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suggestions of things to do - lyon/strasbourg/avignon

Hi, My boyfriend and I are traveling to strasbourg for 3 days, then catching the train to Lyon for 4 days and then Avignon for another 4. Apart from walking the streets, we'd love some suggestions for day trips that are accesible by train and other suggestions for things to do. Is there a short trip we can do to see some mountainous scenery from lyon? And is there a nice forest to go for a walk in near strasbourg? We are really interested in scenery and walks over museums and that sort of thing. Also whilst I have you here, do you know how far in advance I can book point to point tickets for the train? I thought it was 3 months in advance but as I am going from the 20th December I think the timing must be different. Thanks so much for your help!
Charlotte

Posted by
16169 posts

Right now we are waiting anxiously for the new train schedules to come out so we can book. The changeover day is Dec 15, so you can't book further out until they get finalized. Being it is Christmas, you stand a very good chance of finding snow in the forest around Strasbourg. So strolling the Christmas market may be in order.
From Lyon you can get a 1 hour 20 minute train to Grenoble which is surrounded by high mountains. You can even take a bus to one of the high alpine ski resorts like Les Deux Alpes.

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16169 posts

PS TGV website says Oct 17 will be opening day for ticket sales for trains running after Dec 14.

Posted by
8 posts

Thanks for your reply Sam! Do you know of any nice scenery around Avignon? And is a forest kind of landscape easy to find around strasbourg? Cheers,
Charlotte

Posted by
26373 posts

Strasbourg is down at river level as it is right on the Rhine. The nearest forests are up in the hills. As you head west towards Nancy you go uphill and you come up the Vosges range which are covered with woods. Or, cross the river and in a very short time as you go west you will be climbing into the northern lower portion of the Black Forest. Easy train connections to all sorts of lovely villages and towns and walks in the Black Forest mountain forests. These are Regional trains and need no reservations and no advance purchase discounts.

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16169 posts

A 17 minute train ride south of Strasbourg is the town of Selestat. On weekends there is a shuttle bus to Haut Koenigsbourg Castle. It sits on a high point (600 meters) above the Rhine plain. If you go, make sure it is a clear day as you can see across the plain to the mountains of the Black Forest. It is surrounded by heavy forest of large pines climbing up the mountain road. The castle was beautifully restored in the 1890's. I'm sure there are some walking trails about. www.haut-koenigsbourg.fr/en/ Avignon area is very agricultural. It is home of the famous Chateaunuf de Papes wine which is produced in the region. There are some low mountains to the southwest and a town of Orgon(Miramas) 40 min on the train. I've only been to Avignon on a day trip from Lyon. I'm sure others will have more information.

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2916 posts

While I'm not a big fan of Avignon, we wound up going through there many times for bus connections when we stayed elsewhere in Provence, because most buses were routed through Avignon. So if you can find bus schedule info through the Avignon tourist bureau or another regional bureau, you'll be able to see where you can get to by bus. I can't remember all the places we went to, but I believe one of them was Isle sur la Sourgue, which has a great Sunday market. And we were staying in St. Remy when we took buses through Avignon, and that's definitely a worthwhile place to visit for their market and for walking. As to trains from Avignon, it's a short trip to Arles, which is lovely. We've stayed in Lyon several times, but since there was so much to see and do there, we never took a day trip outside. But the Beaujolais area is nearby, which is beautiful and worth a visit. I assume there must be some form of public transportation to get there.
We've also stayed in Strasbourg, and I believe you can get all over Alsace from there by bus and/or train, but we generally had a car. Almost any village in Alsace is worth visiting.

Posted by
8 posts

thanks so much for all the advice! I'm so excited :)

Posted by
1717 posts

Hello Charlotte. From Lyon, I think I would ride in a railroad train to Aix-les-Bains. It is an old and elegant hot water spa town, at Lac du Bourget, located south of Annecy. I would stay at Aix-les-Baines, one or two nights. Why did you decide to go to Lyon ?

Posted by
813 posts

I immediately thought of Haut Koenigsbourg, and see someone has already mentioned it. I think it's just what you're looking for. Also down the hill from there is a great Alsatian town of Riquewihr. I wouldn't waste your time crossing into Germany to see a forest, I think you'd enjoy some of the wine route towns more.

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188 posts

You simply cannot visit Strasbourg without taking the short train ride down to Colmar. Mathias Grunewald's Isenheim Altarpiece at the Unterlinden Museum (which is undergoing expansion but the construction may be finished by the time you get there) is the highlight but there is more to the museum and Colmar itself was spared damage during WWII and remains one the the best preserved Alsatian towns in the region. Grunewald's back-story is really interesting also but I'll let you discover that. I would think they have a Christmas market like most French towns do but I have not been there at that time of year. But they do have a pink church (pink is a popular color in town). A great walking town!

Posted by
8 posts

Thanks for your advice everyone, will definitely be looking at Haut Koenigsbourg!