France Vacation Guide: Traveling to Lyon and Beaujolais

Apr 04, 2014 Avatar Dan Ilves Dan Ilves

Lyon has much to offer, from its Roman history and ruins to its contemporary art museum; its silk heritage and traboules; its renowned food culture, with its bouchons and bonbon pies; its engaging street murals (some 150) and exquisite mosaics and gildings in the Fourvière Basilica; its two rivers, the Saône and Rhone; its Old Town with its cobbled streets and alleyways, and the elegant architecture, both old and new; it Guignol puppets and cinematic history.

A variety of day trips from Lyon are possible, including to medieval Perouges, to Annency, and to the wine regions of the Rhone, Burgundy and Beaujolais. We chose to spend a fabulous day in the Beaujolais region by private car and guide, exploring its gold stone villages in the southern part of the area, the Beaujolais des Pierres Dorees, and
enjoying several of its
crus in Crus de Beaujolais northern region.

It’s easy to spend a day or two in this region, exploring a couple of the golden stone villages, only located in the southern part, and so named because the stone from which the villages were built are of a yellow color that in sunlight create a golden hue.

Oingt may be the most popular of these, where an international festival of barrel organs is held each year. Nearby is Chateau de Bagnols, one of our favorites, and well worth a one- or two-night stay. The chateau was just adding a spa.

While the south is more famous for the Nouveau Beaujolais experience, it’s the northern cru areas that are worth a visit for those looking for the best wines in the region. One of our favorites was Morgon, and particularly the sustainable wine of Domaines Piron, where Dominique Piron makes some lovely wines on his patchwork of parcels.

In Brouilly we enjoyed a couple of Michel Picard’s wines from his Chateau de Cercy.

Worth a visit, perhaps, is the wine theme park created by George Duboeuf, with its vintage train, restaurants, wine museum and large gift shop and wine emporium.