| Part 6: Atlantic coast, Lyon
Bretignolles-sur-Mer -> Lyon
Etap Hotel, Lyon. 40 Euro for a
standard Etap room (promotional Internet rate). This time we do not get
a larger room, only a small standard one. The room seems even smaller
than the one in Paris. No A/C at all, despite the information in the
brochure. The room is quite hot or feels quite hot in the evening.
Weather: blue sky and 18°C in the
morning in Bretignolles. As we drive across France the weather varies
between sunny and overcast, with occasional rain and temperatures
ranging between 18°C and 24°C. Overcast and 14°C in the
evening in Lyon (it even rains briefly at 9:30pm).
Day spent driving from Bretignolles to Lyon. We cover the 800 km in a
bit over nine hours including stops. The total time for breaks is over
hours which leaves less than seven hours for the driving, so we must
have proceeded quite speedily. No traffic jams on
the motorway, in fact the (toll) motorways are mostly empty. No wonder
considering that they cost around 10 Euro per 100 km. The final 100km
trip are quite bad: narrow motorway full of curves, climbing up and
down the hills, lots of traffic.
We manage to leave the hotel around 10:15am, then make stops at
arrive in the
hotel smoothly at 7:18pm. In
the evening we have a dinner around
8:30-9:30pm in the Courtepaille grill restaurant next to the Etap
hotel. The bill for the three of us is just 21 Euro after the 15% Etap
a short one,
lunch break; we stop at a motorway station
with a cafeteria, whose restaurant has just closed at 2:30pm: why does
a motorway restaurant in France close at 2:30pm?
at a motorway station with a view of the Puy de Dome.
We sleep at 11:30pm, too late as usual for Alissia. In Munich she would
sleep every day at 8pm, but while travelling we can't keep such a
regular schedule, and in fact Alissia sleeps when she gets an
opportunity to. Today for instance Alissia slept in the car (while I
was driving) between 12:30pm and 2:30pm.
The baby gets more sleep, as
it usually is always lying on something and can in theory sleep at any
time. In reality also the baby gets less sleep than usual, because of
the constantly changing environment (on average every 3-4 days we
change the location) and because the baby is frequently in noisy and
bright enviroments (for instance outdoors during the day).
In fact such
a trip is a bit rough for small children, but the only alternative
would be to book a hotel for three weeks in only one place and not
Etap Hotel, Lyon.
Weather: overcast the whole day, only
in the late evening after the sunset the sky opens up. After 12pm it
starts raining the whole afternoon, with few stops. Temperatures around
21-23°C, in the evening 19°C. I
had hoped that the weather forecast would be wrong, but no, it was dead
right. At least along the coast the clouds come and go, but here in
Lyon the clouds stay over the city the whole day. What a shitty weather.
We get up around 9am, but since the weather is bad outside we stay in
the hotel until 11:30am. Then we drive to the Carrefour shopping
complex in Venissieux (it's the closest to the hotel, we obtained the
address in the hotel reception). We actually get lost a bit initially
and only find the way with some effort (you have to drive on the
motorway to Grenoble and then take the first exit).
Carrefour store with some other shops and there is an Flunch
restaurant. We have lunch in the Flunch restaurant
shortly before 12pm, then do some shopping in the Carrefour store.
There is an interesting choice
of local food products: mountain breads, mountain cheeses and other
local cheeses, ham and other pork products, lots of excellent cakes
etc. A pity these products are not on sale in Munich.
It must be around 2pm when we leave the Carrefour shopping complex.
Just to get an idea of Lyon we drive into Lyon down town, to the
square. Lyon may be the second city in France in terms of importance,
but it is not too impressive, at least not if compared to Paris. Or
perhaps we haven't seen yet the more interesting part of Lyon.
After a brief stop in Bellecour square, we drive back to the hotel. Now
the navigation system is giving us the wrong directions, telling for
ínstance to turn left when there is no street to the left. The
internal maps must not be up to date. We only manage to
reach the hotel after 3pm, after a big detour. The baby behind is
hungry and has been crying and shouting for food for the past 15
Back in the hotel I check my emails. After 4pm I go with Alissia to the
nearby McDonalds restaurant. There Alissia plays in the children
corner, while I surf a bit the web using the hotspot of the McDonalds
It's 6pm when we are back in the hotel. Some discussion about the
dinner. I suggest to go into town and look for a restaurant there
(would be an opportunity to learn more about Lyon), while Shirley is
not that crazy about exploring Lyon since it is raining outside and
suggests to go to the Flunch restaurant again.
So we drive to the Flunch restaurant and have dinner there. At 8:40pm
we drive into town, to the Basilica of Notre Dame de Fourviere. Before
getting there we stop at the Bellecour square at 9:10pm. Very nice
lights right now - deep blue sky, street and building illuminations.
The giant panoramic wheel is also illuminated.
At 9:35pm we drive to the Basilica of Notre Dame de Fourviere, arriving
there at 9:50pm. Very nice church on a hill overlooking Lyon. Very
scenic setting. Impressive
views of Lyon from the hill. We
spend almost half an hour there, then drive back to
13.8: Lyon ->
Etap Hotel, Geneva. 99 CHF for a
standard Etap hotel room. This is bigger than the one in Lyon, meaning
that there is now enough space for the luggage. The A/C this time works
and is actually a bit too strong, i.e. the room is quite cold.
Weather: sunny, blue sky with some
clouds in the morning. From 1pm onwards a mix of overcast and sunny
blue sky. Temperatures around 24-25°C in Lyon. In Geneva it is
significantly more fresh in the evening and it is overcast.
We check out at 11 something am, then drive to down town Lyon
square). There we park in the Bellecour parking (65 cents for every 20
minutes) and we explore a bit the area. We make a round on the giant
panoramic wheel (5 Euro/adult, 3 Euro/child). Nice view of
After that we have a brief lunch in the McDonalds restaurant on
Bellecour square (and I check my emails while there). Then and until
3pm we explore the area between Bellecour and Verreux square. These two
squares are connected by a pedestrian area full of shops and department
stores. Beautiful 19th century architecture and palaces in between.
This is the nicest and most elegant area of Lyon. Very clean and
At 3pm we get back to the parking and drive to the Basilica of Notre
Dame de Fourviere. This time we visit the interior. Beatiful and very
impressive decorations and wall mosaics. The basilica was built in the
19th century (completed in 1890). The basilica and the area around are
full of tourists.
It's almost 5pm when we leave the basilica and start driving towards
Geneva. On the way, while still in Lyon, we stop at a bakery and buy
some cakes. The drive to Geneva proceeds smoothly. The motorway on the
French side is mostly a toll motorway (around 10 cents/km). Minimal
border controls at the French-Swiss border (they wave us through
without checking anything, even if Shirley clearly does not look