Fri 6 Dec - Lyon, France

Lyon à pied... (Meaning "Lyon by foot")... And LOTS of photos again, sorry.

With all the good planning last night today's activity was an easy choice - seeing Lyon by foot - but first breakfast.

Hans was having a combination of French and Aussie breakfast, with Weetabix to start followed by "toast" and jam provided by our hosts, Francois and Martine. The toast came out of a packet and was very cute little slices, which Di thought tasted good with Vegemite.

Le Monde newspaper was waiting for us (too bad our French is not up to this standard) but we enjoyed the experience.

This message on the side of the "toast" packet caught our outlines a balanced and gourmet French breakfast; including 3 or 4 Biscottes (the mini toast), butter, jam, a large cup of coffee, natural yoghurt and a kiwi fruit.

From the moment we arrived these fabulous Russian dolls made us laugh. Very clever. A momento from Moscow Martine said.

We took a few photos around our temporary home, with this being the entry hall. As Lise (Francois and Martine's daughter) was in Australia for a year there were lots of small pieces of evidence of her stay there around their home including the typical kangaroo road sign in the window.

Other momentous from their travel were a large number of USA car number plates.

The very elegant front door. This apartment building dates from 1870's and is very grand with high ceilings.

Looking down the stairs to the entry way, which looks large enough for carriage and horses to pass through, which we suspect that they once did.

The view into Place Lyautey from the lounge room window. The Rhône river in on the left and the hill in the distance is Croix Rousse to where we would walk later today.

Looking back towards their pink apartment building from the Place.

And we were on our way.

Here is how we walked, loosely following a self guided map in a book borrowed from Francois and Martine.

The predicted rain was holding off, except for some occasional very light rain, and we made the most of it.

First across this pedestrian bridge over the Rhône, to the Island between the Rhône and Saône rivers which forms the central part of Lyon. The bridge bounced a little as you walked and we needed this "selfie" before we had even walked 1km.

A lovely view from the bridge to the south along the Rhône.

As we headed towards the opéra we found a map of where the illuminations will feature for the fête that opens tonight and we stumbled onto quite a lot of setting up and installments (not yet lit) as we walked today.

Our first experience - pencils floating on the Rhône. We assume they will light up and look very cool. Well, they looked cool during the day too.

A small lane passed underneath an old school on the island and they seem to have their own Bridge of Sighs.

The Place behind Hôtel de Ville and in front of opéra was a hive of activity so we moved onto our mapped walk up the hill to Croix-Rousse.

Thanks to Wikipedia (as Di's French could not cope with much in the guidebook) we learned that this area was the centre of silk manufacture in Europe in the 18th century and was named after a russet colored stone cross out here by the Christians.

Francois told us that the area reminded him of Montmartre is Paris, an old hill settlement with small windy streets. We can see why. You definitely climb a hill and it many of the older buildings have been left "as is" or even decorated with street art, like Berlin. We liked that it was not all glamourous, liked this Tabac corner store.

We saw some good street art along the way and had to have fun with this doorway entrance - the right hand side was for Hans...

And the left hand side was for...Hans too!

Our route took us above one Roman amphitheater (Lyon has it was once the Roman capital of Gaul).

The remains of the theatre looked amazing for nearly 2000 years old but we assumed the purple boxes are part of the illuminations not something the Romans ever did for us... At moments like these Monty Python got quoted a lot.

The views from the up on the hill down on Lyon are great.

Di was the keeper of book and map reader. Not lost, we hope?

A race up? Hans was trying to cheat with a head start (not that he needed it, as Di plodded behind as usual). The church, called Bonne Pasteur, on the left appeared abandoned.

Closer to the top of the hill street art seemed to be replaced by pointless graffiti tagging and this message stood out (Di got some of it but Martine translated correctly) as a statement that "creativity does not think about whether it is or is not art" and some wise ass had then corrected the French language used.

Very funny and very French.

A piece of street art stood out and we joked about it reminding Hans of an old Swedish friend who likes his beer and wine.

A cute children's playground, nope correct that, a cat's playground at the top of the hill.

The mapped walk started heading downhill towards the Saône river. The "no entry" sign has been cleverly adjusted by an artist. We saw his/her work in Paris too.

At the top of Parc Sutter were views over the rooftops towards the southwest of Fourvier cathédrale and radio tower.

We visited this cathedral last time we visited Lyon in 2006 and it is visible from many parts of the city, including Place Lyautey.

Looking southeast over the city's oldest districts, arrondissements 1 and 2.

A quick map check to confirm we knew qhere we were, not that we ever mind getting lost in places as interesting as Lyon. The Saône on the left and Rhône on the right so all clear on where to next. Or is it the other way around...?

And a quick loo break in an automatic, self cleaning toilet on the pavement near the park. The blue light indicates "wash mode" and when the door reopens a minute or so later it's all wet but definitely clean. And it's free...

Down the hill to the bank of the Soàne and we started looking for a cafe for a break.

This building looked great but you may see that it is not a real cafe, just a permanently painted on facade of famous Lyon faces at windows on various levels. The art work was very good and as expected this facade will be used as part of illuminations tonight.

Di was thrilled to spot Paul Bocuse at ground level. He's a famous French chef, known as the father of Nouvelle Cuisine and who's name is used for a prestigious chef's competition and award called the Bocuse D'Or.

Gastronomic delights in Lyon - Di was grinning from ear to ear despite the rain starting.

The overall painted facade.

We moved on to find a cafe, but not this one, where this guy seemed to be the only customer.

A break for coffee and tea at a Boulangerie cafe was well deserved.

This is the square where the cafe was. Very charming and more light installations were set up here.

On moving outside again we came across the council office of the 1st arrondissement and found a new thing for us - public announcements of marriages.

An artistic display of... CDs. We assumed that this was part of the festival and would probably glitter later on during the night.

Lyon streetscape.

Back in the centre part of Lyon. A selfie at Place des Terraux with the great fountain, but we are not sure what the fountain and statue are called.

Hotel de Ville (or Town Hall) of Lyon.

Also off Place des Terraux is School of Fine Art, which a lovely open and grassed courtyard in the middle. We had to check it out.

And yes, it looked lovely inside.

Moving on, we saw this nativity scene inside a shop front. Nobody was there, it was closed, but the lights were on. Hans wondered quietly who was paying for it as there was no obvious way of getting some revenue from it.

It may not be visible in the picture but the shop with the red lantern (a giveaway perhaps...) is also called the "Love Shop". Where in Lyon were we?

Place Bellecour is clearly a tourist attraction judging by tourist and hop on/hop off buses and, for the Christmas season only, a big Ferris wheel.

Obviously, a place like that would form part of the Festival of Light, however, it did not seem to be our thing so we quickly continued south... some quite expensive Christmas markets at Place Carnot in front of Gare Perrache, the other main railway station in Lyon.

We walked across Gare Perrache through to the other northern side. This is looking back at the station complex...

At this point, we decided to get onto a tram 2 stations to Montrochet. Our destination was the Apple store inside a very new shopping complex referred to, we think, as the Confluence based on its geographical location at the southern tip of the island and between the two rivers Rhône and Saône.

The Confluence shopping complex reminded us of similar revitalized urban areas near water like Docklands in London and Melbourne and Darling Harbour in Sydney. This looked much better than most others and had decorations like these.

All good very soon as the Apple store enabled Di to set up her new mail account (long story, has to do with a software bug and port number), so we then decided to take the lift up the eateries on the 2nd floor of the complex.

And yes, in a very unFrench way, we had Mexican food in a place that reminded us of the Chipotle chain in the US. Quite nice.

After this, we decided to head back home via the tram and then walked the last distance back to Place Lyautey.

On the way we saw this and just shook our heads - Ayers Rock pub on a boat in a river in France? We figure it was an Aussie pulling someone's leg.

We had some quiet time at home for a few hours as Martine and Francois arrived home from work and needed to do some domestic things so we blogged and chatted.

Martine cooked a great meal and again we liked the combination of bread, cheese and home made apple tarte. Delicious and a lovely relaxing meal with good company.

Just after 9pm we headed out to see "fêtes des lumières", the famous Lyon tradition that started after a plaque in the 1600's where they prayed for the city to be spared, and it was, so the church and people held a candle vigil. People continued the tradition with candles in their windows on 8 December each year, but for the last 30 years it is supplemented by a 4 day light show, like Vivid in Sydney, which started today.

Runkeeper tracking was on, but the GPS points look a bit dodgy as we were inside a road tunnel for a while and there was a lot of stop / start.

Our first stop was a brand new tunnel that has been built for buses, pedestrians and bikes, which opened just last week.

The tunnel is 1,7km long as you probably can figure out from this photo and spans the island between the two rivers. We turned around just about here as most of the light action was around Rhone.

A few light shots from inside the tunnel...




We exited the tunnel and wandered south a block in from the Rhone. Lights, lights, lights...

The key action was around Place des Terraux, the Museum of Fine Art and Hotel de Ville and getting into the square was tightly controlled through a limited number of entry points. In fact, we could only see one but there must have been more than that. Of course it was a bottle neck and very crowded.

But once you were on Place des Terraux, there was ample space to watch the light projections. This is the facade of the Museum of Fine Art.

A selfie... Wait, how's that to the right? Not Indiana Jones aka Junior is it? Of course not, it's Francois in his Indiana Jones hat that he bought at Universal Studios in Los Angeles. Suits him quite well...

Projected images on Hotel de Ville.

We moved on to Saône river a little bit further south and Fourvier cathedral played a role in the light display, to the music from "Lawrence of Arabia".

This is the Court of Appeals building which...

... teamed up with Fourvier cathedral with coordinated colors. Very effective.

Lise and Greg were due in Lyon at midnight and Francois and Martine were going to pick them up at Gare Part Dieu train station. As we had lingered at the fêtes, Francois and Martine were running a bit tight on time and we had to move a bit faster back home, but not before a quick photo of the two of them together with Di.

We went up to the apartment and waited for Lise to arrive with her parents which they did not long after midnight. Greg was staying with his parents as he is also from Lyon.

Since we all were a bit tired, none were up long after this and we say good night from another, albeit temporary, city of light.


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