According to the original plan we chalked out before leaving Paris, a brief visit to Lyon was on the cards. But after our delightful stay in Dijon, we realised we badly needed a change of scene and decided to skip Lyon, head for Annecy instead to do something totally different! Because, in all honesty, after a while every chateau begins to look alike, the churches/cathedrals cease to be unique and the history of each building starts blending with one another…
So to avoid what I call ‘tourism fatigue’ we decide to make a change in the way we have been approaching things. Firstly, we ditch the train and rent a car instead. See, in a matter of minutes, we’ve already become more adventurous!
I drive while Linda navigates. It’s a beautiful day and we both take to the music on the radio.
While rummaging through her notes Linda has second thoughts. She realises there was something she really wanted to do: stay at Chateau de Bagnols (near Lyon. It’s pretty expensive but we resolve to spend at least 4 hours doing some sports arbitrage trading whilst there to cover the expenses.
The brochure will say, “Chateau de Bagnols is the finest five-star chateau hotel in France and is regarded by many as the finest vineyard chateau hotel in the world”. And as we approach the dramatic entrance, we completely agree…
The chateau is set among vineyards, forests and green hills. So you can imagine the spectacular views it offers! Meanwhile we thought we had chateau fatigue! Not after entering this one!
Our room is simply amazing! Breath taking! Magnificent! I don’t have the language skills to describe the combination of beauty and comfort. I propose a quiet romantic evening – sipping wine in the lavender bubble bath, but for a change Linda (the romantic one) bursts my bubble (pun unintended!) She tempts me with an offer I can’t turn down. No, not a lap-dance, guys! But dinner at Lyon’s famous Brasserie Georges!
Brasserie Georges is amongst Europe’s oldest and finest brasseries, I’m told. “How can we miss out on something like this?” says a half-guilty Linda. I assure her we have made the right choice, for we can always go back and soak into the lavender bath and blow bubbles! She punches my arm as we are led inside by traditionally clad, friendly staff.
The seafood spread is amazing. And the traditional Lyonnaise selection just reinforces one’s gluttony! All in all, a great dining experience. If you happen to visit Lyon, you’ve just got to dine at Georges!
[O’Brasil was another eatery on Linda’s list – we couldn’t sample their Brazilian food but we are told it is a great place for people with large appetites for they serve ‘churascaria’- 11 meats cooked on a skewer! They have after-dinner traditional dance entertainment where dinners can participate too!]
Back at the Chateau, we slept like babies in the most comfortable bed ever!
The next day morning we did some trading. Well, I did. Linda wanted to go out and play, promising she’d do a shift later in the afternoon. She missed out, as there was some exceptional low-hanging fruit offered in the Indian Masters golf, together with the bonus-trading I latched onto.
Anyway, this leg of the trip’s all paid for now and I still can’t stop admiring our hotel. Hotel actually seems too down-market a word to describe this restored Chateau. From the towers on the outside to the Renaissance wall & ceiling paintings on the inside, everything is so grand. While strolling around the premises, one of the staff proudly informs us that this is in fact one of France’s historic monuments and unique luxury hotel of its kind!
Time to hit the road. As we leave the premises I reckon, this would probably be the most romantic place we have stayed at so far. Best described in two words: Historic luxury!