To get from the south of France to Paris, we decide to take a road trip with my parents. Usually on family trips like this, the car would be packed in with my siblings and the only sounds you can hear is all of us screaming (how we like to talk to each other). This time around, it is a lot quieter with just the four of us, my parents and Me and Frenchie.
The south of France is known for its endless fields of lavender during the summertime. Once we crack open the windows, the aroma of lavender quickly finds its way in the car and this is all we can smell for the next twenty miles. We make a photo stop and sneak a piece of the lavender in our pockets to save it for later.
In appreciation of Roman architecture, we visit the Pont du Gard, an ancient Roman aqueduct bridge. It is nice to get out of the car and do a little walking. As weekends are extremely busy, the place is filled with international tourists. There are also lots of folks hanging out in cabanas by the water. With the sun blazing, the rocks are absorbing all the heat so it gets really hot in this region.
Our next stop to see Ardeche is something new for both my parents and I. At a scenic viewpoint, there is a goat greeting us outside our car. Yes, this is very random. We drive in closer to the Ardeche River to get a upfront view of the Pont d’Arc. It is an impressive natural arch right on the river. There are lots of swimmers and canoers and I can see why this is a popular camping spot.
In addition to the pretty villages in the south, the cities are also very interesting, so we spend a night in the city of Lyon. The old city is buzzing with nightlife as everyone is out having dinner and drinks. Eating in Lyon is always yummy as there is so much variety. We try pork knuckles and white-skinned Lyon sausages, which are all very tasty. To walk it off, we do a late-night stroll up to the Basilica of Notre-Dame de Fourviere for a complete view of the city.
In the morning, after making a stop at the bakery for chocolate croissants and coffee, the fun begins as we visit the various traboules. Back in the day, silk manufacturers and merchants would transport their products through these passageways so they can get from their house to the river faster while remaining sheltered. Traboules are one of the highlights of Lyon and it is well worth seeing as it unique to Lyon and a few other French cities.
My parents are very pleased with their trip to the south of France. Some of the things they pointed out, that I thought is worth mentioning, is how many of the places we went to see are free. In the US, we have to pay to see everything, including state parks. And even amidst a busy summer, many spots are not packed like it would be in the US. But they are most impressed with the landscapes and how they are so different from one place to the next. Then the dining experience is unforgettable each time. I think my parents like the south of France as much as I do.
Everything is going well in the south. As we make our way north, everything changes when we get to Paris. We will return to drama in our next post.
To be continued…