7 day full immersion trip to my French home town
Sept 10-16, 2018 $2,895
(price does not include air)
Lyon & surrounding areas
Come with me to practice your French in this immersion experience, not only with me but with all my friends and family who will only speak to you in French. Why do I know so many French people in this area? Because that’s where I’m from! I LOVE IT, I KNOW IT INSIDE OUT and I want to share it all with you! I and my French helpers will be your guides & friends for 7 days in our beautiful Lyon and its incredible surrounding areas, too often missed by American travelers. Even though Lyon is the 2nd biggest city of France, it is not an obvious destination and I want to change this! Your trip will also include many of the charming surrounding areas: the Beaujolais wine region, the Roman Vienne, the world famous Côtes-Rôties, and the quaint Pilat. That’s where I grew up and where I just moved back to after spending 14 years living abroad!
Lyon is the Capital of Gastronomy, Lyon is the Birth Place of Cinema Lyon is the home of 2000 years of History Lyon is the european Silk Capital
DAY 1: Welcome to Lyon!
We’ll meet at the hotel, introduce ourselves, get situated, discover our lovely neighborhood filled with typical lyonnais shops, and off to dinner together!
(Day 1: dinner is included)
DAY 2: Vieux-Lyon
After le petit-déjeuner at the hotel, we’ll make our way to la Basilique Notre Dame de Fourvière, which happens to be on the top of a hill to give you a wonderful panorama and introduction of Lyon. To go up there we take the famous funiculaire built by the lyonnais in 1900! A French guide will share the rich history of Fourvière and the basilique and when we are done soaking up all the beauty, we shall have more! By making our way back down to the city walking through a charming and utterly romantic rose garden. And now it’s time for lunch and my favorite bouchon lyonnais in the Vieux Lyon!
Did you know that Renaissance French King François I brought the silk industry back from northern Italy to Lyon? Ever since Lyon has been a major city and commercial center for the production of luxury silk. Only a fascinating handful remain today so, after lunch, we will head to two of them. One traditional using 19th century machines for their everyday weaving and one modern and striking with shocking colors! It should now be late afternoon, your free time to explore the gorgeous boutiques and cafés of the Vieux Lyon or whatever else you feel like doing!
(Day 2: breakfast & lunch are included)
DAY 3: Green Lyon by boat, Shopping, and fine Art
Do you know that 2 rivers go through Lyon? Le Rhône & la Saône. And taking a quiet morning boat trip is one of the many magical ways to explore this gorgeous city! Imagine, you’re in the 2nd biggest city in France and after cruising along stunning 19th century buildings and medieval walls, you suddenly land in the middle of the most romantic little island where Lyon’s first monastery was built in the 5th century!
The boat will take us back near Bellecour, the biggest square in Europe and certainly a fine place to enjoy a chic lunch to give us strength to start some beautiful boutique exploration… yes! Shopping time!
After enjoying the beauty and elegance of the streets and the lovely boutiques, how about some more beauty? Let us head to the Fine Arts Museum of Lyon. The building itself, a former 17th century Benedictine convent, is stunning, let alone the huge & incredible collection inside!
(Day 3: breakfast and lunch are included)
DAY 4: Vienne, old Roman Capital
Vienne is a charming roman town where you will also discover medieval and Renaissance. It is where my mother lives and where I grew up as a teenager. After taking our breakfast at the hotel, we’ll head for the train station and get on a train to Vienne, which is about 25 mins away from Lyon. Then we’ll stop for morning coffee and pastries at a cute café situated on a wide leafy avenue.
And now that we are full of pain au chocolat, we can make our way, by crossing the river Rhône, to our guided tour of the nationally renowned gallo-roman museum. Our French guide will share with us all about the gallic and roman ancestry of Vienne and surroundings. It’s interactive, engaging, and you will even see some ruins showing you what the Roman settlement used to look like.
Depending on our mood, we can either dine in one of the many delicious little restaurants in Vienne or head back to Lyon by hoping on a train. Public transports are so easy in France!
(Day 4: breakfast, lunch, and cocktails are included)
DAY 5: Côtes Rôties & Pilat, wine & Farmhouse countryside
Today, we visit the Stéphane Ogier winery and not only did his wines received a 100/100 Robert Parker grade, but our guide will be my beloved childhood friend Julie Bott. Julie’s worked there for almost 7 years and she has a special experience waiting for us!
After such a great and happy start of the day (Julie did explain to us on our last trip that 10am is the ideal time for our palates to taste wine!) let’s hop back on our mini bus and head to le Pilat for some serious French countryside and cute little villages time.
My mother’s first name is fairly unusual : Marie-France. Believe it or not but her best friend’s also happens to be a Marie-France, and it’s always been a joke between them! Well, Marie-France the friend, is not only a fabulous cook in the traditional French cuisine fashion, but she is also a wonderful, kind, and bubbly hostess! With her husband Gilles , they share with su their home made wine and cocktails, followed by typical food from the Pilat all coming from local small businesses. This is the long relaxing French lunch everyone talks about. And after that, Marie-France, the friend again, and her crew, will take us on a lovely walk in the little village where she lives.
Marie-France & Gilles’ farmhouse is incredibly charming. When they bought it back in the 90’s I remember it being closer to a pile of ruins than a home. But the family rebuilt it entirely and they did it themselves! Now they’ve welcomed all sorts of animals including the gorgeous donkey who runs to you when you call his name Pépito.
(Day 5: breakfast & lunch included)
DAY 6: Beaujolais wine region
After taking our breakfast at the hotel, we will get on our private minibus (with chauffeur) destination Beaujolais! Magical landscapes from another time, whether you are a wine person or not, you will fall in love with it. Our class will happen on the minibus. We will visit the famous golden villages, stroll around, soak it all in, have lunch in a typical Beaujolais restaurant or picnic with local products in the vignes, depending on the weather.
After that we will visit the stunning mini Versailles: le Château de la Chaize with the whole dégustation fun and their amazing gardens à la française by Le Nôtre. Then back to Lyon.
(Day 6: breakfast and lunch included)
DAY 7: Lyon’s food & art markets
This has always been my favorite thing to do on a Sunday morning. First, le marché Saint Antoine, a gorgeous food and flowers market along the river Saône. It is so romantic and picturesque! And the “producteurs” will happily let you sample anything you want. Cheese, charcuterie, fruits, vegetables, preserves, honey, bread, cakes but also flowers and hand made soaps… everything including the warm cosy weekend ambiance is delightful. Second, we cross the river because on the other side of the Saône is…
… le Marché de la Création! Another market along the water yet completely different! This time you will encounter plenty of wonderful local artists and artisans. This is the perfect destination for our last day to buy meaningful and truly original made in France gifts fr your loved ones back homes. Paintings, sculptures, leather goods, jewelry, scarves, clothes, all sorts! And all unique and sustainable!
The end of the Marché de la Création takes us into the Vieux-Lyon. And since it is packed with delicious bouchons lyonnais, lunch there will be most welcome after a full morning of market exploration and excitement!
After a whole week of speaking French, I will officially graduate you with French Cinéma! So we will end these lovely 7 days with a ciné soirée followed by a discussion about the movie, to explore what we understood and did not understand, our favorite moment or character and why etc. By the way, it is completely normal not to understand everything when watching a foreign movie, it still happens to me in English, but the images and the context really help! You will find it’s a fabulous brain exercise.
(Day 7: breakfast & lunch are included)
Lyon is great for walking and it also has a fantastic public transport system making getting around town easy. About half of our trip will be in and around Lyon utilizing a combination of walking, public transport, and private minibus when we go out of Lyon.
We do love to walk so be ready for this! Walking is the finest way to soak in every spark of beauty of the French culture, ambiance, architecture. We don’t rush, we take the time to appreciate.
The other half of the trip we’ll be exploring the surrounding areas, home to the Beaujolais wine region, the Roman town Vienne where I was born and where my mother lives, the world-famous Côtes-Rôties, and the quaint Pilat regional park. For those activities, we’ll be traveling by private minibus with a professional chauffeur. Our small group holds 10 people maximum to keep things intimate, flexible, and connected. Yes, be prepared to make some new wonderful friends!
Lively, authentic, yet calm Lyon neighborhood, the hotel is situated 4 subway stops away from the downtown area to give you all the benefits of the city with the added peace and quiet.
Apart’hotel Lyon Lumière
81-85 Cours Albert Thomas
69 003 Lyon
Services: Free breakfast. Room service. Laundry Service. Concierge Multilingual staff. Internet Free (Wi-fi)