Travel

French Fries, French Bread and France

About the Photo Above: Mona Lisa in the Louvre
Surprised? The Mona Lisa painting is really small, not much larger than an old vinyl album cover and its covered by glass and has a 10 foot parameter around it (along with a crowd of people).

Lyon versus Paris
I visited two cities in France, spending three nights in Lyon and four in Paris. Over time I believe I’m gravitating toward smaller, less popular cities where I seem to have a better cultural experience. Large, mega-popular tourist cities like Paris (or Rome) tend to be overwhelmed by tourists and, for whatever reason, seem more artificial in a way I can’t quite put a finger on. Anyway, I ended up adoring and loving Lyon, but felt Paris was just blah… just “ok.”

Lyon, France
I’m running out of superlatives like amazing, wonderful, delightful, spectacular and incredible while wandering around Europe. There are many, many cities that I find interesting and enjoyable to visit. Lyon (pronounced Lee-own), is just one of these cities which I could easily enjoy for weeks or months. I think I enjoyed the smaller size, beautiful winding river, churches on the hillside and cute cafes and restaurants in the old city area. My limited time there was not enough and I hope to eventually return for a longer stay.

Paris, France
This city is super famous and I’m guessing everyone knows at least a few things about it: the Eiffel Tower, Mona Lisa, Louvre Museum, fashion and romance. It is among the top five tourist destinations word-wide and as such tends to be rather expensive to visit. To me fighting crowds and paying high prices reduce the quality of the experience of seeing a city or place and I tend to gravitate toward secondary tourist destinations. I will say that I was really lucky to hit the Louvre museum on a slow day and managed to see everything with only small crowds of people around. As I left the museum around 1pm, I saw long lines forming for tickets and felt I made the right decision to visit the museum just as it opened.

The Louvre Museum
Typically I have very little interest in museums and find them rather boring. I prefer wandering around cities and gawking at architecture. A museum has to be really spectacular to catch my interest or draw me in. Well, the Louvre just happens to be one of the places that I loved and thoroughly enjoyed.

French Fries and French Bread
To be honest, fries in France are not that great. They are virtually identical to any other country I’ve been to and nothing special (they are actually called ‘frites’ which is just means ‘fries’). However, bread in France is indeed something special… the bread is spectacular and to-die-for (I’m not a fan of cheese, which is another thing France is known for). Every day I would go to a local bakery and buy a french baguette. Never, ever in my life have I had bread so flakey and delicious. Wow!

See Where I’ve Been
I spent about a week in France visiting Lyon and Paris. Want to see where I’ve been in Europe and where I am now? Check out my map of European travels).

Costs in France

  • Hostels: $20-40/night. I managed to find a hostel in Lyon for $20/night. However, in Paris I couldn’t find hostels for less than $30/night, but did find the cheapest AirBnB dorm for $16/night one hour from the city center by metro.
  • Food: typically $10-15 meal for lunch or dinner (I was forced to cook in my hostel for all meals)
  • Transportation: about $1.80 per ride

Cute Restaurants

The old city in Lyon is filled with cozy cafes and restaurants serving amazing French food. They were beyond my budget (dinners were $18-20), but when I return with a bit more money I hope to dine daily here.

River Sunset

Photos don’t do this scene justice; the sunset on the water in Lyon is a stunning visual scene with lights reflecting on the water. I took this photo about 15 minutes before a small rain shower hit the area.

Regal Architecture

The Altare della Patria, also known as the Monumento Nazionale a Vittorio Emanuele II or Il Vittoriano, is a monument built in honor of Victor Emmanuel, the first king of a unified Italy, located in Rome, Italy.

Princess Diana Shrine

I had forgotten that Princes Diana died in the car wreck in a tunnel of Paris and I literally was just wandering near the Eiffel tower when I walked past this big gold torch monument where Princes Diana died.

Glass Pyramid

The main entrance to the Louvre museum is through a big glass pyramid which hovers above the ticket booths one level below. It is an interesting architectural feature with ancient symbolism as described in the movie The DaVinci Code.

Notre Dame Cathedral

I believe this is the most gothic cathedral I’ve seen in Europe. There are dozens and dozens of statues on every wall and surface along with gargoyles and serpents guarding the roof line.

2 comments

  1. Glad you liked my country, especially Lyon – I love that place too!
    Next time let’s go trekking in the Alps 😉

    Reply
    • the area just by the boarder between Italy and France was absolutely amazing! I hope to go back there and explore that area more. Can you recommend any cities in that area to visit?

      Reply

Have your say