It is a place with beautiful beaches, natural arcs, and cliffs. Sunset looks great from here. When the tides are low you can cross the cliff (the one in below picture) through a cave and can explore the part of the cliff (L’Aiguille). And it is not a sand beach but filled with pebbles in order to save the cliffs from erosion.
It was once an artificial port and the place where Normandy landings on D-day took place during World war 2 (6th June 1944). Even now, one can find the remains of the harbor in the beach.
4. Mont Saint-Michel
It’s a rocky island few meters away from the land and easily accessible by the foot bridge. Low tide allowed us to explore around the island and enjoy the breathtaking sunset.
Calanques- those beautiful mountains, crystal clear sea, Cliffs to dive from, What else one will need to make the weekend exciting.
I recently visited Calanque d’En-Vau located near Cassis, in southern France located on the Mediterranean coast. It’s a port city which commands the view of an old chateau. We started our trek from cassis, in the beginning, it was very smooth, then was a descend into the Calanque de Port Pin. We stopped there for a while and moved on to the greater part of our journey. Then it became challenging and more exciting. In between, we stopped to rest, meanwhile had a great treat for our eyes. All we could see was the Calanques and sea. Then came a steep challenging descend into the Calanque d’En Vau.
We had a plan to swim, but we could hardly find people swimming! yes, it was very cold, the water temperature was around 15°C! Then with all the courage we swam and although initially it was bit cold later it was fine.
We took a different route back to Cassis although it was tough at some points, we made it soon. And here is the total activity of the day.
An easy way to reach cassis is by the local train- TER. It costs around 6-10 Euro from Marseille. There are also buses to nearby places from Marseille.
It’s a good idea to carry something to eat.
If you are planning for the two-day trek you can opt the youth hostel nearby as wild camping is prohibited. Visit the tourism office at Cassis for information.
Try to take a route by the side of Calanque d’en Vau to go back to Cassis. It’s a bit tough but worth it.
That was my second weekend in Lyon, I heard from my co-worker that there was a city of Roman history near Lyon(Thank you, Mathis). That was Vienne- a city of south-eastern France around 30km from Lyon, situated on Rhone river. It was a former Roman colony and once a center of textile industry.
I left early in the morning. It was 20 minutes by train from Lyon. Soon after I got down at Vienne I headed to the tourist office and got to know about the places to visit and also got a route map. The whole city can be covered by foot. Indeed, there is a specific heritage route with markings on the road which covers all the major places to visit.
1. Saint-André-le-Bas church
Following the heritage route, I first stopped by a medieval church of Vienne. It is a church built in the 9th century with very fine stone carvings and generally employed for exhibitions in recent days.
2. Saint-Maurice Cathedral
Next was a cathedral of Saint-Maurice built in the 13th century which is a combination of Roman and gothic styles. The interior of the cathedral is breathtaking.
Interiors of Cathedral
Interiors of Cathedral
3. Roman Temple
The Roman temple known as the Temple of Augustus and Livia was built in 1BC.
4. Museum and site of Saint-Romain-en-Gal Vienne
I then visited the Museum and historical site of Saint-Romain-en-gal situated on the bank of river Rhone. The museum depicts the history of ancient Vienne, economy, crafts, mosaics and daily life in the Roman house. The archeological site depicts the Gallo-Romain civilization.
5. Belvedere of Pipet and Théâtre Antique
This is the place one shouldn’t miss in Vienne. On climbing to the top of Mount Pipet where there are a chapel and statue of the Virgin mary and there’s a fantastic view of the city, Rhône Valley, and the Antique roman theater.
This Roman theater hosts the Vienne Jazz festival every year in the month of July.
Chapel and Statue of Mary
6. Museum of Fine Art and Archaeology
Museum of Fine Art and Archaeology contains collections of objects of Gallo-Roman, French pottery, and paintings dating from the 14th to the 20th centuries.
It costs around 5-10 Euro from Lyon to Vienne in the regional train (TER).
In Vienne, Follow the standard heritage route. Just follow logo incorporated on the road which covers all the heritage sites.
Buy a single ticket which covers all three museums. It’s economical.
Before I shifted to Lyon, I visited a friend in Grenoble – a city in southeastern France, around 100 km from Lyon. It is a beautiful city in the proximity of the Alps.
La bastille is a fortress in Chartreuse mountain range and overlooking the city, its one of the most visited places in Grenoble. We can reach Bastille either by cable car or by hiking. On reaching the top one can witness a breathtaking view of the Alps and the city.
It was a one day trip which later turned into an adventure to a city called Chauvigny which is towards the east of Poitiers at a distance of 30km from the city of Poitiers, France. It commands a view of Vienne river which is one of the important rivers in south-western France. I was accompanied by my friends – Jayanth, Mahantesh, Syed, Jogi, Lalithya, Mukta and Namratha.
It was a cool Saturday morning, all of us got ready with few snack in our bags. We reached Poitiers city and boarded a bus to Chauvigny. En route to chauvigny, it was a great treat to our eyes with the nature beauty all around. We got down on the main street of chauvigny. All were very hungry and started searching for restaurants.
It was difficult to search for a vegetarian food. Finally, we decided to eat pizza and fries. Later we visited the ancient castle known as ‘château baronnial’ of the 11th century which was 15 minutes walk from the city center. The roads were such that we were hiking.
We then proceeded to visit ‘La Collégiale Saint-Pierre’ church built in the 12th century which had a bell tower. Then we were walking around exploring the different buildings and old city streets which seemed to be a different experience.
La Collégiale Saint-Pierre Church
Then we rested for a while. We then returned to the city center and had a coffee, well, ya that was refreshing! Then was the time to leave the city. We went to the bus stop to check the bus timings. Surprise! For our bad luck, the last bus back home was already gone! As it was in the initial days in France we didn’t know much of French to ask someone for help for finding the alternatives. Then we went to a nearby shop to ask for an help, they suggested us to ask for a hitch hike. We wrote ‘POITIERS SVP’ on a paper. SVP being Sil Vous plait which is please in French.
In the hopes of getting a drop to the city, we were standing by the main road with the board. Minutes went, none of the cars stopped, maybe no one was heading towards our city or they didn’t have enough place for all of us. After almost an hour the same person who gave us the idea of Hitch-hiking came to us and looking at our situation he said he will drop us to a place where we can get a bus to our residence. He called up his friend for another car as we were 8 people. That moment, one of the happiest moment for us, being international students in France and the way he helped us, We can never forget him. His name was Mr.Bouddone. Here is a picture with him.
Finally, we reached our home after all the circus. It was a day to be remembered.