Hello everyone!!! It’s been a week since my return home. 

One week can turn in an active, stressful, full of breathtaking views, delicious food, friendly talks and unforgettable time!  In 8 days, I have visited 7 cities, I traveled twice by plane, I changed 6 buses and 3 blabla cars (I will speak about that later). I spent good time with 3 of my old and good friends in 3 different countries and all 3 of them are Cristina. Funny, no?

Some of you asked me about how much would cost a trip like this one. Well, first of all, I like to travel cheap, to find good deals on transport and accommodation (that’s why usually I find a friend, or a friend of a friend to stay at their place, or an airbnb room). The rest of the money I prefer to spend on food, museums, a glass or two of wine or beer at a terrace with great view.

How can you travel cheep in France? For sure not by using trains. If you aren’t traveling by your own car, you have 2 options: buses and blala car (covoiturage). There are many companies of buses, but the one I would recommend you is FlixBus. It is cheap, comfortable, has plugs, wi-fi and clean toilets. The second option is “covoiturage”, on the site blablacar.fr you will find people who are willing to give you a ride in exchange of money (you pay everything through the site). For the first time, I used it last year and I had a great experience. I met interesting and friendly people, one of them even did a stop in another city in order to show it to me by night. However, I had a bad experience as well. One of the drivers didn’t show up and didn’t prevent me (he just cancelled on the site, even if we agreed by messages about the drive the same day).

From the Republic of Moldova it is quite expensive to fly.  Anyway, for those of you who are ready to do 450 km in more or less 7 hours by bus to Bucharest, there are plenty of possibilities to find great deals. So, I went to Bucharest and spent a wonderful day there, Bucharest emerged in the snow is even more beautiful. The fly tickets were 25 euros Bucharest- Bergamo -Bucharest. From Bergamo I took a bus to Milano which was only 5 euros and it left me at the Central Station of Milano. After spending one day in Milano, I took another bus to Lyon (19 euros) and from there to Grenoble (5 euros) – I know I did the road back, but I didn’t find a better connection. And finally, I arrived to my destination!

Clermont-Ferrand

France is a beautiful and big country. That’s why each time I visit it, I tend to go to new places. This time, I visited . It is a new region of France (it came into effect on the 1st January 2016) and it resulted from the merger of two regions: Auvergne and Rhône-Alpes.

The first city on my list was:

Grenoble

Grenoble

It is one of France’s most important centres of scientific research. It is well known for its great museums (we didn’t visit even one – shame on us, but we didn’t have enough time).

The city is on the bank of the River Isère and is surrounded by Naturel Regional Parks (de Chartreuse and du Vercors). What I found particular about this city? The breathtaking view from the Saint Laurent bridge. You can see the old houses, which are there since the 3rd century, the river and the French Alps.

The city itself is very nice, with tiny streets, colourful houses, many terraces, at which you can stay even in winter thanks to the infrared heater.

Grenoble, Place Saint Andre
Palace of the Parliament of dauphiné – Place Saint Andre

Grenoble

jardin de ville
jardin de ville

If you are in Grenoble, you have to visit Bastille. The Bastille has been credited as the most extensive example of early 18th-century fortifications in France. It held an important strategic point on the Alpine frontier with the Kingdom of Savoy. It is linked with the city centre of Grenoble by The Téléphérique de Grenoble Bastille (Les Bulles). It is one of the oldest urban cable cars in the world and runs all year round.. except January. So, we didn’t have another option than to hike for almost 4 km. I blame our stops for being so slow, but every corner was so beautiful. How could we not stop?

The Téléphérique de Grenoble Bastille (Les Bulles)

La Bastille

When in Grenoble make sure to drink a cup of coffee at the “Cafe de la table ronde”. It is the second oldest cafe in France (1739).
Cafe de la table ronde

Annecy 

 

Feel Switzerland! It is only 35 km from Geneva and it is a small and charming city. They call it the Venice of the Alps. The city is influenced by three cultures : Italian, French and Swiss, which makes it unique. Why this city on the northern tip of the Lac d’Annecy is so special? It would be enough to look around in order to understand.

It has a charming old town (Vieille Ville),

Cathedral Notre Dame de Liesse
Cathedral Notre-Dame-de-Liesse

Cathedral square

The Sainte-Claire Gate
The Sainte-Claire Gate

The most recognized sight in Annecy would probably be the Palais de l’Isle .

Palais de l’Isle

has a startling turquoise lake, which is overlooked by the Alps,

Annecy

and canals.

Palais de l’Isle

Lyon

 

Place Bellecour

France’s third-largest city after Paris and Marseille. It was founded by the Romans and has many preserved historical areas and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The historic city centre forms a peninsula “Presqu’île” because of its position in the middle of two rivers the Rhône and Saône. Since the late 20th century, it has developed a reputation as the capital of gastronomy in France and in the world (so be ready to get fat here).

Fourvière, known as “the hill that prays”, is the location for the highly decorated basilica of Notre-Dame de Fourvière (the most beautiful basilica I have ever seen), several convents, the palace of the Archbishop, the Tour métallique (a highly visible TV tower, replicating the last stage of the Eiffel Tower) and a funicular (a railway on a steep hill).

Basilica Notre-Dame de Fourvière

Basilica Notre-Dame de Fourvière

The Église Saint-Georges

Lyon

Vieux Lyon – Medieval and Renaissance quarter of the town

Opéra National de Lyon

Opéra National de Lyon

City Hall towering over the Place des Terreaux

Place des Terreaux
the fountain sculpted by Bartholdi, the ‘father’ of the Statue of Liberty

Place Bellecour the largest clear square in Europe

Place Bellecour

Place Bellecour

Musée des Confluences, new museum of Sciences and anthropology which opened its doors on 20 December 2014.

Musée des Confluences

Confluence

Confluence

Clermont- Ferrand

 

The city surrounded by volcanoes. The city is also famous for hosting the Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival, one of the world’s leading international festivals for short films and for being the corporate headquarters of Michelin. The majority of the old buildings and churches was built out of black volcanic rock, giving it a somber and ominous mood.

Place de Jaude, the city’s most famous public square

Clermont, Place de Jaude

Cathédrale Notre-Dame-de-l’Assomption. The construction of the black gothic cathedral started in 1248 and was not finished until 1902.

Notre Dame de l’Assomption

The Puy-de-Dôme, the volcano overlooking the city.

Puy-de-Dôme

Notre-Dame-du-Port – a Romanesque basilica constructed in the 11th and 12th century out of yellow sandstone.

Notre Dame du Port

Jardin Lecoq.

Jardin Lecoq, Clermont

Notre-Dame-de-Prosperite

Notre Dame de Prosperite

Notre Dame de Prosperite

Parc Montjuzet. This park is an alternative for those (like me) who can’t make it to the top of the Puy-de-Dome.  

Parc Montjuzet, Clermont

If you are looking for a restaurant in Clermont-Ferrand, I can recommend you one : “La Taverne de Maître Kanter”. It became a restaurant in 1996 and it does Alsatian cuisine. The building itself is an old one, it was a tissue store. The location is perfect, it is near the Cathédrale Notre-Dame-de-l’Assomption, so you will have a beautiful view, especially from the terrace. The food is delicious as well – I still remember the taste of the sea food!

Montpeyroux

Montpeyroux

The village of Montpeyroux is located in the department of Puy de Dôme, halfway between Clermont-Ferrand and Issoire. It has been ranked among the most beautiful villages in France (Plus Beaux Villages de France) since 1989. It is a fortified village that was once the property of the prestigious lords of La Tour d’Auvergne. The citadel of Montpeyroux was built in the 11th century on a rocky hill known as mont pierreux – stony hill.

Montpeyroux

In the village you can find many local shops, but when we have visited it, they were all closed due to the non-touristic time of the year. Actually, it was quite abandoned, just a few tourists (10-12 people not more) and only one restaurants open at 2 o’clock. However, I would recommend to visit this village. It is gorgeous with splendid views on the valley of the Allier.

A very important thing about the restaurants in France. Most of them serve at specific hours. Usually it is from 12-14 for the lunch and from 19 o’clock for the dinner. We skipped the lunch because of that several times.

What to eat:

Truffade is a dish traditionally associated with Auvergne in France. It is a sort of thick pancake made with thinly sliced potatoes that are slowly cooked on goose fat until tender, then mixed with thin strips of tome fraiche. This mix is stirred until it sticks together in a sort of thick pastry.

Truffade

Tartiflette is a dish from the Savoie and Haute Savoie region of France. It is made with potatoes, reblochon cheese, lardons and onions.

Tartiflette

rosette de Lyon and terrine

Saucisson chaud and Quenelles de brochet with gratin dauphinois

Saucisson chaud and Quenelles de brochet

Seafood and escargot are always a good idea

Crab

Cheese:

French Cheese

What to drink:

Chartreuse liquor (as it was written in the Office de Tourisme de Grenoble) “Taste it or hate it, but you cannot leave the region without taking a sop”.

Chartreuse liquor

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1 comment

doha.backpage.com

Le siege de la nouvelle region a ete fixe a Lyon en lieu et place de l’ancienne region Rhone-Alpes.

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