After a few days in London our next stop was France. To my dismay, we arrived in a wet and cold Paris. The next morning we woke to torrential rain and wondered whether to cancel our pre-booked bike tour. But as luck would have it, the rain stopped and we met our tour guide at the Notre Dame. The tour was run by Bike About Tours and our tour guide was awesome. We rode around the Seine, visited the Jewish quarter and stopped at the Place des Vosges to admire all the fancy apartments lining the square. Our second day was spent at the Louvre and the day after we took a train ride to magnificent Versailles. Rain followed us again but it made the grounds of the Palace magical. The rest of our time in Paris was spent visiting the Tuileries and Luxembourg Gardens, walking the streets of Saint Germain, trying to find a good coffee, and feeling like locals wandering the 16th arrondisement in search of Monet’s water lilies.
After a week in Paris we made it to Lyon. The city streets were quiet, the sun was out. We rode bikes, had an awesome dinner at Lyon’s foodie street, Rue des Marronniers, and the next day joined the locals around the Saone river to watch the Bastille Day fireworks over Fourvière Hill. I didn’t have many expectations about Lyon, it was a little stop over on the way to Nice, but I was pleasantly surprised by the town and its pretty streets and old buildings.
After our short stay in Lyon we flew to Nice. It was hot and humid when we arrived and so so busy, all of France was on summer holidays in Nice it seemed. Nice is a pretty city, with its old town quarter, the Cours Saleya markets, and the azure waters of the Mediterranean lining the Promenade des Anglais. The best views of Nice are from the top of Castle Hill, where you can see the Promenade stretch out alongside the orange roofs of the old town.
I’ve never been drawn to France but to my surprise I really enjoyed the places we visited. And while we didn’t venture off the tourist trail, I would love to go back one day, to spend more time in Paris, visit Versailles again, and make some time to see beautiful Provence.