‘This is the France you dream of’: readers’ favourite travel discoveries

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Medieval villages, secret alleyways and Charles de Gaulle’s retreat are just some of our tipsters’ French finds

Climbing towards the basilica from the river, we explored a zigzag of secret staircases and hidden courtyards in Lyon. These traboules are hard to follow, and so we had to look out for the metal plates that mark some of the entrances. There’s almost no direct way up from the river, but these routes, originally for the city’s silk workers, reveal charming back streets and private courtyards, into which visitors can stare. At the top, breathless, we loved the Basilique Nôtre-Dame de Fourvière. In the crypt we made another exciting discovery: a huge mosaic of the sea battle of Lepanto, a site we’d recently visited in Greece.
David Innes-Wilkin

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