Daily Archives: September 21, 2023

Thursday September 21 – Lyon

Le Jardins de Beauvoir, Lyon: 45°45’22.1″N 4°49’07.2″E

(8 Rue de Trion, 69005 Lyon, France)

We spent today exploring Lyon. No car for us – we had enough driving yesterday. Time to give FiFi a rest.

Our hosts told us that they have lived on the property for about 25 years and started their B&B business about 10 years ago. The property was originally a small convent.







We had a great breakfast at our B&B and then headed out to explore the old city. This was very interesting because where we were staying in the city was very high elevation overlooking the Rhône river below and the city of Lyon. On route to the basilica we passed more Roman ruins.

Those guys were everywhere! We made it to the basilica of Notre Dame, located even higher than where we are staying so we had a pretty good climb on steep streets and sidewalks to get there.

Our efforts were well rewarded though because the basilica was very ornate with mosaic floors and frescos as well as a gorgeous vaulted ceiling painted dark green with gold stars.

We were fortunate enough to get inside the cathedral as a morning mass was being celebrated. We sat quietly in the back with many other people while the congregation participating in the mass were seated further forward. The service was in French & even though we didn’t understand much of what the priest was saying it was very beautiful.

Everything else that we wanted to see was on the streets below us so it was all downhill from here – but certainly not downhill as far as the sights we were seeing.

The streets in the old city are very narrow and the buildings about 5 stories high so it makes for long shaded passageways. It is easy to understand how Lyon became a centre of the French Resistance in WW II as there were many ways to avoid detection and pass through the city relatively unseen.

Many of the buildings are painted pastel shades of yellow, pink and cream. We walked across one of the several bridges to see another part of the city that had more modern buildings blended in with the old ones.



We went to another cathedral of St. Jean Baptiste, a gothic cathedral begun in 1180 and completed in 1476, considered to be the heart of the old city.

From there we walked back to the Gadagne Museum which told the story of the city of Lyon. Attached to this museum is the MAM – museum of marionettes which hosted a collection of puppets of all eras from around the world. Fascinating. Outside of the museums is the Charvet clock, built 170 years ago, which features marionette figures that move when the clock chimes on the quarter hour.

We walked along the cobbled streets to find the funicular to ride almost straight up and stopped just steps from the B&B.

 The funicular was surprisingly mostly underground from the bottom of the hill to the top. It must have been a massive project to do all that tunneling up such a steep incline.

After resting for a while back at our B&B had dinner at a charming bistro close to “home” and walked back in the pouring rain. Steak again for me! A full day!

Tomorrow we’re back on the road again to explore some of the Burgundy region & check out the canals there – for a future cruise? But this time we’re sticking to the smaller roads – no multilane freeway for Fifi!


Wednesday September 20 – Avignon to Lyon

Maison Boussingaul B&B, Avignon: 43°56’45.4″N 4°48’12.3″E

(39 Rue Boussingault, 84000 Avignon, France)

L’isle-sur-la-Sorgue: 43°55’12.8″N 5°03’19.2″E

Gordes: 43°54’28.6″N 5°11’52.2″E

Le Jardins de Beauvoir, Lyon: 45°45’22.1″N 4°49’07.2″E

(8 Rue de Trion, 69005 Lyon, France)

We had an early breakfast with Bruce and Barb at our B&B and then prepared to get on the road to Lyon which was about a 3 hour drive from where we were staying. It was hard to say goodbye to Bruce and Barb after having so many wonderful adventures with them over the past couple of weeks but it was time for them to head home & time for us to move on. We really enjoyed our stay at this place. John Paul was an excellent host and really helped our visit to Avignon be special.






Before we headed to Lyon, we made a couple of stops to see some more sites in this area. Our first stop on the advice of John Paul was to visit L’isle-sur-la-Sorgue, a very picturesque place that is supposed to be one of the prettiest towns in France. It is unique because the river La Sorgue passing through the town actually splits into five different smaller rivers in the town center.

This is a very busy tourist place with lots of cafés and bistro’s lining the river banks. We stopped at noon for a drink and a small snack at a café beside the cathedral that we intended to visit right after but we should have remembered that everything closes from 12 noon until 2 PM for lunch, including this cathedral – so no cathedral visit for us today. We continued our walking tour of the town and then got back in the car and headed towards Gordes, a hill village typical of this region.

Gordes was an amazing place to see from a distance. It is not that big of a village but it is perched high on a steep hillside overlooking the valley below with mountains far off in the distance.

This place was very busy with all kinds of traffic and it was difficult to find a parking spot so we just stayed on the opposite side of the narrow valley and enjoyed the views of the village.  Then we hopped back in the car and resumed our journey to Lyon.

The GPS calculated that we had a 2 1/2 hour drive to Lyon on the freeway/tollway. We had only been on the road for about 30 minutes when it started to rain. The traffic was pretty heavy and the rain got harder and harder. It was an interesting drive in this tiny Fiat car, bombing down the road and about 120 to 130 km/h and being passed by other cars and trucks like we were standing still. Fortunately the rain only lasted about 45 minutes and the further north we drove the better the weather got.

We arrived in Lyon around 6:30 PM. There was some road repairs being done in the neighborhood where our B&B was located so we couldn’t get the GPS to drive to the address we were given. I finally found a safe place to pull over that was close to where we were supposed to be & Catherine went on foot to find our B&B. She finally found the front entrance of our B&B and rang the bell for assistance. This is a very big “front” door!

Our hosts Mimi & Nicolas came out to greet us. Mimi helped Catherine carry our luggage up to the house while Nicholas helped me take the car to a nearby parking garage. We were certainly happy to be off the road and into our room.

We rested for a few hours & then went looking for a place to have a bite to eat. We found a nice little bar/pub only a few steps away from our B&B and enjoyed a glass of wine for Catherine, a big draft beer for me and a shared tapas plate.

There was even a bonus for both of us because a European Champions League football game was on the bar telly for me and the bar owner’s dog (named Loco) came and made friends with Catherine.

Tomorrow we explore Lyon.


Tuesday September 19 – Avignon

Maison Boussingaul B&B, Avignon: 43°56’45.4″N 4°48’12.3″E

(39 Rue Boussingault, 84000 Avignon, France)

We were up early again this morning and had breakfast with Bruce and Barb at the B&B. Piccolo, the house cat, joined us for breakfast & claimed Bruce’s seat cushion as soon as it hit the floor because his (Piccolo’s) was wet from being in the rain the night before.

John Paul is an excellent host and served us another delicious breakfast. Today Catherine and I plan to explore Avignon while Bruce and Barb were getting ready to do a bit of driving and visit Gordes, a picturesque mountain village about 30 minute drive away.

Catherine and I walked into the old city in search of a nearby residential area where a stream ran past the front of houses. At one time there were 23 water wheels on the stream that were providing “power” to the fabric industry looms.

Our next stop is to visit the main public market in the center of the city. This is a very large indoor market with a couple of dozen food stalls selling cheese, fruit, vegetables, fish, meat, bread, pastries and prepared foods – fantastic!

I wish our market in London was like that. While we were there Catherine bumped into John Paul who was there shopping for some of our breakfast foods for the next morning – including a special type of Camembert cheese that he wanted with us to try with his homemade jam.

The market also had a “living wall” on the side of the building facing a public square. By coincidence, the day that we were visiting was also a flea market set up in the public square.

There were lots of vendors there selling small antiques, books, jewelry and a whole variety of other things. We browsed through the flea market but everything that I found interesting was way too big to bring home.

We stopped for lunch at a small café nearby and Catherine had a really nice quiche that she shared with me and I had an espresso.

After lunch we walked up the hill to the Papal Palace which overlooks the city. There was a tourist “train” parked outside the entrance to the palace – similar to the one we took in Beziers a few days ago, but this one was shorter. Uncle Bud, you might have a good chance a driving this one – I’ll call it the CPR (Catholic Pope Railway). You can show them your CV as a professional CPR (Canadian Pacific Railway) engineer & they might “fast-track you into a senior position .

The Catholic Church relocated the Papacy from Rome to Avignon from 1309 to 1377. They were motivated to do this because the church wanted protect the area south of the Rhône River which was considered to be Papal territory and the north side of the Rhône River was considered to be France.

In 1378 the church chose to return the Pope to Rome for “political” reasons.  However, the Palace Palace in Avignon remained an important part of the Catholic Church for the next 300 years.

We didn’t bother taking the tour inside the palace because there were pretty long lines to get in and by that time we were beginning to be “museumed out”. Instead we decided to climb a bit higher up the mountain to get some fantastic views of the city and the Rhône River below.

We also found a very quiet cafe in the park overlooking the city. A great place to stop for a rest in a cool drink.

After relaxing break we walked back down the mountain and eventually found our way back to the B&B. Early in the evening we had a wonderful dinner at a nearby restaurant with Bruce and Barb to celebrate our holiday together. Sadly, this was our last night together in France.

Tomorrow Catherine and I leave for Lyon. Bruce & Barb will stay in Avignon for another day & then head back to Paris for their flight home.