As my wife and I were traveling back from Paris yesterday, while waiting for our connecting flight in Toronto, we spoke about how good it was to be back in Canada. For as much as I love to travel, I have always relished the feeling when my feet are planted back on Canadian soil. That being said, if there’s one place that could entice me to pack up and move, it would be France.
Two weeks ago after landing in Paris, even through the fog of jet lag, I knew instantly we were going to be in for a great trip. We spent about half of the trip in and around Paris based out of the 14th arrondissement where we had stayed back in 2009. The other half, we stayed in Lyon, a first for us. For the Paris part of the trip, we defiantly ignored the locations we visited on our first trip there – no Louvre, no Arc de Triomphe, and no Eiffel Tower except one distant view when we were exploring the Père Lachaise cemetery off in the distant 20th arrondissement. Instead, we lingered over drinks taking advantage of the spring warmth on outdoor patios, ate at cozy neighbourhood restaurants, and explored some quieter areas of the city.
Although we hit the must see sights of Lyon on our first visit to this beautiful city, we incorporated a lot of our Paris ethic over the time we were there. We spent a day touring Bourgogne, and some of the wines we picked up that day formed the backbone of picnics in the squares around the centre of Lyon. Maybe it was the spectacular weather while we were there, or perhaps it was that the city was starting to bloom and the perfume of flowering trees was intoxicating after a prairie winter, but for a busy city, it felt very peaceful.
As it was back in 2009, France was welcoming and we slipped into French lifestyle easily and without hesitation – slow morning coffees in a cafe, strolling through parks in the afternoon, opening a bottle of champagne to slide into evening, and dining on some of the finest French food or pulling together a picnic decidedly downmarket (except for the wine, we went all out for the wine… life’s too short not to drink good wine). Two weeks of French living. It was a great vacation.