Camping International Lyon City Kamp

We'd planned on staying in Spain for the penultimate night of our holiday and then making our way north through France and spending the last night on an aire. A rainy week prompted us to change our plans for the last couple of days and we left Spain a day early for two nights in Lyon.

We arrived at Camping International Lyon at 4pm on Friday. The site is owned by Huttopia, the French camping chain we swear by, but it is branded under their City Kamp umbrella. Unfortunately this site is a far cry from what we've come to expect from Huttopia - it's no wonder they've created this off-shoot brand so as not to tar their name.

The site is right next to the A6 motorway in Dardilly, an unattractive suburb of Lyon comprising mainly of budget hotels. Pitches are in purpose-built rows with privacy hedges. The showers lack TLC.

This campsite is not for spending a lenghty holiday, and most people seemed to be using it as a one-night stopover en-route to somewhere else.

In its favour is its proximity to Lyon, France's third most populous city. Just two minutes from the campsite is a bus stop with buses into Lyon centre every fifteen minutes. The campsite reception sells day passes for €5.40; once on the bus you validate the ticket in a machine and can then enjoy 24 hours of travel on the metro, buses and trams.

We were showered and dressed by 9am ready for when reception opened to buy our day tickets. Tony consulted maps and route plans and devised a plan that whisked us into the centre of Lyon to the first sight on our bucket list, La Basilique Notre Dame de Fourvière, a cathedral on a hill overlooking the whole city.

The climb to the top was tough on our legs which were still weary from two weeks of walking in the Spanish mountains. The views from the top were worth the effort, though, once there, we spotted a bus that would have saved us the effort.

Next door to the cathedral is the Amphitheatre of the Three Gauls of Lugdunum dating back to 19 AD. We started heading back down the hill after taking plenty of photos of the Roman structure.

Back in the hub of the city we walked through pretty cobbled streets where waiters were preparing outdoor tables in anticipation of the Saturday lunchtime crowds.

Next on our must-see list was the statue by the river entitled The Weight of Oneself. It represents a man trying to save himself.

We'd have liked to have visited the artists market but it didn't appear to be on. We crossed the river into a shopping district and a food market, taking an interest in a restaurant we passed called Flam's that promised all-you-can-eat dining and making a note for later in the day.

The flower tree was probably my favourite piece of sculpture in Lyon for its cheerfulness and vibrancy. I often need to Google the meaning of a piece of art to properly understand it but I haven't done for this. I just liked it because it's fun.

We walked a far as Part Deux station and shopping centre. We entered the mall looking for Decathlon and never finding it. Instead we bought four packs of walking-boot socks on in Primark and then caught the metro back towards Flam's.

The downstairs of the restaurant was full except, luckily, for a table for two. We were grateful to learn the waiter spoke perfect English and could explain how the all-you-can eat menu worked. We'd order our first flammekeuche, an Altatian thin pastry base topped with variations of ingredients, rather like a super-thin pizza, and then when it was brought to the table they'd take our order for the next.

We munched through four flammekeuche before we were worried we might not want dessert which was included in the €16 euro per head menu. Our late lunch was washed down with a strong beer - Belgian style.

After lunch we had a look around a few shops but didn't buy anything. It was 5pm by the time we caught the train and then bus back to camp.

We enjoyed a couple of beers, sitting outside in the evening sun. As usual everyone else was inside their white-box caravans and motorhomes watching their satellite tellies - it always makes me wonder why they didn't stay at home.

Home is where we reluctantly set off for at 9am the next morning after a wine stop at the nearby Super U supermarket. We'll have to plan better in future because this branch didn't have the 10-litre boxes we always buy and it worked out a lot more extensive buying the five-litre ones. I say a lot more expensive, but it was still less than half the price per bottle of wine in the UK.

We crossed the channel two hours earlier than expected after I was able to amend or our booking as we got nearer to Calais. We arrived in the UK to rain, heavy traffic on the roads (and expensive wine in the shops). We can't wait for the next opportunity to leave the country!


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