Tales on Rail: Day 6 – City Tour of Narbonne & Train to Dijon (via Lyon)


After a good nights sleep, we had a quick breakfast at our hotel, the Appart City Narbonne, and then met up with Marion, our guide from the Narbonne Tourist Office. It was nice and sunny out today, making it a perfect day to walk through the city. Narbonne was very charming. It has that smaller French style city feel that I have been looking forward to spending time in.

A Beautiful Day For Sightseeing in Narbonne, France

Tales on Rail Narbonne
Rail Europe staff with Marion from Narbonne Tourist Office, in Narbonne, France

We walked to the Canal de la Robine, classed as a UNESCO world heritage site. The views of and from the canal were beautiful. It was a big open area surrounded by gorgeous trees and buildings. Right next to the canal was the Market Hall. It smelled so good walking in and was full of everything from fresh produce to meats and cheeses, wines and products such as soaps. The colors of the foods were so vibrant, we had a great time checking out all of the stands. The fresh fruit was so tasty, we had some strawberries and they may have been some of the best I’ve had. It makes me want to eat everything fresh!

Tales on Rail Narbonne
The Market Hall in Narbonne, filled with fresh fruits, grains, spices & more

After this, we went to the Lapidary Museum, housed in the former Church of Notre Dame de Lamourguier. I was stunned when I walked inside. The Church itself was gorgeous and it housed a huge collection of stone blocks, most originating from Roman grave monuments. We also had a chance to walk through the Narbonne Cathedral, which was definitely something to see as well. The whole city, well the parts that we got to see, were just amazing. Apparently it is only a short distance to get to the countryside where you can find beautiful landscapes, wineries and even the beach! Another city for me to add to my list of places I want visit again.

Tales on Rail Narbonne
Church of Notre Dame de Lamourguier, Narbonne, France

After our tour, we stopped back at the hotel to pick up our luggage and then headed to the Narbonne Train Station. The platforms were very easy to navigate, and it was great that an image of the train arriving is displayed and tells you where to stand and wait depending on what coach (car) your seat is in.

Hop On-Board the TGV to Lyon!

Our next destination was Dijon! We first took a TGV train headed for the Lyon Part-Dieu Station. The TGV train was nice with plenty of space at the seats. However, a few people in our group were looking for outlets to charge cameras and we couldn’t find any. This may be the first train we didn’t have that capability on. The scenery on the ride was gorgeous. We could even see the Alps in the distance.

Tales on Rail TGV
Views from the TGV high-speed train traveling from Narbonne to Lyon

Since we didn’t have time to grab lunch at the station, we got some sandwiches right on the train which were actually really good. Prior to my arrival in Europe, I wasn’t completely sold on the fact that you could get a great tasting meal on a train, however, after the meals I’ve had on-board various trains, I’m happy to admit that I have been proven otherwise!

Traveling by TER train from Lyon to Dijon

Tales on Rail France
TER train 6-seat 1st Class Compartment traveling from Lyon to Dijon, France

We reached the Lyon Part-Dieu Station about 10 minutes later than the scheduled arrival, this meant that we only had about 15 minutes to get to our next train. We made it to the next platform just in time and boarded the TER train to Dijon. On this train, first class was divided into separate compartments, each containing 6 seats. I found these compartments very comfortable, with a small table and overhead storage space for luggage. The interior appeared to be slightly outdated compared to some of the other trains we’ve traveled on, but that’s just aesthetics. Overall, I have nothing bad to say about our travels on the TER train. We again had some beautiful views on the journey, and even got to see a full rainbow, it was very serene.

Tales on Rail Dijon
Dijon Ville Train Station in Dijon France

When we arrived at the Dijon Ville Train Station, one of my colleagues realized that she had left her backpack on the train we just got off of. We had just met up with Valerie from the Dijon Tourist Office, who took my colleague into the station to fill out a lost item form at the information desk. It’s never a good situation when something gets left behind, but we were quite relieved to learn that my colleague had her passport and all other important documents  & necessities with her. And hopefully her backpack will be recovered and returned to her shortly.

New Dining Experiences in Dijon

We walked to the Hotel Ibis Styles Dijon Central. The hotel was very nice, but I’ve noticed in France that we can only fit 2-3 people in the elevator at a time, so we took turns! We arrived at our rooms and got ready for dinner.  We walked to dinner, with Valerie, at the La Dame d’Aquitaine.  The restaurant was amazing, we had the opportunity to sample several local wines, which were all delicious. Valerie showed us maps illustrating the different regions the wines come from, along with the vineyards that you can easily reach from Dijon.

Tales on Rail Dijon
Teresa trying Escargot, for the very first time at La Dame d’Aquitaine, Dijon France

I have never tried escargot before, so I figured that being in France was the perfect time to try it for the first time. I had that as my appetizer and I was delighted that I found it so delicious! The garlic and seasoning it was cooked in will leave a lasting impression on my palette. For my main course, I had a filet of trout with aligoté, and for dessert a ginger bread ice cream. This meal was incredible, and everything everyone else got looked just as amazing as my mine.

I am sad to say that tomorrow is my last full day in Europe. But, we get to spend the morning in Dijon, which seems to be such a wonderful city, and the the rest of the day in Paris – so I have a feeling it will be the perfect ending to an incredible first trip to Europe.

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