The theme of nearly every lunch conversation over the past month or so has been the dreaded réforme being imposed on middle schools throughout France next year. I have had it explained to me enough times to know that it will cut down on teachers and give even less flexibility in the classroom. So last week I started hearing that the union had scheduled a strike for January 26th. As it turned out, all the teachers I work with were striking so it meant that I got the day off too!
As I pondered how to spend my unexpected free Tuesday, my dear copain suggested he take the day off and we make a date out of it. No complaints here! So I took a train far too early in the morning and we went to Pérouges, a medieval city just outside of Lyon. Neither of us had been before, but we looked it up on TripAdvisor and thought it would be a fun destination.
As we walked from the small train station up a huge hill to get to Pérouges, we enjoyed walking through the small village of Meximieux.
When we walked through the city gate and began to wind through the tiny streets, we realized that the city seemed absolutely deserted. Knowing it’s a pretty typical tourist spot, we were puzzled. Since we had planned to grab lunch there, we stopped in front of a handful of restaurants. We began to notice a trend… they all had handwritten signs that said “FERMÉ EN JANVIER” (Closed in January). Whoops! We managed to see two local residents and one school field trip of about 15 kids in the whole city. There was a local galette place with a sign on a window that said “Knock for a piece of galette” so we knocked and got ourself a little snack. Lucky for me, G had packed two capri suns that his mom had given him the last time he was home in Alsace (who knew we both drank the same sugar-water juice boxes as kids? Neither of us had had them in years!), so we sat in an abandoned medieval city square eating galette and drinking fruit punch. Who knew that could be so fun?!
After, we wandered through Meximieux (pop. 7,000) and stumbled across a local brasserie. We both got the restaurant’s special which was a salad, coq au vin with 4 potatoes next to it, and a bowl of chocolate mousse. It was rich and filling and only 12 euros! We then headed over to the train station and found out our train was delayed over an hour. We walked every street in the little village and enjoyed some sunshine at the train station while we tried to fight off the urge to take a nap after all those potatoes.
We missed our connecting train to get back so we ended up having two hours to wander in Ambérieu-en-Bugey after! Also a beautiful spot for a late afternoon stroll.
According to the GPS, we walked just over 15km. No wonder we were both ready to drop by dinner time! But malgré tout, we had the best time.