Europe 2015 Part 3 - France Road Trip
When Kyle and I found out we would be going to Europe to visit family we thought it would be the perfect opportunity to travel around France. With having Maverix with us we decided to rent a car and travel to the south of France and then pop back up to Paris for our flight home to Toronto. Heres how the trip went!
Our first day was quite a hike. We traveled from Izegem to Luxembourg which took about 3.5 hours. We then put Mav in the carrier and walked around. Unfortunately we didn't have a lot of time so we just took a nice walk in the park and then started on our way again. It was nice to get out of the car and stretch our legs.
Next stop was Strasbourg which was where Kyle was looking forward to the most. He really wanted to take some night pictures of Notre Dame and the water ways. We arrived just before night fall and went for a nice dinner before walking along the river and getting some nice photos.
It cooled down quite quickly that night so we went back to the hotel earlier then expected and got some shut eye. We stayed at the Hotel Regent Contades and it was beautiful! Up at 5am (not by choice, Mav thinks that's normal) we decided to get an early start. Check out this awesome time lapse the Hubbs got of the sunrise from our hotel room!
We headed out to the area of town called Petite France, had some breakfast and took some more photos. Then it was time to start the drive again. This time our destination was Chambery France with a stop in Berne Switzerland.
This day was mostly dedicated to driving. We wanted to get down to the coast as fast as possible so we could spend at least a full day down there. (This didn't end up happening - but that's a later story). We made a quick stop in Berne to get Mav out of his car seat and to explore another city. Berne wasn't as nice as I was expecting which as disappointing but we still explored and took advantage of being in a new city. We were in Switzerland and that was still unbelievable to us. The streets were lined with shops mostly dedicated to the arts. Lots of galleries, fabric stores and art supply stores.
After a few hours we were on the road again heading to Chembery. We ended up driving through the south end of Switzerland at night which was disappointing at the time because we couldn't see much of the mountains. (We made up for this the next day). We got to the hotel pretty late and just fell asleep instantly. The next morning we awoke to the divesting news about Paris. Kyle and I each had about 30 different texts or messages from people asking if we were okay and we had no idea why. We soon found out. It was crazy to think that only a week ago we walked the same streets that were attacked. Our hearts broke for the city of love. We were thankful that we were safe and had already gotten into France before they closed the borders but were unsure if we should finish our road trip or try to return to Belguim and stay with family until our flight the next week. After talking with our in laws we decided to continue on.
Our plan for this day was to drive through Italy to Monaco and spend the day in Monte Carlo. This was changed because the borders were closed. We still wanted to go to Monaco so we punched it into the gps and decided to take the long route around the mountains. This didn't work. After an hour of driving we realized the gps was still directing us to go to Italy. Unsure about the border situation and if we'd be able to leave Italy in the south we had no choice but to either turn back or drive through the mountains. We pulled out the map and chose a route through the French alps. The gps kept telling us to turn around because of access to certain roads but we decided not to listen to it. (We aren't crazy I promise). Turns out the roads were all open and we had the most amazing drive ever. The French alps are so unbelievable beautiful. We could not believe the beauty we were seeing. We had originally set out for a 4 hour drive turned to a 6 hour and ended up being a 9 hour. It was so worth it. Every time we started to get tired or didn't want to drive anymore we would turn a corner and the scenery would change so much and we would be in awe again. We ended up staying in Nice that day and didn't see Monte Carlo at all. That night we sat down and took a look at the rest of the road trip we had planned. The next day was again quite a bit of a hike to our destination so we decided to cancel our stop in Marseille and just make the trek straight to Lyon and actually get some sight seeing in.
We started our journey to Lyon bright and early the next day. We were excited to get to Lyon and go do some sight seeing. We got to the hotel and unpacked then drove closer to the city. When we started walking around we were disappointed because everything was closed but then we saw why. In the centre of town there was a memorial for those affected by the Paris attacks. It was heartbreaking yet inspiring to see so many people in the city gathered to remember those lost. We found this tiny street that had some stores opened and took some nice photos of the river then we opted to have a quite dinner at the hotel and get Maverix to bed early!
This was by far the day I was most excited for! I had research a bunch of chateau's that I wanted to go see when we were away. I had decided on seeing the Chateau de Chambord. It was so worth it! This Chateau was gorgeous, even Kyle liked it! We spent quite a while exploring and taking pictures and then headed to the tiny town where we were staying for the night. We stayed at the hotel L'Ecu de Bretagne in Beaugency. We literally walked around the town and it took us 30 minutes, and that was with a stop at the only store that was open. This town is tiny but super cute! it was nice to have a quite walk with Maverix and the hubs! The next day we woke up super early and headed back to Paris!
This day was bittersweet! I was super excited to be going back to Paris, even though there were attacks there a few days earlier. The love I have for this city is unreal! I would live there in a heartbeat - if I spoke French that is. I was sad though because it was our last day in Europe. The next day we would be leaving at 1 pm to head back to Canada. Kyle and I got a nice fancy hotel for the night and risked the rain to spend one last night admiring the City of Lights. Maverix even enjoyed himself!
This trip was definitely once in a life time! We will be back to Europe soon but it will never be the same. It was incredible to travel with our new son and to visit family. As heartbreaking as the attacks on Paris was it was amazing to see the love that the French have for their country. It is truly inspirational! Until next time... you will be missed!