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Part one: Enjoy the charm of the French countryside while partaking of the gastronomic delights of Lyon

Thursday, December 27th, 2012

When I decided to write the monastery book on France, one of the cities I didn’t want to miss was Lyon. It is a history-filled city with art, architecture and of course, wonderful gastronomic delights. The Institution where I stayed is situated on the grounds of a verdant 15-acre parkland on a hill dominating Lyon. Conveniently located on the west side of Lyon, the facility is accessible to the Perrache and Part-Dieu high-speed train stations. Once an old estate built in 1680, it is for all intents and purposes a stone’s throw from Lyon.

While on a mission to Gaul in 43 BC, one of Caesar’s lieutenants founded a Roman colony and named it Lugdunum. It became the capital of Roman Gaul and is now the core of present-day Lyon. Its most provocative artifact from the Roman period is the bronze Claudian Table granting citizens the right to become Roman senators. The table is part of the priceless collection of the Musee de la Civilisation Gallo.

A lovely city in the Rhone Alps, Lyon offers a cornucopia of diversions, from its world famous cuisine to its medieval and Renaissance old square. It is organized into nine arrondissements and the best way to explore the city on foot. Fourviere hill, the “praying hill” is defined by the extravagant 19th century Our Lady of Fourviere Basilica, beloved symbol of the city and a revered place of pilgrimage. Mosaics and stained glass opulently fill the interior. Easy access is provided by a funicular railway, la ficelle, which travels to the top of the hill and amazing views of the city below.

The cost of the rooms is quite reasonable with rates starting at about 35E per person/per night including breakfast.

The cost of the rooms is quite reasonable with rates starting at about 35E per person/per night including breakfast. Other meals can also be arranged for an additional charge. Men and women are welcome. Each single, double and dorm rooms have private baths and views of the park. The institute is accessible to the handicapped.

To be continued…

For more information go to: Monasteries of France









Experience culinary specialties and prehistoric sites when you lodge at this maison.

Saturday, October 16th, 2010

Quartered in the town amidst its own spacious park, the guesthouse is conveniently located for daily excursions into the lovely environs.

Quartered in the town amidst its own spacious park, the guesthouse is conveniently located for daily excursions into the lovely environs. Perigeux is an ancient and gastronomic city and like its neighbors Bergerac and Riberac, should be visited on market days when the stalls in the medieval sections offer local specialties. Perigeux is famous for its pates, notably goose livers and truffles. La Cite, a medieval quarter was once the important Gallo-Roman settlement of Vesunna. Remains from Roman times include the arenas, the Vesunna tower and an amphitheater. The 12th century cathedral has five domes topped by cupolas. The interior is adorned with Byzantine-style chandeliers. In the old town, the longest and finest street is the narrow rue Limogeanne; it is lined with Renaissance mansions, many of which are now boutiques and patisseries.

The greatest concentration of prehistoric sites in France is found near the Maison along the Vezere river. Les Eyzies-de-Tayac is encompassed by caves and grottoes, many adored with primitive art. More than 300 animal figures are carved on the walls of the Grotte des Combarelles; the paintings of horses, bison, mammoths and reindeer in the Grotte de Font-de-Gaume are second only to Lascaux.

For more information go to: Monasteriesof

A World Heritage Site and the cradle of the French Renaissance mark this intriguing region. Lodging at the Sanctuaire… only $15

Sunday, May 2nd, 2010

The monastery's site has been a place of pilgrimage since1877.

The Sanctuaire is positioned in a small village in the hilly countryside separating the basins of the rivers Indre and Cher. The town preserves a handsome 12th century Romanesque church and several ancient chateaux.

The town of Bourges is a short distance away. At the geographical heart of France, the Gallo-Roman town retains ancient walls and rich historical foundation. The past is evident in the maze of paved stone streets, medieval and Renaissance architecture and vestiges of ancient ramparts. The city is also home to the extraordinary French Gothic masterpiece, the Cathedral of St-Etienne, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. A handsome edifice it is replete with five sculpted portals on the west façade while the interior features a soaring nave, an unbroken line of columns and medieval stained glass windows.

Also near the sanctuary is Tours, chief town of the Loire valley. The original home of the French language, the capital is rich with history and a well-preserved heritage. It was in Tours in 732 that Charles Martel halted the Moorish conquest of Europe. Martel’s halt of the invasion turned the tide of Islamic advances. Tours was also the cradle of the first French Renaissance. In the atmospheric old quarter, around the pedestrianized place Plumereau, the medieval lanes are fronted by an array of 12th to 15th century half-timbered houses, stairway towers, bustling cafes, boutiques and galleries.

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