Our trip was at Venice, Vicenza, Parma, Torino, Annecy, Lyon & Paris. This post focuses on France:
Annecy – This location was our 3-day relaxation stop halfway through our Italy/France trip. Although I always book us in a hotel in the center of activity in each town, at this location I selected the Imperial Palace Hotel – located for optimum view of the lake, and a gorgeous, historical hotel. The beautiful old town of Annecy was just a short 10 minute walk along the promenade – enjoyed the leisurely walk and the hotel was nice & quiet at night. I booked the cheapest room, but the hotel upgraded us to a spacious, beautiful appointed side-view room with a terrace overlooking the lake. Each night, we anticipated the amazing croissants and pastries at Pan & Gatto – never had any in Lyon or Paris that compared! Since the forecast was rain for Day 2-3 at Annecy, we rented a small power boat for an hour the first day to enjoy the entire lake. (Luckily, Day 2-3 were just overcast.) We tried taking the bus to Menthon-St. Bernard two mornings, but it never showed up. Instead, enjoyed the nice bike road along the lake and hiked around the area. Summary: beautiful lake/mountain location with lots of outdoor activities and a photogenic quaint old town. Pleased with our hotel selection.
Lyon – I posted earlier about our hotel apartment in the Vieux Lyon area – a highlight and historical experience! We loved this town with the medieval old streets & Traboules to explore. Highly recommend the Gallo-Roman Museum & the Lumiere Museum. We also went to the Fine Arts Museum and the Tissues (Fabrics) museum. We bought two separate 1-Day Metro/Funicular passes for Days 1 & 3 and walked all over exploring the Traboules, medieval streets, market and Bellecour-to-Hotel de Ville area during Day 2. During our walking day, we enjoyed exploring all of the way back up to the Fourviere area near the Roman ruins and back down through some gardens. We had planned to see the Tete d’Or Parc, but the weather in Lyon was colder overcast with light rain. Summary: highly recommend Lyon for its diversity of things to do – Traboules, funiculars, museums, shops, etc.
Paris – Our final 3 days of the 2 1/2 week Italy/France trip were returning to Paris. We were surprised at the extent of lack of crowds and were treated well by the locals. We explored the usual tourist locations. Summary: recommend purchasing the NaviGo for RER/Metro (I planned our 3 days to work for this pass) because it was cheaper for the entire 3 days than a taxi to CDG. We utilized it so much vs. deciding whether to walk the steps or take the Funicular at Montmartre, or instance. Highly recommend the night river cruise & La Cuisine Paris cooking class; I really enjoyed the croissant class the last morning of our trip – a chance to bring Paris home with us!