Travels with Boog in the Monts d'Or
At Auchan (the French Wal-Mart, more or less) the other day I found a book titled 40 Walks Near Lyon... except in French of course. Of these only two are reachable via public transportation, unfortunately, but with a long weekend and some really nice weather, Boog and I set out on Sunday to go kick around the Monts d'Or, just north of town and just within reach of the bus system. It was as pleasant a ride on a public bus as I can recall, 7 or 8 miles north of town along the right bank of the Saone, past farms and rowing clubs and riverside cafes and small towns, to the village of St.-Romain-aux-Mont-d'Or. It's really just some stone houses around a village square next to the river, with some sunken lanes (see pic) leading steeply up to farms and villas clinging to terraces on the hillside.
We hiked around for several hours, easily the farthest I've ever hiked with Boog under his own power, up the mountainside and back down, with a break in a grassy meadow for a brief siesta and a juicebox. It was the first time since we've been here that we've really been out of town, and it was nice to be out among trees and forest, even if there's no place in France one would really call wilderness. Here are a few pictures.
The sign says (approximately): "Salamander breeding ground: Do not disturb them!" It was over a stone cistern--helpfully dated 1895-- where a spring trickled from a hillside. Sure enough, it had salamanders in it.
This is looking back across the valley of the Saone. Mountains in the distance are the Jura, not the Alps, since this is facing northeast. Tall buildings in the right distance are apartment blocks in the Lyon suburb of Caluire.
The smudge in the left foreground is Boog's noseprint.
I don't even know what this is a picture of... chateau, train station? This was on the way back into St. Romain, where the trail popped out of the woods above some expensive-looking houses.