One of the best things about travelling can be the anticipation. This week I have been doing some forward planning – some might say, excessive forward planning. I’m not looking ahead to a trip this spring, but instead to one in 2017.
You see, next year marks, well, let’s call it a significant birthday and leave it at that.
I toyed with a long weekend in Florence, but when I mentioned this to friends, they looked at me in bemusement. “What?” they asked. “You aren’t planning to spend your birthday in France?”
I could see their point.
In fairness, I hadn’t quite finished laying out the options. The two front runners were actually both French cities I haven’t been to yet: Lyon and Carcassonne.
Lyon, of course, is France’s gastronomic capital. For a foodie like me, its appeal is obvious. Some 15 of the city’s restaurants boast Michelin stars and there are said to be more than 4,000 within its boundaries.
It also topped a recent study by PricewaterhouseCoopers as France’s most attractive city.
Maybe Carcassonne wasn’t big enough to be included in the study? Nevertheless, it is a UNESCO World Heritage site and attracts more than 3 million visitors a year.
The fortified medieval walled city has a reputation for getting ridiculously busy in summer – some say, to the point where it loses some of its charm. My birthday’s at the end of March, so that shouldn’t be such an issue. A friend and fellow blogger reckons the city will have awoken from its winter slumber by then too. (Thank you for the advice, Gill.)
“The medieval walled city has a reputation for getting busy in summer. My birthday’s in March, so that shouldn’t be an issue”
Plus, I don’t know if Damon’s trying to sway my decision at all but he sent me a link last week to a five-star hotel in the remparts, the Hôtel de la Cité. In passing, he mentioned that it hosts La Barbacane, the only Michelin-starred restaurant in the citadel.
OK, decision made. The city where I will spend my birthday next year is… Carcassonne. Now, I had best carry on with the planning.