When I was in high school, I really wanted to go to France with the school French club, however, it wasn’t meant to be at that time. Since then, I have had a dream to visit this wonderful country and practice my French! My dream has come true! After our amazing visit in Paris, we rented our tiny little Fiat 500 (I will spare you the details of that crazy hot mess) and rolled on to the country side beyond Lyon, to a small village called Tence! There we were greeted by Yvan and a large portion of his family! There were many two cheek kisses in our immediate future!
The country house where we spent one night belongs to Yvan’s Aunt Françoise and Uncle Serge. We truly appreciate the hospitality they showed to us by allowing us the opportunity to stay in their beautiful country home, eat amazing food with them and exchanging stories in my VERY broken French and their mostly much better English. We had some quiet rest, smores (French style) and I DJ’ed a camp fire party where I heard people who barely speak English belt out every word of Thriller and Like a Virgin. The next day after a big family lunch we had a wonderful exploration of the forest around the area, which was a lovely way to end our 24-hour stay in this place. We could not have asked for a better start to our stay in this part of France!
After our forest walk, we headed to Bully, where Yvan’s family lives. What an absolutely charming and beautiful place! Everywhere you look there are grape vines and the most beautiful rolling hills landscape dotted with the old time charm of houses built generations ago. After having a lovely dinner with Yvan’s family at their beautiful home, we continued on to our bed-n-breakfast. We are staying in a place called Lodges Lao. You can check them out here if you are interested, http://www.lodgeslao.fr/fr/#. This adorable and charming place is owned by a lovely couple, Sonya and Rémi. They have renovated the inside to be a modern oasis of beauty and sophistication while maintaining the old world charm of the stone and ivy exterior. We could not have asked for a more lovely place to stay or more lovely people to meet! If you want a quiet get-a-way, near the heart of the city of Lyon, may I recommend them! You won’t find a more lovely place and the croissants and jams at breakfast are to die for!
We will leave shortly with Yvan for a visit to the city of Lyon, France! I am really looking forward to spending the afternoon and evening there with him. We will stay late to see the Bastille Day fireworks display! Tomorrow morning we leave this wonderful place to continue on to Tours to visit BFF’s French partner. I am looking forward to meeting people who I have worked with for a while now and have never met in person. With each place we visit we find the hospitality of both strangers and friends and the passion of proud people ready to share their homeland. However, perhaps most wonderful is the love we’ve been cultivating over the years being given back to us a hundred fold from the wonderful students and families with whom we’ve connected through the exchange program. J’adore France!
Until next time . . .
Au revoir!

Reunited with Yvan!

Dinner outside!

Me with Nathalie (Yvan’s mother), Irene (Yvan’s grandmother), Françoise (Yvan’s aunt).

The beautiful landscape surrounding Tence!

The family country house.

Emily with Yvan’s grandmother and aunt