We started out our trip in Reims, one of the most important cities in France. The bishops in Reims were highly regarded because they converted a lot of Franks. They got the privilege to crown the new kings of France. It was here that Joan of Arc stood next to Charles VII when he was crowned in the cathedral on the 17th of July in 1429. It’s a charming and very interesting city.
Near Reims you can find a lot of places where you can taste and buy champagne. You can also drive around the neighborhood and drive around the wineries. Not far from the city there’s an extraordinary forest, the Faux de Verzy. It’s a conserved forest where you can find dward oak trees or dwarf chestnut trees.
We ended the first day up in Verdun. Near Verdun you can find graveyards off the victims of World War I. You can also find the Fort de Vaux or the Ossuaire de Douaumont. We didn’t had time to visit those two; but it’s still on my list as it’s said to be really worth the visit.
On the second day we left Verdun to go to Metz. It was raining the whole time we walk around, so we didn’t saw a lot in the city, as we were busy keeping ourselves dry. There are a lot of German and Prusian influences in the buildings of the city. A major symbol of the city is the Cathedral of St. Etienne. The Porte des Allemands, an old part of the city wall, remembers of the German Order that once was present here. De Centre Pompidou stands out as well, as it’s the most modern building in the city.
After rainy Metz, we drove further towards Nancy. The rain stopped by that time, so we had some more time to walk around ;-). In Nancy you have the wonderful Place Stanislas. You also have the monastery, de Porte de la Craffe and the huge cathedral. We also stopped by the Parc de la Pépinière.
Our final stop of the day was Strasbourg, the head of the European Court of de Human Rights. Together with Brussels it’s also part of the European Parliament. The historical part of the city is what the city is known best for. The centerpiece of it all is the cathedral.
Another rainy day in France. We got a tip from somebody that Riquewihr was a beautiful city to visit. That was the only reason we decided to stop there and walk around in the rain :-). And it was a very charming city, but mainly focused on tourism as well. The city is known as the ‘pearl of the vineyards in the Elzas’.
After that we went to the Vosges and drove the Col de la Schlucht and the Route des Crêtes where you could find the Ballon d’Alsace. Because of the ongoing rainfall there was a lot of fog, so instead of some beautiful viewpoints, we only got to see a lot of white clouds :-).
At the end of the tour in the Vosges we ended up in Belfort. We weren’t planning on stopping there, but the old town – inside the fort – looked so beautiful that we couldn’t do anything else than stop :-). In Belfort there’s a huge monument of a Lion on the Fort de Roppe.
Our final stop of the day was Besançon but here we mainly drove through, because we were already driving a long time and the city didn’t look as charming as Belfort, so we diced to only stop and visit the citadel.
Just before we reached the Alpes we decided to go and visit Dijon to get us some mustard. To be fair: that’s actually the only thing that’s worth the stop. After picking up our mustard we bought ourselves a picknick and ate it up in the Parc de la Bouzaize in Beaune.
After relaxing for a little bit we decided to drive along the Beaujolais, yes, famous for its wines, to Lyon. We didn’t expect much of Lyon, but it really was a charming and fun city to hang around. It’s very much alive and there’s plenty to be done there. We visited the Notre-Dame de Fourvère, on top of the hill and the cathedral of Saint-Jean. The old part of the city is really nice to walk around as well. In the evening you can find a lot of place to have diner or to go out.