Lyon is the first French city I spent time in.
I’ve taken three trips–so far.
I felt comfortable from the first trip and more comfortable each subsequent trip. It is a place that encourages you to walk, eat well, and explore.
On many of our European trips, I was alone most days because Alex was working. Alone or with him, both ways were fine with me in this city. Walking around by myself was easy. With map in hand, there was little chance of getting lost.
Grand old hotels are the best
Our first night in the city we stayed at the Globe et Cecil, a grand old hotel that reminded me of New Orleans and women carrying parasols and wearing kid gloves. It’s located between the two rivers—the Rhone and the Saone. It’s a great location for exploring either direction. The room was eclectically decorated and I loved the shuttered full-length window with it’s tiny “balcony” space. It was to be one of our most vintage hotels of all our trips, so remains extra special to me.
Lyon has a huge shopping district, with stores tucked into centuries old buildings. In the states, we tear down old buildings and start over. In Europe, they made them pretty and to last in the first place, so they continually get repurposed.
Alex was able to get his much-loved Beignet—larger and more flavorful that what we’d tried in New Orleans. He’s wild for pastries, so this was delightful for him.
The unexpected is welcome
Wandering the streets one evening with a colleague, I was tasked with shoving a pie plate full of shaving cream into the face of a college student. The colleague explained that they do this when they are starting an advanced degree program as a way to earn money. You pay them and then get to Three Stooges the “pie.” I had the most difficult time actually doing this! Who knew it would be so much harder as an adult than when we were kids and brother and I would food fight?
We took a ferry, discovered an intricately designed, mind-boggling orange building, and were serenaded by a French Elvis. He was quite good even if his Elvis was a bit more country than the original.
We took the funicular up to the Notre Dame—another colleague explained that every city has a Notre Dame even though the famous one is in Paris. The church has two churches—a top one and a lower one. We couldn’t go in the top for some reason, but the lower one—my gosh it was beautiful.
Roaming more, we discovered Roman ruins! Before some trips, we read like mad about the area and make lists of things to do. For others, we plunge in and see what we can find. Discovering this grandly preserved Roman site was a marvelous surprise!
Look at this food—who thinks to design mashed potatoes? Oh, those French!
We love trains.
I. Love. Trains.
Have I made that clear yet? I could give up my car forever if we lived somewhere with proper trains and trolleys. I love trains. The station in Lyon is only a walk away from every hotel we stayed at and easy to navigate. The scarcity of elevators and escalators leads to smaller suitcases when traveling.
Our stay on the outskirts of Paris, near the Arc de Defense, was fine, but unmemorable except for a subway ride to the Eiffel Tower during which we got separated from each other…or thought we did, winding up on opposite ends of the same long subway car.
Lyon, however, is the place I want to visit again. I’d like to spend a week there just walking and exploring and seeing what I saw before and seeing all new sights. The city is lovely and inviting. The people are friendly and gracious, their default personality seems to be kindness. The food is delectable with every bite.
Lyon is infinitely repeatable.
When do you want to go?
Read: Then there’s coffee…