After a very pleasant breakfast this morning at our accommodation Les Cordeliers in Sarlat, I took my unlocked mobile phone to Orange, a major carrier in France. For $39 they set my phone up with 10 GB of data and I can use the phone in Italy too. No one spoke English there so the salesman set up a conversation for us on Google translate. The funny part is the keyboard is not QWERTY so finding the keys was a challenge. I remember this from my days here about 10 years ago when internet cafes were everywhere and were the only way to get online.
The roadside stops on the motorways in France are really nice and in my opinion way better than what we have in Massachusetts. They have grocery stores selling salads and sandwiches, a take out with baguette sandwiches, and even a place with a little buffet featuring hot meals and chocolate mousse. The coffee vending machines grind the coffee so that each cup is freshly brewed. Outside are picnic areas and well maintained playgrounds for kids.
The drive to Lyon was about four hours. As we approached the city the road began to rise in elevation. These are the foothills of the Alps.
The roads are in excellent condition, but the tolls cost us $34. Our hotel, Hotel Des Celestines is right in the city center.
We used Google maps on the phone to guide us to the bistro where we had dinner. There are two major rivers in Lyon and we crossed over a pedestrian bridge to get to the old historic town. As we crossed the bridge, a sightseeing boat sailed by and we could see people dining inside.
It is so pleasant to sit outside at a cafe on a warm summer’s evening and just people watch. One woman walked by pushing a small stroller but instead of a baby inside, it was a small white dog. Everyone smiled at the sight. Other people walked by window shopping and we noticed some really pretty things for sale. In one window was a display of beautiful leather loafer style shoes all in beautiful colors. Another display had music boxes with retro designs. The city is known for marionettes and we saw them for sale in several shops.
Lyon is beautifully illuminated in the evening, At the top of the hill overlooking the city, the Norte Dame Basilica was one of the most beautiful buildings I have ever seen at night. We sat on some steps with other tourists to just admire it.
Back at the plaza across from our hotel, the fountain was all lit up even though it was close to midnight. We are anxious to explore the city and learn more about this amazing place tomorrow.