Detours Worth Making: Yvoire and Pérouges

Yvoire, France

During my recent trip to France I actually arranged my accommodations and itinerary so that I could visit two new places: Yvoire and Pérouges. Both are classified as “Les Plus Beaux Villages de France”. Therefore, they are one of 155 villages that have received this special designation of being one of the “Most Beautiful Villages of France”.  In my research, many people commented about these places being “beautiful”, “charming” and “picturesque”. As I love to take photos and love medieval towns, I had to find a way to get there.

Fortunately,  as I was heading back to Lyon from my visit to the French Alps and Switzerland, the detours worked out fairly well.

Yvoire

Yvoire, France
Entrance to the medieval town of Yvoire.

Yvoire is located in the Haut-Savoie, just west of Evian-les-Bains  and on the southern shores of Lac Leman (Lake Geneva). Before I checked into my hotel in Evian-les-Bains, I went directly to Yvoire to as it isn’t too far away. This is a medieval village built in the 14th century and today the town still has a fortified centre and walls from the castle. The main attraction of this town are the flower decorations. As a result, they are everywhere and in the centre of town is the “Jardin des Cinq Sens”  (Garden of 5 Senses) which you can walk through to discover many plants with your 5 senses.

Castle in Yvoire, France
Castle in Yvoire, France

There is also a castle, however, it is privately owned and not open to the public. When you are there, visit the harbour and the many artisan shops. In addition, stop for lunch or dinner as there are lots of restaurants. It’s the perfect town for wandering.

Pérouges

Perouges, France
Medieval town of Perouges, France

Pérouges is located on a small hill about 40 kilometres north east of Lyon. While the town was only restored in 1911 its roots date back to the 1100s. Today the town has fewer than 100 inhabitants and is beautifully maintained with cobbled streets, a few artisan shops and restaurants.

Perouges, France
Selling Galette au sucre de Pérougiennes

Pérouges is not big but it can get crowded. When I visited there was a fair going on and a number of tour groups were going through so it was very crowded and consequently, it was difficult to get good pictures.  Seems like many visitors were buying the town’s famous galette created by Marie Louise Thibaut in 1912. It is called the “Galette au sucre de Pérougiennes” and is a sweet pastry with butter and sugar caramelized into it).  There is a large parking lot at the base of the town and the cost was just 2 € .

Pérouges would be a great half-day excursion from Lyon. I only spent about 2 hours here as it is a small town. Just be sure to wear proper shoes due to the steep hills and cobblestone streets.

Cité Medievale de Conflans In Albertville

Cite Medievale de Conflans

I made a mistake the first time I visited Albertville, France. Walked around the quaint town and saw the giant Tour de France t-shirt but discovered afterwards that I had missed one of the best parts of the area. Fortunately, I was going through the town on my way to Chamonix, so I made a stop and so glad I did. This is an experience I would have regretted missing: seeing the Cité Medievale de Conflans. Continue reading →

My Escape To Chalet Savoie Faire

Drive to Chalet Savoie Faire French countryside

Sometimes planning in advance pays off….really pays off where you have unbelievable accommodations. I really feel like I lucked out with a particular awesome stay in the French countryside during a recent trip to France and have to state for the record that I paid for my accommodation and was not asked to write a review.  I would return in a heartbeat because it  was so unique. The name? Chalet Savoie Faire. Continue reading →

A Tale Of Two Hikes In The French Alps: What You Need To Know

Hikes Hiking in the French Alps

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.

Thank you Charles Dickens for the quote. You must have hiked in the French Alps and experienced what I did.  There are two types of experiences when one hikes: one where you are cursing most of the way up or down, and the other where the trek is challenging but doable and you are able to take in all the gorgeous views. Both were encountered during recent hikes in the French Alps and I have some advice if you are thinking about hiking in the area. Continue reading →

Seeing The Tour de France

Tour de France

After all of the doping scandals in the past few years, I think the interest in the Tour de France, the annual bicycle race primarily held in France has waned. While there are still crowds cheering on the riders, especially when they have their final ride down the Champs Elysée in Paris, I have heard comments from locals that it just doesn’t mean a lot to them.

I thought I’d feel the same way until I was in France recently. When I realized I would actually be in the same area as the Tour, I started getting excited. I knew it would be a miracle to actually catch the riders zooming by but thought I would take a chance. I downloaded the map from the Le Tour website and upon my departure from Evian-les-Bains, made my way to the Auvergne-Rhone-Alps area. Continue reading →