I have not posted prior to this about our 2017 spring vacation because, as mentioned before, my blog had been out of commission for a long time.
It was an amazing holiday. We flew from Canada to Lyon and spent a couple of days at the Hotel Vaubecour in the 2nd district of Vieux Lyon.
The hotel is run by a friendly, bilingual, very capable couple, who live on site. The second floor entrance is accessed via a very small, very old elevator – quirky by North American standards but it did the job nonetheless! The owners told us that the hotel, with its lovely architecture, was at one time a high class bordello! It was pleasant, comfortable, and the service could not have been better.
The uphill walk to this church was a good cardiac workout, to say the least. The way back down was easier as we followed winding woodland paths in a park area that led us to the the river front again.
When it was time to leave Lyon, we took a taxi to the train station to continue on to Valence to meet up with the French branch of the family. When we arrived at the station, we found the section where we were to access our platform cordoned off and guarded by many armed soldiers, as there had been a security threat. Everyone seemed to be taking the situation in stride, however, more concerned with the train arrival and departure times than the security presence. Before long, the crisis was over, the path cleared, and we were on our way.
Le Domaine de Vincenti
After arriving at the Valence train station, we all drove on to Crest to stay at the most amazing holiday rental, Domaine de Vincenti. The grounds, with a couple of swimming pools, large treehouse, sandy play area, chapel, and tennis courts were lovely. Our villa was large, bright, and airy with all the comforts of home. The outdoor terrace was stocked with a barbecue, eating area, and lounge chairs. A family could easily stay on the estate, relax, walk, swim, play tennis, visit the donkeys, and only leave the grounds to stock up on more food!
I should point out here that nobody, but nobody, can plan a holiday as well as our Isabelle. She planned every day and every detail of this adventure and we had an amazing time.
We explored the Rhone Valley:
We walked an Aromatic Garden, had a tour of a lavender factory, a factory that produced French olive oil, and one that manufactured nougat candy, along with marshmallows and other treats. We were able to watch all the steps in that process via large windowed areas and, of course, stocked up in the factory shop before leaving.
We ate lunch al fresco at a cafe owned and operated by a British lady, who has been living in France for many years. This was a real treat for us as, being April, we would not be eating outdoors at home in Canada!
We toured the area, visiting Mirbel-et-Blacons, Montclar, Gigors-et-Lozeron, etc. – climbed steep cobblestoned village streets, and viewed the Valley landscapes from the hilltops.
Knights Hospitaller at Le Poët-Laval
April is an event packed month in our family. We celebrated Lucy’s birthday, as well as Alec’s, mine, (Sophie’s from a distance), and Easter!
My birthday surprise was a wine tasting session at the gîte! They arranged to have a gentleman arrive with multiple cartons packed with bottles of wine, pates, bread, and cheese, all made locally in the Rhone Valley. He was actually another expat Brit, who has made his home permanently in this region of France.
It was a great afternoon. He showed us on a map where each chateau winery was situated, described the geography, the soil, the climate, the grapes, and the characteristics of each individual wine. He could even provide, on his iPad, photos of the chateau owners! I think we learned a great deal about the nature of the local wines from our session with him and we got to enjoy the remainder of the wines and eats during the rest of our time in Crest!