behind the town hall. Only make works of ballet and opera, with a symphony orchestra dedicated solely to the place. Now the orchestra is directed by a Japanese, Kazushi Ono, since September 2008. The stage for more than 600 square meters and the center is one of the largest in France. It's a very nice building that integrated well in the theater square, next to the River Rhone.
This place is located at only 15 minutes from Lyon, and it is called Pérouges, it is a town which seems to have not changed since the Middle Ages. We left the car at one of the outdoor parking and we entered this small village through one of its two entrances. Strolling through the cobbled streets you can let your imagination run wild, it is easy to imagine swordsmen, knights, ladies and artisans. Indeed, in the summer there is a medieval festival that is held there. You can't leave Pérouges, part of the association "Les plus beaux villages de la France", without trying the local specialty, the "galette au sucre" a kind of cake, preferably in Ostellerie Perouges, a XIII century mansion in Tilleul Place, the center of town.
Annecy-Le-Vieux is known for its medieval old town on the shores of Lake Annecy. It's built around a system of canals which empty into the lake. The medieval prison forms an island in the canal and is a special highlight of the city. Enjoy lunch or dinner along the waterfront on a sunny day, and you will not be disappointed by the mountain views. Paddleboats or motorboats are available for rent along the lake. On a warm day, relax in one of the many parks next to the water or walk up to the Castle.
The Terreaux square is the central plaza of the medieval part of Lyon. In the center you can see a beautiful fountain, built by Bartholdi. Bartholdi created it in 1889 when the city decided it needed renovations. He had just finished creating the now famous Statue of Liberty, in two sizes, the largest, which the French gave the United States and that is at the entrance of New York's port, and a smaller one that is on an island in the river Seine in Paris. The fountain, which was commissioned by the city council, was the start a work for the city of Bordeaux, but ended up being too expensive for them, so Lyon bought it instead. It's called Freedom Cart and it depicts the Garonne, the river that runs through Bordeaux, and its four tributaries, throwing herself into the ocean. Having been featured in the universal exhibit in Paris, it was then dismantled and was rebuilt in the Bellecour square in Lyon. Relocated in 1992, the fountain is now in front of the entrance of the Museum of Fine Arts, and the place where it used to be became and underground parking garage.
On 8 December every year, the city of Lyon serves as the headquarters of the Festival of Lights. The windows of the houses and apartments and the streets are adorned with a multitude of colors. Many artists transform the facades of historic buildings and invite the public to a wonderful show, full of magic.
The Traboules (roots from the Latin "trans ambulare, walk through) are corridors or passages that allow you through buildings and down the hills of Croix-Rousse and Fourvière faster. These passageways were used by the" canuts " or silk workers when they were on strike and were chased by police in the 19th century. traboulesp also went down the cargo ships faster down the river, where the boats waited for them. Several pages offer tours of these circuits that are somewhat hidden, unfortunately the pages are in French: Http: / / www.Lyon-visite.Info/traboules-croix-rousse/ http://www.Lyontraboules.Net/parcours.Php . And obviously to get information in your language you can go to the tourist office in the city. Another option is to go on an adventure, departing from the Bellecour or opera (metro Hotel de Ville), following the symbols that I put in photo with this corner.