Alpine rivers, quaint hamlets, wooden chalets and bridges, a riot of blooms and colours against the backdrop of Europe's highest mountain and the Skiing Capital of the world - just the beginning of the magnificent beauty that is the Rhone Alps region in France. The site of the first Winter Olympics in 1924, picture postcard towns like Chamonix make for the most sought-after skiing grounds in the world, leading up to the adrenaline-pumping thrills of the vast snowfields that are the gateway to the French Alps, to the majestic peaks of Mont Blanc and Matterhorn and to some of the most delectable local cuisine which is quintessentially French, yet with undeniable Italian and Swiss influences (since Chamonix is near the junction of France, Switzerland and Italy). Lush chocolate creations, extravagant cheesy delights - as the dizzying altitudes sting your cheeks pink with excitement, immerse yourself in the sin and sweetness of this piece of heaven on earth.
After a thrilling cable car ride to gaze at the scenic extravagance of endless vistas of frozen lakes, ice fields and faraway glaciers, take a short trek up blueberry dotted mountains, to the warm hospitality of the Refuge Le Plan de L'Aiguille. A quaint little mountain hut tucked into the French Alps, this lovely place with its red roof and white walls has a breathtaking sit-out overlooking endless mountains and valleys.
Lush white fur throws and deep cushioned chairs, beg you to snuggle into them should you choose to sit outside and simply get lost in the beauty of your surroundings. Step inside and a lavish feast helmed by Chef Philippe Convers, to warm your heart and soul awaits you.
There are chocolate shops and then there is Petits Gourmands - the definition of chocolate extravaganza. The finest, most luxurious chocolates piled high in flowing stacks, whimsical chocolate figurines of animals and children, beautifully wrapped boxes of jewel-hued macaroons, Petits Gourmands is every chocoholics' living dream.
Notable amongst the exclusive chocolates available only here, is the Le 4810 range of chocolates - named so after Mont Blanc which has an altitude of 4810 metres and which are shaped like the famous peak.
Le Bistrot is the elegantly striking fine dining restaurant at the Hotel Morgane in Chamonix and the delectable food here is courtesy the creativity and inspiration of its Head Chef, Daniele Raimondi. Some of his specialties include Trout filet on a bed of roasted vegetables with Orange-Butter Sauce and an unforgettable dessert of Pumpkin Pie with Dark Chocolate Sorbet and a Dark Chocolate Edible Spoon.
In the center of Chamonix, the boutique hotel Le Morgane differs from traditional alpine hotels with its unique personality. A snug, cozy ambience and very contemporary design aesthetics, combining raw forms, mineral materials from the high mountains, soft lights and comfortable chairs, combine to create a premium and very luxurious stay.
Le Morgane also boasts of impeccable and quality service, a fabulous fine dining restaurant headed by the acclaimed young chef, Daniele Raimondi and a deluxe spa with relaxation pool and hammam. All rooms feature a balcony, allowing guests to enjoy the breathtaking mountain views.
Lyon, a city in France's historical Rhone-Alpes region, sits at the junction of the Rhone and Saone rivers. Its centre reflects 2,000 years of history, with the Roman Amphitheatre des Trois Gaules, medieval and Renaissance architecture in Vieux Lyon (Old Lyon), and the modern Confluence district on the Presqu'ile peninsula. Traboules, covered passageways between buildings, connect Vieux Lyon and La Croix-Rousse hill.
With a history dating back to ancient Roman times, Lyon has earned a place on the UNESCO World Heritage list. The city boasts France's oldest ancient ruins, medieval quarters, and fine Renaissance houses. The atmospheric neighborhoods found along the Rhone and Saone Rivers reflect the city's rich heritage. The Quartier Saint-Jean and Colline Croix-Rousse districts have an enchanting Old World character, while the Presqu'ile exemplifies 19th-century elegance.
France is a country, renowned for its gastronomic extravagances and culinary supremacy. Since Lyon is popularly known as the 'Food Capital of France', you can be sure that this quaintly charming city, richly lives up to its culinary renown and heritage. The legendary Lyonnais gastronomy can be enjoyed all over Lyon at "bouchons," which are evocative little brasseries and there are more than a few world-class Michelin starred restaurants that do Lyon, proud. Foremost amongst these is the renowned Paul Bocuse Restaurant, widely considered to be the best restaurant in France. Paul Bocuse is one of France's most legendary chefs and has held onto his coveted three Michelin stars since 1965.
Trendy, chic yet cosy L'Institution has been a culinary landmark in Lyon for over 150 years. Decorated by the famed Jacques Garcia, this iconic restaurant is an explosive experience of flamboyant 19th Century opulence, mingling with contemporary art with the food being the highlight of the experience. Unexpected taste combinations, bold flavours, exquisite presentation - the food at L'Institution combines old-school French gastronomy with an exciting contemporary twist.
Chef Patrice Gaspard, who brings his ingenuous creativity as Head Chef of L'Institution presented 2 of the restaurant's most iconic dishes, to Shipra Khanna.
A trendy, exclusive cocktail bar with opulent interiors boasting of a gleaming brass bar, quilted red pillars, studded tables and dripping chandeliers, Le Comptoir de la Bourse is the last word in cocktails with a difference. Choose from the dozens and dozens of rums, whiskys and liqueurs or let the experienced bartenders tempt you into trying one of their famous cocktails - a fresh Jalisco Pimento (Patron Silver, St-Germain, lime and a vanilla-Champagne syrup), or an Apothecary Sour (Beefeater, Aperol, grapefruit and lemon, basil-rosemary tonic, vanilla liqueur and egg whites) or their What's up Doc'? (carrot, orange, lemon, ginger cordial and a vanilla-lavender syrup). There is also an elegant array of canapes on offer from tasty morsels championing Foie Gras to a prime selection of charcuteries and cheeses and irresistible macaroons.
The beautiful city of Lyon has many culinary greats to boast of but none bigger than the legendary Chef Paul Bocuse. Les Halles Paul Bocuse, named after the great chef, is a massive indoor food market that also includes a multitude of eateries and patisseries. A buzzing and extremely popular place, you are assailed by a million sights, sounds and smells as you walk in. Stalls overflowing with the freshest, plumpest, juiciest fruits rub shoulders with piles of oysters, clams, mussels and other fresh seafood. Right next to them, the most stunningly pretty array of cakes, pastries and macaroons will call out to you to step in and pamper your sweet tooth even as the fragrant paella sizzling at the next stall, tempts you to stop for a bite.
From shops displaying every imaginable Persian meat and fruit to quintessentially French bistros, from Seafood Speciality restaurants to dainty cake shops - this unique place celebrates a fiesta of food and fun - music piping out from the various eateries, crowds of happy people laughing and chattering, buying food, eating gorgeous food and celebrating the abundance of gorgeous, fresh local produce and the variety of cuisine and culture. Immerse yourself in the distinct, local culture of Lyon with a visit to this bustling, lively food market.
Lyon Marriott Hotel Cite Internationale, is an upscale riverfront hotel within a 3-minute walk from both the Musee d'art contemporain de Lyon and the Centre de Congres de Lyon. Parc de la Tete d'Or, a quaint 19th-century park with statues, fountains and a lake, is also just a couple of kms away. The contemporary rooms feature lavish marble bathrooms and other luxury amenities to ensure a comfortable stay. Most rooms come with balconies and stunning views of the river.
Other amenities include complimentary breakfast, a casino, 'Zucca' - the casual restaurant with a terrace that is noted for its fine cuisine and delectable selection of cocktails and wines, as well as a gym and a ballroom.