We arrived in Lyon and walked to our hostel, the Auberge de Jeunesse. It was pretty nice…I guess…for a Hostel…the only problem was that it was by a fairly busy street, so we had a hard time falling asleep that night. After we settled into our rooms, we took a “tour of the city” (that is the title our professor gave) which began with some roman ruins. The most prominent part of which was a large amphitheatre, that is still used for play performances and concerts during the summer.
The "bleachers" were made completely of stone! It was so cool.
We continued our tour with the Basilica in Vieux Lyon. It was so beautiful! We spent some time inside the church, and when we left the building, the sun was beginning to set. The light on the Basilica was so gorgeous. We also got a great view of the city, because the Basilica is situated on a hill that looks over the whole city.
In french, Basilica is "Basilique"...when you say this with a french accent, it sounds like Basilisk...yes, another Harry Potter reference :)
I love this picture :)
- The building with the rounded roof is the Opera House
After visiting the Basilica, we walked through the city a bit more before we were able to eat dinner. We walked through some allies that went between apartment buildings, but the cool thing was that they were only open to the sky at the center of the buildings. In the middle, there were pretty courtyards with some doors into apartments.
- I loved this front door…it was in an alleyway…the cleanest allyway I have ever seen!
We ate at a traditional Lyonnaise restaurant and had foods that were Lyon specialties. We were actually able to choose from a few choices, which has not happened a lot because there are so many of us. Usually we all get the same meals to make cooking easier for the chef. I got a “salade Lyonnaise” for my first course, salmon and green beans for my second course, and Panna Cotta for dessert! Unfortunately, I forgot to take a picture of the dessert until I had eaten half of it! It was too good to resist :)
Yum...my favorite part was the poached egg!
This was the best salmon I have ever had.
Half eaten Panna Cotta...not so pretty...
Dinner took us almost three hours to complete, so we went back to the Auberge after we finished. As noted before, we didn’t sleep very well due to the rowdy crowds and traffic outside our open windows. Why not close our windows, you ask? A very logical question…but it was so stuffy in our room that most of us couldn’t bear the night without a breeze.
The next morning, we ate baguette and nutella for breakfast and went off to visit some museums. We got to the first museum before it opened, so we went for a little walk and discovered an antique market! We had so much fun walking around looking at the old books, china, silverware (real silver!), and lace dresses. We found the cutest baptism gowns, and I almost though of buying one (who wouldn’t want their child to get baptised in an antique, lace, FRENCH gown) until I saw the price… 98 euros. I kid you not, this dress was 98 euros.
- Antique Market
When we had finished browsing, we went back to our first museum: Musée des Miniatures et décors de Cinéma (I don’t think you will need a translation for this one…) The first couple floors were dedicated to props and decor that had been used in famous movies throughout the past couple decades. There were props from Zorro, Batman, The Chronicles of Narnia, Mission Impossible, X Files, and many more! It was very cool to see what things actually look like, I was surprised to see how many of the swords and weapons used were actually rubber (like Zorro’s sword!)
This is one of the two hundred Minotaur masks that were used in the Chronicles of Narnia! So cool!
This is the gun that was used by Tom Cruise in Mission Impossible 3!
- My personal favorite, a raven from Harry Potter!
The second museum we visited didn’t allow us to take pictures, but I wish we could have! It was dedicated to the history of silk making, which was apparently very important in the Lyon area of France. There were many different kinds of silk material and clothing, as well as oriental rugs that were made of silk products. My favorite part of the museum was the exhibition on clothing from the renaissance era. The dresses were so beautiful! I am pretty sure that the best part of our visit happened at the beggining…we walked into the museum and the person at the desk talked to us in french. I know this seems insignificant, but immediately after we were done, he started talking to a different group in english…he didnt even try french with them. What does this mean? We didn’t look like Americans to him!
After we finished our morning of museums, we decided to do a little shopping…I actually didn’t plan on buying anything. Note: Never go shopping in France if you don’t plan on buying anything. It wont work. I ended up getting a cute sweater (not another one, I know) and a skirt! Oops…so much for not spending anything on clothes until Paris…
That evening, my friends and I went to see a play. None of us were sure what the play would be about, but we knew that it was based on the poetry of Arther Rimbaud. Some of the other students from Calvin had studied some of his poems in the French Literature class at Calvin and though that it would be pretty interesting. We went to the theatre at 6:30 to get our tickets, and had planned on eating at a restaurant in the remaining two hours before the play started. Unfortunately, we had forgotten the golden rule for french restaurants: The don’t open until at least 7 pm for dinner. Also, we were unfortunate enough to be at a theatre that was “off the beaten path” for tourists, so the restaurants in the surrounding area didn’t open until 8 due to the fact that only local people usually ate there. At this point, it was nearing 7 pm, it had started to rain, and we could not find anywhere to eat. We walked around for at least a half hour before we found a miracle: a small bistro was open before 7. Sadly, it was also a bit more expensive that we had hoped to spend…but as it was our only choice, we suffered through our mushroom risotto and chocolate “moelleux.” It actually turned out to be one of our favorite meals so far!
Our free appetizer was olive tamponade!
Moelleux au Chocolat with raspberry sorbet :)
We quickly ate our meal and barely made it back to the theatre before the play began. It was very bizarre, as most french performances are, but it was also very interesting. There were only three actors and two musicians in the whole performance, and the three actors were all playing a different “part” of the poet Rimbaud. It was (I think) an interpretation of his poems…and even though I didn’t understand most of it, I was able to get the general idea from my friends who had studied his poetry before.
On sunday morning, a group of students (including me) went to Mass at the Basilica. It was really cool to hear Mass in French, and I actually was able to follow what was going on! After Mass had finished, we went off to find somewhere warm…it was really cold and rainy on both saturday and sunday. We ended up in a small cafe, where we got hot chocolate and croissants. I am just going to note that my friends and I agreed that sunday was a “struggle” for me. I pretty much lost all sense of coordination for twenty-four hours. The struggle began here…I was wearing my brand new sweater when I spilled at least 3/4 of my hot chocolate on the table and myself. Yes. I was completely embarrassed, but the worst part was that the people working at the cafe completely ignored my spill! They just kept taking orders and walked right by…I don’t know about you, but I am pretty sure that I have spilled something before, and right away there is someone there with a towel or something…but oh well. We went back to the hostel, and I changed into something a little less wet and sticky.
After that little adventure, I wanted to go and find a building that my dad had told me about. He was reading one of his (many) architecture magazines the other day, and discovered “the orange cube.” It was just recently built in the more modern area of Lyon, and he thought it would be cool to see. Being and architects daughter, I was actually very keen on finding this building. Thankfully, I had some friends who were willing to sacrifice their last afternoon in Lyon to look at a building. (Actually, I gave them many opportunities to say that they didn’t want to go, so it must not have been that much of a sacrifice :) )
We took the tram out to the general location of the building and began our search. I need to note that we were searching for this building in the rain. So right about now, I am feeling very guilty for making my friends come on this search. I had the address of the building that I had found on the internet, so we were pretty confident in where the building was. A half hour later…we were not so confident. The supposed street address did not exist (so we thought) because the road ended at number 25…we were looking for number 42. We started wandering around until we asked a man if he knew where a big orange building was…have you ever tried to ask a stranger that? It is pretty random…but so was his response:
Jessica: excuse me, sir…but are you familiar with a big orange building in this area?
The man: Um…orange? are you sure it’s not purple? (WHAT? where did that come from…)
Jess: No, I am pretty sure it is orange…
He actually knew where it was, so we took his directions and we found it! I was so excited when I found it that I started jumping up and down…it was at that point that a car driving down the road stopped and a guy pulled out his camera to talk a picture of us….yeah. Anyways…we made it, and here is “the orange cube!”
It was so cool...
After we had finished at the cube, we went back into “Vieux” Lyon for lunch. Due to the fact that we spent so much on dinner the previous night, we ate crepes from a street vender…they were so delicious…and messy. My ham and cheese would not stop oozing out of the thing crepe walls.
We left our hostel for the train station around 4, and we took the train back to Grenoble. The train was so busy, and I almost didn’t find a seat, but I found one next to a couple of strangers :)
I am so excited, because I must really look like a native grenobloise…when I was switching from the tram to my bus, I was stopped by a frantic student trying to find a certain street. Sadly, I didn’t know where it was… but the only thing that matters is that she stopped me rather than the other people who were getting off the tram. Yay! I am now officially able to say that I can pull off looking like a french student.
Wow…this post is now 2089 words. I think I should stop now!!