Tuesday, December 30, 2014

L'indomptable et redoutable ville de Lyon

City Hall of Lyon

The third biggest French city was founded 2,000 years ago and was then called Lugdunum, also capital of the Gauls. With such a rich history, Lyon offers many attractions, has an extraordinary architecture and a vivid life all year-long. The cinema is quite important here with the Lumière brothers who pioneered cinema in the town at the end of the 19th century. The historic aspect of the city is big and if you are craving for historical sights, Lyon is a great choice! Time travel while visiting the Ancient Theatre of Fourvière, admire the exceptional Basilique Notre-Dame de Fourvière from the Cathedral Saint-Jean or walk up hill to the basilica to take a great panorama of the entire city. The City Hall of Lyon should not be blushing face to the City Hall of Paris. Both of them are stunning. And if the urban life is overwhelming, don’t worry, Lyon is also home of the largest urban park in France, the Parc de la Tête d’Or. Lyon has seriously everything to offer to all of us! One more reason maybe: Paul Bocuse is based there. Lyon has unique and delicious cuisine. Margaret, who lived in the city for a few months, especially loved quenelle, a type of dumpling with cream sauce. Forget Paris, Lyon is the place to be.

Lyon is a city full of surprises. Here's a list of interesting facts about the city:

-  Lyon is the birthplace of cinema.
-  Lyon is the silk capital of the world.
-  Lyon if the gastronomic capital of France.
-  Lyon was created 2,000 years ago.
-  Lyon is the second largest Renaissance city after Venise.
- Dubai planned on created an area called Lyon Dubai City where they would have reproduced some districts of Lyon.

View of Lyon from the Fourvière

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

We wish all of you a wonderful holiday season full of love, peace, family and friends. Our memories of the excellent past summer are fueling our eagerness to get ready for 2015. We'll be back on the island in early January to prepare for the best summer ever. We hope to see many of you in the new year and send our best wishes for whatever adventures you are planning for 2015 and beyond.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Des volcans et des pneus, découvrez Clermont-Ferrand!

Oh don’t go there, there’s absolutely nothing to see there! Well, more than once in my experience I realized that those common and supposedly boring places always had really cool sights and rich sites to offer. This is one of the reasons why you should not hesitate to visit Clermont-Ferrand and its surroundings if you like peaceful and tranquil hilly landscapes. Let’s be honest though, the Auvergne region, which Clermont-Ferrand is the capital, is mainly agricultural and there’s a lack of urban attractions beside the city itself. And this is precisely why visitors come all the way there. Michelin, one of the two largest tire manufacturers in the world is based in town and its museum will guide you through the interesting history of tires, roads and maps. The Basilique Notre-Dame-du-Port is gorgeous and definitely worth the trip! Have you heard about Vercingétorix? Every French kids know him. He united the Gauls and was eventually defeated by Julius Caesar in Alésia (North of Dijon). Eventually, plan a hike trip in the Parc des Volcans, in the heart of Auvergne, where several volcanoes have been asleep for more than 6,000 years! Through its valleys, on the high plateaux and ridges, alongside the rivers and lakes, in the forests and through the fields, the park provides all outdoor enthusiasts with some fantastic trips along the trails.

Volcanoes near Clermont-Ferrand

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Dijon, ses ducs et sa moutarde

Made from seeds of mustard plant, Dijon is a condiment that will brighten up the worst hot dog you could get at the corner of the street. The Dijon mustard that we find in any grocery store is a descendant from the original mustard that Jean Naigeon (from Dijon) created in the mid-19th century. Today, however, most of the Dijon mustards you will eat are produced all around the world, especially in Canada. Back to Dijon, the French city this time. There are numerous reasons why you should stop there! First of all, to try some mustards! Dijon is also located in Bourgogne (famous all over the planet for its vineyards!) and the region is known for its gastronomy. Eat some escargots, try the jambon persillé or the truffles. Eventually, you should admire the typical and old store Mulot & Petitjean where you can find a great selection of pains d’épice (spice bread). Take a photo with the White Bear sculpture in the pretty Jardins d’Arcy, and don’t forget to touch the owl on the Church of Notre-Dame of Dijon with your left hand while making a wish! The Palais des ducs de Bourgogne (which is now the City Hall and the Palais des Beaux-Arts) used to be the palace of the Dukes and Estates of Burgundy and is a heritage of the political life of Dijon and the region for almost a millennium! 

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Strasbourg, capitale européenne et de Noël

Winter is coming, Christmas is in three weeks, and everybody starts to rush to the stores to get presents. And Strasbourg, on the border with Germany, gets overly crowded at this time of the year! Not for the European Parliament and other international tours, but mostly for its famous Christmas market, one of the biggest in Europe, also called Christkindelsmärik in Alsatian. It was created in 1570 and more than 2 million visitors come every December in Strasbourg to find the perfect gift and enjoy this typical and tradiotional atmosphere. 
For more than 220 years, the cathedral of Strasbourg was the tallest building in the world! It is now the 6th tallest church around the world and the view from the top remains memorable! If you succeed not spending the entire day at the Christmas market, you have to visit the Grand île (historic district classified UNESCO World Heritage Site) and wander in Petite France, probably one of the most charming urban areas in the country. 
Between the bretzel, the choucroute, the flammekueche, the fleischschneke, the männele, the Munster cheese and the Alsatian white wine, you should not be too hungry during your trip!
View from the Petite France and its typical timbering houses, Strasbourg