Weekend Breaks in Neighbouring France and Italy.

With long holiday weekends to look forward to in April, May and June,  it seems like a great time for the En Bref team to share some of their favourite places for weekend breaks in neighbouring France and Italy – all within a four hour (tops!) drive from school.

Turin, Italy:

Travel Time : 4 hour drive
Where to stay : Doubletree by Hilton Turin Lingotto, or NH Torino Lingotto Congress – both
converted former Fiat Car factories.
What to do : Car Museum; shopping on Via Roma; National Museum of Cinema; Royal Palace;
and for football fans, Turin is home to Juventus FC.
Where to eat : Everywhere! Eataly; Caffe al Bicerin (city’s landmark cafe opened in 1763) and
Catullo Ristaurante and Pizzeria. Lots of cafes for eating gelato and drinking coffee

Summary: A beautiful, historical city which was the headquarters of the Savoy family.

Milan, Italy:

Travel time : 4 hour drive, or 4 hours by train
Where to stay : Grand Visconti Palace, excellent location a short walk from Porta Romano;
Brera Apartments , family apartments located all over the city
What to do : visit the Duomo, the most iconic building in Milan; explore the Galleria Vittorio
Emanuele II the oldest active shopping mall in Italy; National History Museum, perfect if
it’s too hot or rainy; Milan’s Children’s Museum; or football – Milan is home to two
teams, Inter Milan and AC Milan, who share a stadium, San Siro (tours available).
Where to eat : Everywhere – pasta, pizza and gelato! Don’t miss out on ‘Risotto alla Milanese’.

Summary : Food, fashion and football! The perfect mix for some.

Beaune, France:

Travel time: 2h30 by car.
Where to stay: Try the Beaune Tourist Office website; or AirBnB for centrally located apartments.
What to do:
Visit Hospices de Beaune, an impressive medieval hospital; see the vibrant Saturday market in the main square; take a wine tour and do some tasting; hire bikes and spend a day cycling through the Cote d’Or vineyards, from one lovely village (Meursault, Pommard, Puligny-Montrachet…) to the next; head north to Dijon, home of the famous mustard, stopping at the villages of the Route des Grands Crus, such as Gevrey-Chambertin, and Vougeot.
Where to eat: Try Les Popiettes, or Le Comptoir des Tontons.

Summary: Gorgeous, medieval, walled town in the heart of the Burgundy wine region. Lots of atmosphere and wine, wine, wine!

Strasbourg, France:

Travel time: 3h45 drive
Where to stay: Sofitel Strasbourg Grand Ile, very central location; Hilton Strasbourg, good parking and easy access to centre by tram; 
What to do: 
Visit the European Parliament; take a river cruise; climb the north tower of the Notre Dame Cathedral for a great view over the city and beyond; buy a ticket for the daily astronomical clock shows in the Cathedral; visit the Musee Alsacien, housed in a charming 17th century riverside house; wander around picturesque Petite France; visit the Alsasce wine region; en route, take a side trip to see beautiful Colmar.
Where to eat:  Try Alsacien ‘pizza’, flammekueche, at Binchstub; or an Indian meal at Cinnamon Restaurant.

Summary: Intriguing city, at a cultural crossroads, which is both dynamic and historic.

Lyon, France:

Travel time : Less than 2 hours by car, or direct train from Geneva
Where to stay : Hotel Silky – boutique hotel in city centre; Mercure Lyon Centre Saxe Lafayette – close to the train station Part Dieu (for arrival from Geneva);  Radisson Blu Lyon – good parking nearby for drivers – Mercure Lyon Centre Château Perrache.
What to do :  Invest in a Lyon City Card – great value for free use of public transport, access to museums, guided tours, cruises, etc. Amazing flea market held on Thursday, Friday & Saturday; explore the old town, including Lyon’s famous Traboules – ‘secret’ passages; or Lyon’s Roman past, including the
Amphitheatre of the Three Gauls; visit one of the city’s many museums, including the Musée Lumière which celebrates the birthplace of cinema; the quirky Cinema and Miniature Museum; boat tour on the rivers Rhone and Saone; shopping on Rue de la République.
Where to eat : Lyon is known as one of Europe’s gourmet capitals. Les Halles de Paul Bocuse – amazing food market;  for a touch of tradition, try one of Lyon’s typical bouchons, such as Colette or Le Bouchon des Filles; for ice cream – Terre Adélice.

Summary : Third largest city in France – everything you would find in Paris, but on a much
more manageable scale.

Compiled with contributions by Jen Sealy, Karen Lally, Karen Eugeni and Olive Fenton

All images courtesy of Pixabay.

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