It seems there is a holiday each week during May in France. Last week, it was May Day and even public transportation was shut down. You really have to plan in advance cuz grocery stores and everything closes!
Yesterday we visited the beautiful town of Annecy. It was a busy day, walking more than 12 km (8 miles) around the town on a beautiful lake. Chris will write more on this later, with lots of photos.
Because a landslide blocked the entrance and track just outside Annecy, the final stretch required a change in Aix-les-Bain from the train to a 45 minute bus ride. So getting there and returning home took a bit longer than planned.
Our return to the Gare de la Part–Dieu in Lyon was a little late. It was almost 8:00 pm and we knew our little neighborhood boulangeries (bakeries) would be closed, so we stopped at Paul , a chain boulangerie, in the train station. It is a pretty good bakery and sandwich shop and was the last option on our way home. We purchased a baguette and were pleasantly surprised that they were fresh and still warm. Dinner was going to be simple – left over duck breast, cheeses, bread, olives and wine. After my second glass of wine, the day was done, but we needed to set the alarm for the next morning, no sleeping in.
Our plan for today was to go to the prefecture and start the process to renew our visa. After much searching online, it seemed that the visa renewals are done at 8:30 in the morning. We anticipate only getting the list of required documents and that it will take several trips to finish the process.
So we set the alarm, though we really wanted to sleep in. Up, ready, out to walk to the bus stop. It was a cool and quiet morning. Once we arrived at the bus and tram stop, the silence and lack of activity caught our attention. No one was waiting for any of the trams or buses. And all the rental bikes were sitting in their stalls, waiting to be rented. Hmmm, is this another one of their May holidays? Yes, it is WWII Victory Day, a national holiday and a rather important day in France, this year being the 7oth anniversary. Guess the prefecture (a government office) is closed!
Walking back toward the apartment, we decided this called for another cup of coffee and fresh croissant. It was a little out of our way to the bakery and we did not expect any to be open, but we really needed a treat. As we walked down our main street, we saw the produce lady setting up her shop, and the fromagerie lights were on, and Yes! the bakery was open. We bought our croissants, and of course another baguette. It might be another lazy dinner tonight!
We are now home and it’s a good day to do laundry – after the croissant and coffee. We need to do some food planning as our first visitors arrive on Monday and food options are limited. And since most shops are closed on Sunday, we have to make our purchases on Saturday. Such is life in France, it’s good to plan ahead but when you don’t, oh well, it will all work out!
Well I spoke too soon about having a quiet day. Chris just read that there are commemorations of the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II and the liberation of France. So when the laundry is done, we will head back out to observe this event. IF the rain holds off. [note: the rains did come so we didn’t make it]
Our days are interesting here, nothing ever goes exactly as planned but that is part of the adventure. So we are flexible and enjoy the surprises along the way.
*For a long time, we were thinking that this phrase, spoken at the end of many transactions in shops, etc, meant “good travels” – Was it that obvious that we were tourists? No, it is the French equivalent of “Have a nice day.” 8^)