Lyon, oh Lyon…

The lockdown has entered its second week and we are coping OK so far. We have established a kind of routine and started to feel less stressed about the new normal. Having said that, having too much time on our hands isn’t that great, is it?

Bella is sad about having to stay indoor…

During the time like this, I should be diving into updating my blog. However, I end up fiddling with my iPhone, checking Facebook, Instagram, BBC app, etc… instead. I must be more disciplined and productive.

So here we go. I’m gonna recount our time in Lyon!

Mmm…, I have only myself to blame but the memories of our stay in Lyon are rather hazy and patchy. For nearly two years, they have been left alone in my head and now I find them fading fast like vintage photographs!

A hotel I booked at Lyon was a rather strange one. I can’t recall how I got hold a key to our room – maybe it was through an instruction via – we had to let ourselves in and find the room.

Staircase was rather sweep…
The decor was eclectic and fun!

Our room was simple but pleasantly decorated and had a high ceiling and a tall window.

Airy and inviting

Our window was filled by the view of a local church. Would a church bell wake us up the next morning, we wondered.

Beautiful, huh?

After sorting out our luggage, we decided to visit another Monoprix on Rue de la République for mum’s favourite top.

I wished if we were light travellers!

‘Shall we have some lunch here?’ We saw a vegetarian cafeteria around the corner and decided to grab late lunch.


We ordered two lasagnes, one with mixed beans and another one with courgette.

After lunch, we strolled towards the Monoprix…

Early summer in Lyon…

It was Saturday afternoon so the streets were busy with locals and tourists.

The style of the buildings reminded me the one in Paris…

Ornate and elegant…
A tram!

The video reminds me how precious our “ordinary everyday” is. Under this COVID-19 lockdown, we can’t do anything normal, such as sauntering in town, meeting up with friends or going out for drink. Streets are deserted and filled with the fear of virus. How sad is that!

The street then was filled with pedestrians…

The sun was shining…

We looked for mum’s top at the Monoprix but it was sold out. She was disappointed but I consoled her that we would try another store if we come across it.

‘Let’s catch a metro from here!’

On y va!

The ride would be only one stop to Hôtel de Ville but I wanted to reduce the burden on mum’s knee…


As I promised yesterday, I have restarted a chronicle of my French escapade with my mom.

After leaving behind the dynamic backdrop of Sisteron, we headed to our next destination, Lyon, which was about 260km away.

As you can see from the satellite map, the area we drove through was very close to French Alps and the landscape was mainly occupied by forests and boulders.

Amazing, huh?
I wished if I knew more about geology…

At Laragne-Montéglin, we came across this…

Winking apple!

The area was famous for their delicious apples – Vita-Pom, Saint Pétrus and Altess. Mum and I were especially cheered by the apple because our hometown, Nagano, was also famous for being one of the largest producers of the fruit too. ‘I would have love to taste their apples if the season was right!’, mum uttered.

We also agreed their apple tree blossoming must have been a beautiful sight to behold.

Beautiful Parc National des Écrins. Hope to see you again!

At Monestier-de-Clermont, we took A51 and sped towards Lyon…

Sweet remedy

Are you thinking what I am thinking? Longing for the freedom? Feeling like your wings have been clipped? It is only my first day of the lockdown and I am already suffering from boredom and helplessness. How pathetic is that?

I urged Hubbie to check on our local corner shop and to shop some treats if they were open.

Sweet remedy…

He brought back a few packets of baked treats, a pint of milk and a pack of eggs. Well done, you! At a time like this, a small treat like jam round with tea helps us enormously.

Needless to say it but we intend to eat as healthily as possible during the lockdown. However, having some sweet treats once a day will cheer us up and therefore it will help us to keep our morale high.

Oh, how I long for a day I can stroll in to a bakery and have a pastry with latte without care in the world…

Restaurant Angelina, Cassis

For lunch at Cassis, mom decided to treat me at Angelina which was on Avenue Victor Hugo. The restaurant was well known in the town, especially for their bouillabaisse – a traditional Provençal fish stew.

We were ushered to a terraced dining area in the back of the restaurant.

It must have been to do with the timing of our visit – during an ordinary weekday’s afternoon, there weren’t many diners, only two couples apart from us two.

A waiting staff brought us a plate of crispy breads and a jar of olive paste.

It was a hot day and mom enjoyed a glass of chilled beer and I had a glass of Evian – someone had to drive, you see?

As a starter, we shared their famed bouillabaisse.

Well, the stew did differ from our expectation. We expected it to be one of those typical bouillabaisse which would arrive laden with shellfish and fish meat in tomato based broth. However the one ladled into our bowls was all brown and very thick liquid. ‘Bon appétit!’, mom and I both looked at each other as soon as the smiley waiter left our table. ‘Is this the bouillabaisse?!’ I dipped a spoon and tasted the liquid. Mmmm, the stew was very rich and flavoursome. Mom tasted a mouthful too and agreed enthusiastically, ‘Oh dear, it is very intense, isn’t it?’

After the stew, we had tempra of sardines with red pepper purée…

Risotto of scallops…

And pan-fried swordfish…

It was a feast!

After lunch, we did some gift shopping at one of town’s confectionaries and headed back to a car park.

Now, we must hurry because we have another place of interest on our itinerary!

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

La Tarte Tropézienne, Cassis

Cassis, a reputed coastal town of Côte d’Azur, was about half hour drive from Aix-en-Provence. Visiting the town was earmarked to be one of our road trip’s highlights and we were praying for good weather.

And our player was answered! We found a gorgeous blue sky over our head. A perfect weather for visiting the seaside.

We came off from A50 and went through a few hairpin curves…

‘I don’t see any coastline yet.’, mum complained. Guardrails were cutting the line of our sights and the only things we could see was the blue sky and the line of trees.

The traffic slowed down as we approached a toll gate…

I can’t recall how much the toll was but it was around €3.00?

After driving through narrow and winding streets of Cassis’s residential area, we arrived at a very smart carpark. The place was modern and stylish with a fancy ironwork and colour scheme. Even though the charges weren’t cheap but I was impressed by most of the French public car parks in their towns and cities. They seemed to be well designed and pleasant to park a car. And we always felt safe.

‘Wow! It’s busy!’ Despite being weekday morning, the car park was almost full and we had to park in the lowest level. How busy will it be during the high season!, mum and I shook our heads with disbelief.

I don’t know about you but the sight made me very nostalgic…

It reminded me of the illustrations of my all time French children’s book, Caroline et ses amis, á la mer…

All those pinwheels, who will buy them, you may wonder. But the atmosphere of seaside is such, I would have been lure to buy one if my rational side of me didn’t stop me!

The first settlers of Cassis were the Ligures who arrived at the shore around 500 BC. They were originally from the north-western Italy and they established their lives by fishing and farming.

Today’s Cassis is a popular tourist destination and the place is teeming with visitors who want to visit its famous cliffs and inlets.

A well-presented town centre…

Despite the aged appearance, the buildings were well maintained and the tiled streets and pavements were immaculately clean. The town was very smart.

Look mum, La Tarte Tropézienne!

La Tarte Tropézienne is a chain patisserie which has branches mainly in the South of France. They sell not only the famous tarte Tropézienne but also more usual French cakes and pastries.

Tarte Tropézienne! They came in different sizes…

Let’s have some with coffee before we go cruising, mum!

Doesn’t it look cute?

It was delicious too! While we enjoyed our morning treat, I chatted with a staff who made up delicious coffee. She was shocked to hear that I drove from London all on my own. She was even more impressed when I told her that I would drive back to the UK, tracing the eastern side of France.

‘By the way, is there any public convenience nearby?’

She told us that there was one in a town square which was adjacent to the shop.

Place Baragnon…

The square with a fountain seemed to be also a home for several ducks…

Hey guys, do you know where is a public toilet?

The public loo was in the north corner of the square and it was one of those “automated” kinds. I had seen a similar one in London for years but never had the courage to use one.

Oh well, I’ve got to bite the bullet now because I have to test drive it before sending mum in!

The loo wasn’t dirty but it was a bit scary. In the back of my mind, I couldn’t help worrying if the door wouldn’t unlock and I would be trapped inside!

Thankfully, no such thing happened and I sent mum to use it too. However, I stood right next to the door and kept on asking her if everything was ok. It must have been a peculiar sight for the passers by…

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

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