5 Workouts Worth Checking Out in Lyon

Planning a trip to Lyon, France? Here are a few recommendations for workouts and activities that will keep you moving while you’re in the area.

1) M.ROC – Bouldering has become a super trendy sport in North America and apparently in France as well. M.ROC is a super neat concept bouldering space that offers not only a ton of different walls to practice your climbing skills but also offers a place to relax and be social after climbing with their cool cafe. This “Bloc and Bistro” as they call it has three locations in Lyon. It costs around 15 Euros/day including shoes.

2) Bikram Hot Yoga – Yoga is slowly making ground in Lyon. The latest and greatest studio to open up is a Bikram Hot Yoga studio right downtown on the presqu’île. The studio recently underwent some renovations to be able to accommodate it’s growing number of customers. Owned by a husband and wife duo, they’re rapidly becoming the go-to spot in the city.

3) Parc de la tête d’or – Looking for places to run while you’re in Lyon? Le parc de la tête d’or is an absolute must! The park can easily remind someone of Central Park, minus the madness. It’s located right next to Rhône, so you can easily run through the park and then run along the waterfront, getting the most beautiful views of the city. In the park, you’ll also get to see the botanical garden and the city’s zoo.

4) CrossFit Enyento – Located in the 9th arrondissement, this CrossFit box is home to some of the city’s best athletes. CrossFit Enyento offer a wide-variety of classes that specialize in weightlifting, cross-training and more. They offer free trial classes for newcomers and have great trainers that will make everyone feel welcome and provide you with great training tips.

5) Go to the Alps – Because Lyon is located just 90 minutes away from the French Alps, going on a day trip to the mountain is a must.  There are plenty of resorts and mountains to choose from, whether you’re looking to hike, snowboard, run or even eat local mountain food. Worth checking out: Les 2 Alpes, Alpe du Huez and Courchevel, just to name a few.

France, je t’aime! pt 2

When traveling to France, the two things most people have in mind are: shopping and eating! Here were some of my favorite places to shop and stuff my face in Paris, Lyon, Les 2 Alpes and Bretagne from my recent trip to France!

Cool shops

Obviously France is like the shopping mecca of the world, so these are some of my recent favs:

Springsioux, Paris – the raddest up and coming rock n’ roll Parisian brand. They’ve got badass jewelry, tees and accessories and also carry some incredibly unique pieces from young designers from across Europe. They have a dreamy shop in Le Marais and hold events at least once a week, which usually either includes champagne or Caesars! WHERE: 4e arrondissement.

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The Kooples, Paris – you may have heard of this shop before. @Offner first introduced me to the brand last year. They have such beautiful pieces. I love the entire concept behind the store… Now if only I had more money!! WHERE: There are shops located pretty much in every arrondissements in Paris and shops also in Lyon.

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Les Galeries Lafayette, Paris – a classic if you’re in Paris. Basically, it’s like an enormous Holt Renfrew that carries the most high end brands and that is always beautifully decorated all year round! WHERE: 9e arrondissement

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American Retro, Paris – a super rad shop that carries edgy fashion pieces that are usually very colorful. They’re trendy with a twist. WHERE: There are a few different shops in Paris.

Auchan, Lyon – you won’t really find any clothes there but it’s my favorite spot to buy groceries!! They have such a HUGE selection of fresh products, cheese, vegetarian options, cookies, etc. Each time I go to the store, I want to buy everything! Think of a Costco with lot’s more fresh products and selection and a lot cheaper!! @Offner even found a friend there!! WHERE: everywhere in France!

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Where to eat

Let’s be honest, France has probably the most amazing food EVERYWHERE, so here are just some of places I liked on this past trip:

Tata Burger, Paris – they’ve got the biggest burger made to look like a penis! Yup! The food and atmosphere is pretty wild and super fun! WHERE: 4e arrondissement

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LA Favorite, Paris – very trendy and beautiful looking bistro in the 4e arrondissement. They had the best vin chaud! Yummy salads and desserts! WHERE: 4e arrondissement

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Casa San Pablo, Paris – a Spanish tapas restaurant that’s incredibly cheap and super yummy! Loved the traditional decor. WHERE: located in the 4e arrondissement, right by the Place Sainte-Catherine.

L’épicerie, Lyon – My favorite spot for lunch or for the “goûter”, they’ve got the best tartines and homemade desserts. Yum, I can almost still taste it in my mouth! WHERE: Bellecour, on the presqu’île.

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Pique-Nique en ville, Lyon – A super small and quaint restaurant that serves a great “formule midi”, otherwise known as an appetizer, main and dessert at a fixed price, which is very common throughout France. Absolutely loved their pasta and wine selection. WHERE: Presqu’île

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Abel, Lyon – one of the oldest bistros in the city that was founded in 1928. The place is also called a “bouchon Lyonnais”, which is a place where they serve traditional Lyonnais food, including the Quenelle, etc. WHERE: Presqu’île

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Le Cellier, Les 2 Alpes – For the best “montagnard” food, ie. the food of the mountains, the specialty in that area. They serve an amazing tartiflette, raclette, gratin de crozets, fondue, grilled meats, etc! I love their traditional ski chalet type decorations!

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Crêperie, Bretagne – While you’re in the region, you’ll want to order a freshly made sweet crêpe or even a savoury crêpe otherwise known as a “galette de sarrasin” usually filled with veggies, cheese and or meat, accompanied by a “bolée de cidre“. You’ll also want to order a “Flan Breton” or “Far Breton” to get an authentic dessert. They are so delicious and buttery! WHERE: There are crêperies located in every small town in Bretagne and are all equally tasty.

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Paul – a chain of patisseries that serve all sorts of yummy goodness! They’re now even located at rest areas on the highway and in train stations, they’re like the tim hortons of France but without all the chemicals and crap in their food. They serve salads, sandwiches, quiche, desserts, yummy drinks, etc. WHERE: Anywhere in France

Any patisserie or boulangerie in the area you will be staying will serve you amazing fresh bread, pastries and cakes. The perfect and cheapest place to have breakfast in the morning!

Also, I highly recommend getting cheese from the weekly market or some of the amazing local shops that always feature cheese made from the region. You can get great quality cheese for very cheap and encourage local producers.

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If you like macarons (for some reason, I just can’t get into them!), you’ll want to stop by Pierre Hermé, the best macarons in Paris! WHERE: Several locations across the city.

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*NOTE*: If you’re a vegetarian like me, I hope you like cheese, bread, pastries and salad because as I’m sure you know, a lot of the French cuisine revolves around meat. So you’ll need to find substitutes to meat for your meals. Even when you ask for a vegetarian salad or sandwich, from experience, they have the reflex of offering you fish or seafood. That said, you can survive! I’ve never eaten so much and so well in my life as I have in France!

Well there you have it! Hope this travel post was insightful! Let me know if you have any food or shopping recommendations for my next trip to France!

Writing this blog makes me miss France even more!! Can’t wait to return!

France, je t’aime! pt 1

This blog post was long overdue! I can’t believe that Offner and I have been back from Friday for almost two months now. It seems like just yesterday I was getting ready for this three week long adventure.

My trip was a little different this year. Since we had more time, we decided to explore more places than we had last December. On the itinerary: Paris, Bretagne, Lyon, Les 2 Alpes & St-Etienne. Here’s a little resume of our amazing adventure as well as tips for any of you going to France soon!

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Getting there

Because we were able to book our flights almost four months in advance we were able to find a super cheap deal with Orbitz for multi-destination trip with Air France. I really enjoy using Orbitz as a search engine when booking flights as they always have good selection for Europe, you can easily compare prices with other airlines and they’re booking is hassle-free, no hidden fee bullshit! We flew from Toronto -> Paris direct and on the way home we did Lyon -> Paris -> Montreal (It’s impossible to get a direct flight from Lyon to Toronto/Montreal). I was really excited to fly with Air France again since I hadn’t flown with them since I was a kid. I know the airline has made great strides in improving the quality of their service in the last couple of years, especially since that unfortunate crash in 2009. I was able to organize everything before my flight easily on their website. I was able to chose our seats, my vegetarian meal as well as get our boarding passes all sorted out before even arriving at the airport. The in-flight service was top notch! I was pleasantly surprised with the quality of my vegetarian meal as well as Offner’s fish selection. I appreciated the fact they gave us quality wine and champagne as well a balanced meal. Air France also had a great selection of movies and entertainment options available that made the 7hr overnight flight a lot more bearable. Leg room was decent, the only negative comment I’d have was that the seats were really hard, they could have been a little more cushiony.

Traveling while in France

We opted for different modes of transportation to get to the different areas we were traveling to. We took the TGV from Paris to get to Rennes, where we spent two days with my family. I highly recommend using this mode of transportation for quick, painless travels across the country. I had booked the tickets online in November and they were 29 Euros per person for the one-way. They also have complimentary wifi on the train and at the train station while you wait. Instead of taking us 4hrs to get to Rennes by car, it choped the travel time in half.

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One thing you need to remember is that if you’re renting a car, most places will be closed on Sundays, so since we were arriving on a Sunday in Rennes, we had to find a car at the airport. It was a 20 Euro cab ride from the train station to the airport in Rennes and the car rental place only opened at 1:30pm (more like 1:45pm France time :p) and was open for 4hrs. That said, we had tried to get a car through a website where individuals rent their personal vehicles (a cheaper option and worth looking into!) but unfortunately that fell through.

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We then flew from Rennes to Lyon. It was a 1hr flight. Though Rennes doesn’t have a very big airport, they have a few flights every day going to different areas in France and even to other countries in Europe. We took Air France’s regional jet HOP!, not only was the flight cheaper than the TGV but it also reduced our traveling time from 8hrs to 1hr. It was really a no-brainer for us.

While we were in Lyon and Paris, we also used the subway system a lot. It is super efficient and cheap. Also, you can use Uber taxi in Paris if you’re looking to get somewhere rather quickly but be prepared to dish out quite a lot of cash for cabs in Paris!

Where to stay

Offner and I are really lucky because we get to stay with family and friends while we’re in France. That said, we didn’t want to spend the entire three weeks crashing on people’s couches so we opted for our favorite type lodging: Airbnb. We spent one night in a Campanile, which is a big chain of environmentally friendly hotels that you can find across France. They’re a cheap alternative if you’re on a budget and hotels are more your thing. Though we could have stayed in a handful of different hotels, we opted to stay at cute little lofts/apartments in the neighbourhoods that we really liked. In Paris, we opted for Le Marais and in Lyon, La Croix Rousse. Both are safe and beautiful areas with lot’s to do and amazing food to eat!

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Some must-see spots from my trip

Paris

Le pont des amoureux

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Le Marais

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La Place des Vosges

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Le Louvre

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L’Île St-Louis

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Notre-Dame de Paris, the Eiffel Tower (duh!), les Champs Élysées, Place, Sainte-Catherine, etc.

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Lyon

Vieux Lyon

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Place Bellecour

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L’Opéra de Lyon

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Place des Terreaux, presqu’île de Lyon, Croix Rousse, Confluences, etc.

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La Bretagne – I may have a little bias towards this region of France because it’s where my mom’s family is from but it’s a beautiful small region that has much to offer. If you’re going to make the trek up there, I recommend you visit the following places: Dinard, Dinan and St-Malo. All three historic towns with beautiful scenery. While you’re there, you gotta eat “galette de sarrasin” the best salty crêpes on the planet as well as a bowl of traditional cider and my favorite dessert: le flan Breton! Also, if you like butter, you’re in for a treat! They put butter on EVERYTHING! Make sure you bring an umbrella with you, as it tends to drizzle (they call it “crachat breton”) quite a bit there.

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Les 2 Alpes – everything about this ski village and station is amazing! Unlike most Intrawest or big ski stations, Les 2 Alpes has kept the old school small village feel. It’s not too loud and too touristy. Though there are people that ski there from all over Europe, the people it attracts are a little older or families. That said, there are really cool bars in the small town, local wine and cheese producers, markets, a small cinema, amazing restaurants and all the ski equipment your heart desires! The daily lift ticket is 42 Euros and includes insurance in case you get hurt or something happens, which is incredibly cheap for such a huge resort as compared to lift tickets here.  Recommendation: Stay an extra day to go hiking in the mountains beside the village, it’s breathtaking. Also, you can ski at Les 2 Alpes almost all-year-round. In the summer, you can ski on top of the glacier and then go golfing or swimming in the nearby lake. Sounds dreamy!

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Stay tuned for Pt 2 of my France travel blog featuring some of my favorite places to eat and shop in France. Coming soon!!

 

 

Purple & Grey #DailyOutfit

Best tweet read this morning: “Wow, I love Mondays. Said no one ever.” This couldn’t be truer! Mondays are always so hard, no matter where you work! I think the cold weather is also making me want to hibernate even more.

I’m staying motivated knowing that I have an amazing trip coming up in just over a month. In December, I get to go back to France for over two and a half weeks. I’ve always loved going to France and seeing my family but now my trips are even more special since I have a French boyfriend. On this upcoming trip, we’ll be going to Paris, Bretagne, Lyon and Les 2 Alpes. Can’t wait to celebrate the holidays over there! So exciting!! I will be blogging about our trip while we’re there and upon my return. Stay tuned!

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I also can’t wait to go shopping in Paris again. Any new shop recommendations? Looking forward to adding unique Parisian pieces to closet again this year. The long sleeve shirt I’m wearing today, is one I got on the Champs Élysées last year. I love the faux leather shoulder pads!

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Zara long sleeve shoulder pad shirt

Biko Jewellery Kyma Neckkace (get it here)

Forever 21 accordeon pleated purple skirt (similar one here)

Urban Outfitters knee high socks

Helloberry mini smoothie bracelet (get them here)

Bing Bang Wanderlust cuff (get it here)

Vanessa Mooney Little Ways Gold Bracelet (get it here)

Biko black chainmaille bracelet (get it here)

Zara laced ankle boots with block heel (get them here)

Coups de coeur – France

Happy New Year everyone!! Wishing you a magical 2013! Today, I decided to do a little blog post of some of my favorite things from my recent trip to France.

1 – Le Marais, Paris.

Le Marais is a great area located in the 3rd and 4th districts in Paris. It’s an area filled with lot’s of little shops, local designers (The Kooples, American Retro, etc.) cool cafés, bistros and restaurants. I spent lot’s of my time in Paris walking around and hanging out in Le Marais.  I definitely recommend it for all of those who are looking for a cool and hip area to spend time in.

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2 – Springsioux

Springsioux is a Paris-based jewelry, clothing and accessory brand run by two rad young entrepreneurs. I love Springsioux for its perfect blend between rock n’ roll and elegant pieces. Nikki Sixx, Bradley Soileau and other celebrities have been spotted with some Springsioux swag.  I’m the lucky owner of a Lady Muerte ring from their most recent collection. I absolutely love it! I know this is just the beginning for Springsioux!

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3 – L’Épicerie, Lyon

I spent a few days in Lyon while I was a France. For those who don’t know, Lyon is renown around the world for their culinary excellence. I definitely didn’t go hungry in that city! My favorite little restaurant is a little bistro recommended by @offneraurelien in the Bellecour area called L’Épicerie. The concept of the bistro – to serve tartines, which is basically toast with toppings on it. It may sound plain but I assure you that the restaurant was anything but plain. Their food is cheap, tasty and creative. They also have delicious homemade desserts.

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4 – Le Cellier, Les 2 Alpes

I was lucky enough to have the chance to go skiing in the Alps during my stay in France. While at Les 2 Alpes, I was also introduced to a delicious raclette restaurant called Le Cellier.  I love the little chalet-style decorations, wood stove and delicious comfort food. For those who don’t know what raclette is, it’s a Swiss dish based on heating the cheese and scraping off (racler) the melted part onto either meat or veggies.

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These were just some of my “coups de coeur” from my recent France trip. I sincerely hope you will also have the chance to visit France one day or return if you’ve been there before.  Traveling is one of my favorite things to do. I love learning about other cultures, meeting new people and opening myself up to the rest of the world. It’s through traveling that I’ve met some of my best friends and made some of my longest lasting memories.

Wishing you all a wonderful 2013 filled with tons of travels!

Much love,

Mel xo