The moment Madison got a text from his Euro cell carrier, Orange, to say we had crossed the border into France there was a very big smile on my face. I have been waiting this whole trip to make it to France! We had lunch in Chambéry at a crêperie just over the mountains on the Italian – French border. It was great whipping out my French, I am happy to report I remember how to order food, the most important thing to know when visiting! The train from Milan to Lyon did not disappoint, the mountains were snow-capped and the colors were great. I tried napping as we woke up at 5:30 am, but it was too hard to look away from the scenery.
I visited Lyon with the traveling grandparents for two days when I was studying abroad in Paris back in 2009, and we loved it. Lyon is the gastronomy capital of France, with excellent onion soup and desserts. I had to come back! While showing Madison around, we stopped in a patisserie and after several minutes of intense deliberation, settled on a praline tart (right now my mouth is watering just thinking about it). Amazing. As we walked around some more, licking caramel off our fingers, we realized pralines are a specialty of the region, and also that they are all colored (including the tart we ate) pink. I asked a patisserie owner why this is and he had no idea, just offering a shrug and the typical French exhalation to convey bewilderment. If anyone knows why Lyon pastries are pink, please let me know as I am very curious!
Another reason why I was excited to return to Lyon is to see the Basilica of Notre-Dame de Fourvière, my favorite church I have ever toured in Europe and the United States. It is set up on a hill with a great view of Lyon and the two rivers, Rhône and Saône, running through it. Inside the church, you will find beautiful pastel mosaics, and today when walking around inside the sun was shining through the stained glass windows, illuminating the gold colors in the mosaics. If you are ever in Lyon, make sure you take the trip up the funicular to see the basilica! The photo of the day is of the basilica, but please note that photos were not allowed and since I took this rather quickly, I am sharing it not for its photo excellence, but because I wanted to share the colors with you all!
Tomorrow morning I will most certainly be enjoying a pain au raisin and latte for breakfast before indulging in a little shopping. After that… Paris!!