I am attending a blog trip to the lovely Rhône-Alpes region of France over the period Thursday 6th – Monday 10th December 2012. Highlights will include the Lyon and Grenoble, plus the Festival of Lights. I will be meeting up with a lovely bunch of ladies, some that I have travelled with before and some new travel friends.
The itinerary looks really exciting and the trip will be worth following, even if it’s just to see how I cope with this bevvy of beauties! You can follow on Twitter using the trip hashtag : #InRhoneAlpes
The other members of the Festival of Lights blogging team will be:
Thursday 6th December
Arrival in Lyon
Located in the natural plain of the Rhône Valley, half way between the sea and the mountains, Lyon lies in the second largest metropolitan area in France. The thriving city is characterised by two very different rivers running through it – the Rhône and the Saône and two hills overlooking the metropolis. Over 2000 years of history can be discovered in the different neighbourhoods, with UNESCO sites, Roman and modern day architecture and everything in between. Considered the capital of French gastronomy, all types of cuisine are available, from the traditional Lyon ‘bouchons’ to original ‘brasseries’ or fine dining. Culture and celebration is at the heart of city life, with fascinating museums such as the Silk Museum or that of the French Resistance and of course, the Festival of Light, Lyon’s biggest and most popular celebration.
Check-in at Grand Hotel des Terreaux 4****
PM – Welcome by Isabelle from Rhône-Alpes Tourisme and lunch at Les Terrasses de St Pierre in the Fine Arts Museum to explain the itinerary.
Evening – Cocktail/aperitif to explain the Festival of Lights at the Baragones in Old Lyon to explain the Light Festival.
Dating back to 1852, the Festival of Lights is an ancient traditional tribute to the Virgin Mary, part of a long-term promise when an outbreak of plague in the city ended in 1643. Municipal councillors promised to pay tribute to Mary if the town was spared and ever since, this religious purpose remains today. In 1852, a statue of the Virgin Mary was erected next to the Basilica to honour this tradition; the official inauguration of the statue took place on 8th December. On this date, residents of Lyon commemorate the occasion with candles on their windowsills, along with other celebrations. Over the years this celebration has blossomed into a huge event featuring the very best in lighting technology – over 80 cutting edge lighting installations are scattered around the city, bringing the buildings and the city to life, attracting around over four million visitors every year!
Friday 7th December
AM – Visit the city on a Cyclopolitain tour, which will wind through the city centre and end in the new district at the confluence of the two rivers, where new design and architecture is featured.
Lunch at Le Domo restaurant with a local blogger.
Back to hotel and/or free time until to explore Lyon until late afternoon. Suggested attractions:
· The Rhône river banks
· Christmas Market
Transfer to Grenoble
In the heart of the Alps and at the foot of three famous mountain chains, the Vercors, the Chartreuse and the Belledonne, Grenoble is steeped in over 2,000 years of history. Once hometown of famous author Stendhal, the city holds true to what he said, ‘there is a mountain at the end of every street’. Hosts to the 1968 Winter Olympics, the city has an unmistakable buzz; highlights include the Bastille Cable Car one of the first urban cable cars in the world and the Art Museum, founded in 1796. A vibrant university town, the city has a wealth of local gastronomic delights, enjoyed by its 157,000 inhabitants. Considering its proximity to the Alps, it is in fact the flattest city in France, making it an ideal walking and cycling destination.
Check in at Splendid Hotel Grenoble 3***
Dinner and night in Grenoble
Saturday 8th December
AM – Departure from the hotel for a day in Grenoble, to explore the DeBonne Eco District, followed by a visit to the Stendhal Museum. Born in Grenoble in 1783, Henri Beyle, known as Stendhal, is one of the most famous romantic French writers of the 19th century.
Then a ride on the Bastille Cable Car and visit the Bastille.
The Bastille fort was originally built in 1591, but reconstructed from 1823-1848 to protect the city from attacks by the neighbouring Savoy Dukedom. A tourist cable car was erected on the slopes of the Bastille, one of the first urban cable cars in the world. In 2011, this historical cable car carried more than 300,000 people!
Lunch in the Grenoble Museum’s restaurant ‘le 5’
PM – Enjoy the Grenoble Museum – one of the most prestigious museums in France, with art collections from the Middle-Ages to the present day
Visit Le Magasin and see the contemporary art exhibition ‘This day at ten’ by Akram Zaatari
Dinner at the Grenoble Christmas Market with live music.
Sunday 9th December
Brunch in ‘Le Diferent’, an artistic bar and restaurant opposite Grenoble’s covered market.
PM – Transfer back to Lyon
Check-in at Grand Hotel des Terreaux 4****
Evening – Free time – you may want to return to the Festival of Lights followed by freetime in Lyon.
Monday 10th December
Morning free time before meeting at the hotel for lunch in the new restaurant Mon Histoire des Assiette.
Time to go home – Au Revoir Rhône-Alpes!