La Vie à Lyon

Living, learning and loving in Lyon !

What to write ?

Life in Lyon has been pretty, well, life-y ! We’ve just been cruising along -métro, boulot, dodo, as they say here – meaning commute, work, sleep ! For me, school’s cool (I’m already on autumn holidays…) and Sim’s been working like a crazy man in his new-ish job at Intersport. There hasn’t really been that much to write about – things aren’t so new anymore and the adventures are less frequent.

We’ve had a couple of misadventures, however – let me tell you about those !

It’s préfecture time again. Until 2016, I have to renew my titre de séjour anually. That means getting the birth certificate translated, getting some new mugshots, photocopying any letters even slightly official-looking (especially if they’re addressed to both of us) and hoping that the list of required documents hasn’t changed since last year. Once that’s done, it’s time to gear up for an early start and a few hours of waiting in the queue.

We usually arrive around 7 for an 8:30 opening time. We shuffle through the queue, get our ticket, take our seat, wait a few hours for a 10 minute meeting, get our receipt and go, grateful that we only have to do this once a year.

Turns out, 7 is no longer early enough. Nowhere near early enough. At 8:40, sill far from the door, we were greeted by a booming police officer with :

“Good morning ladies and gentlemen ! There are no more tickets for today ! There are no more tickets ! You’ll all have to come back another day ! Thank you !”


So we did – what else can we do ? Only we went a bit earlier, arrived at 6:30 – and gained about 2 metres in the queue ! We were greeted by the same police officer a few hours later, her speech word for word.


We're at the traffic light section of the queue. No chance !

We’re at the traffic light section of the queue. No chance !

We’re trying for the third time tomorrow. Aiming for an hour earlier; lining up at 5:30.

Third time lucky, right ?

Bisous !

Quack quack !

Remember this post ? Well, I spotto-ed a little exhibition by this artist, and took a look last week.


It’s small and bright, with pieces ranging from a collage to a two-metre high totem pole. The graffiti nature of the ducks is evident, with road signs and small slabs of concrete used as bases for a few of the works. If you want to grab a piece of Lyonnais street art, or just a few photos, t-shirts or badges, the exhibition in on until March 23 at U and I Gallery in the 2eme.

Bisous !


If you’re not sure what to offer someone for a special occasion, a Smartbox is an interesting take on the traditional voucher. Smartboxes are theme based, so you can give an adventure box, a relaxation box, a weekend away box…the list goes on.

The box has a booklet inside, which lists all the offers from participating organisations all over France. An adventure box, for example, might contain an offer for jetskiing in Nice, a drive in a race car in Le Mans or paragliding in the Alps. There are hundreds of things to choose from. The lucky recipient just has to decide and make the booking.

Our friends know me us so well, the ones we’ve received have always been in the gastronomie theme…

Bisous !

Happy New Year

Yes yes, it’s February (almost March !) but I did start writing this post in January – I promise ! I know it’s cliché, but I can’t believe how fast 2013 went. Here’s a little post about the year that was.

We welcomed 2013 in Grenoble with Seb and Clo, Ludo and Louise, and a rabbit named Mojitos. I started job hunting and was successful - I got a post teaching CE1 English, to start in March.

I was thrown in the deep end at school in February, filling in for the CE2 teacher who’d broken her ribs. I kept all my tutoring hours on top of my new work schedule and wound up run down with the flu, just in time for the holidays !

In March, we welcomed baby Luce into the world, and Sim became her godfather. I started teaching my own grade, and was flat out getting my classroom set up and routines in place. I moved all my tutoring sessions to Saturday, and really didn’t have much time for anything else !

In April I blew out 34 candles and had school holidays. We took a hot trip down South, and began the Parc de la Tête d’Or picnic season.

May was unseasonably cold, and we even had a tiny bit of snow on Clo’s hen’s day. I officially became a godmother at Léo’s bapteme, and made my French public speaking debut at the church. There were several public holidays, and Sim and I bid au revoir to Oullins and bonjour to Francheville.

In June, Mum and Dad came to visit. They stayed for a couple of weeks and they had fun at Seb and Clo’s wedding, in Nîmes, at the Fête de la Musique and at my school’s Fête de l’Ecole. School finished for the summer (just after our school camp), and Knacki came to live with us.

July was quiet and hot. We watched le Tour, and even went to see the riders pass by. We had many apéros on our little balcony, and many bottles of rosé were consumed !

August was more of the same. We spent a week house sitting in Rioz, and I spent four days in Paris with and old, dear friend.

The beginning of September was la rentrée, and school got off to good start. So good and so busy, in fact, that I stopped writing my blog ! My school hours were different (that means I did NOT continue supervising études after school !) and I spread my tutoring hours out during the week.

In October, one of my best friends came to visit and I showed off lovely Lyon. Sim and I had a mid week trip to Grenoble and Aix les Bains, and we also spent time in Rioz with the nephews.

November saw Lyon’s first (and – dare I say it – only) snow for the season, and we snuggled down. It was a quiet month, with the monotony of work being broken up with some fun birthday parties and dinners with friends and colleagues. We celebrated our 1 year PACS anniversary.

Lyon was a madhouse in December during the Fête des Lumières, which was beautiful as usual. The highlight though, was going home to Australia for two wonderful weeks ! I spent Christmas and New Year’s at the beach, with my family and friends. It’s been far too long since I’ve done that, and my New Year’s resolution is not to leave it so long between drinks again !

Bisous, and all the very best for 2014 !

Biking in Besançon

Don’t let the title of this post lead you astray. I’m not particularly sporty and I think it was the first time I’ve even been on a bike in France. When Sim and I house-sat for Pierrick and Nelly, we spent an afternoon in Besançon with cousine Laura and her family. After a picnic lunch by the Doubs River, we headed to a little bike rental shop on the Nantes – Budapest Véloroute (bike track). We were fitted out with bikes, Sim and I opting for good old pushies while the others went with the tandems.

We took off in the direction of Nantes, rolling along au bord the Doubs, passing through small villages and stickybeaking in the backyards. We had a few drink stops, a couple of tandem readjustment stops and an escargot farm stop.

PicMonkey Collage Véloroute 2

At the 11 km mark, we came to a river tunnel with a ‘waterfall’ and a couple of Mary shrines. We decided that this would be our halfway point – it was hot and we wanted to get back, have a few rosés and watch the swimming championships. We rested, entertained by watching a boat waiting for the ‘waterfall’ to be turned off so that it could pass through the tunnel.

PicMonkey Collage Véloroute 3

If you’re ever in Besançon, or indeed cycling from Nantes to Budapest (as you do !), stop in at Le Relais Vélo along the way.

Bisous !

There’s a camp ?

One of the downfalls with my replacing someone halfway through the school year was that things that had been organised with them were suddenly my responsibility. Which was fine – when people remembered to tell me on time !

So when it was casually mentioned a week beforehand that I would be heading off on the CE1/CE2 overnight camp during the last week of school, I frowned and asked if the kids knew about it – because I sure didn’t.

Turns out yes, yes they did. Since December. Alrighty then !

So we left Lyon bright and early on the Monday morning and headed south for our séjour in Provence. The kids were great on the bus, loaded up with their gadgets, and we rolled on down to Mornas in the Vaucluse region of France. Mornas is a small medieval town next to the autoroute and it has an excellent clifftop fortress. We visited the fortress with a ‘knight’ and learnt about defence, food, punishment and fighting in medieval times.

After a picnic lunch, we headed into town to do a medieval treasure hunt. The kids had a ball finding different bits and pieces around Mornas (me too !), and a sneaky history lesson was thrown in at the same time.

Next stop was the park for afternoon tea, then back on the bus to our home for the night – a holiday village in Vaison la Romaine. It was fabulous. I shared a 6 bedroom house with 12 giggling girls. The grounds were huge – these city-slicker kids went wild ! Even I did some handstands and cartwheels on the grass ! We had a great dinner, and made the most of the grounds and the long summer day – we packed the kids off to bed around 10 when it got dark.

Tuesday was spent at a circus training park, Parc Alexis Gruss. Alexis Gruss is an equestrian and circus director from way back; he (and his family) put on a very impressive day –  horse training, an educational show (in that they explained the training required between each act – no photos allowed, unfortunately), a picnic, a clown/magic show, a dog show, a horse show and, finally, the elephant’s shower.

Then it was home time. The trip back to Lyon was uneventful: the kids slept, scrounged the last of their lollies from the bottoms of their backpacks and enjoyed the novelty of the toilet on the bus. We got back safe and sound, albeit 90 minutes late (hey, it’s France, that’s how they roll) !

I originally thought, ‘Wow, isn’t there enough to do during that last week?’  but in hindsight, camp was a really nice way to finish off the school year.

And no, not just because the teachers can drink wine !

Bisous !

We love Rioz !

Sim and I (and Knacki !) spent last week in Rioz, in the Franche-Comté region of France. Rioz has a population of around 2000, and is one of our favourite places to go to escape the city, look at the stars and just breathe. It’s situated between two of the larger cities of Franche-Comté, Vesoul and Besançon. People who live there are called Riolais/e.

Sim’s brother lives there, with his wife and their two little boys, and we try to get up there regularly. This time, we house-sat for them while they went on holidays.

We arrived on a 36° Friday afternoon. So much for escaping the heat, but it’s that bit more bearable when you have a shady terrace, a big grassy yard and fresh country air. We had a ball playing with our nephews, bare-foot on the grass.  A simple foam water frisbee and Knacki’s misbehaviour squirt bottle kept us entertained for ages ! After beers and kebabs on the terrace, we had an early night. Les Riolais wanted to get going at 4am the next day, to avoid the amazing traffic that builds up on holiday weekends.

We went out and about most days, visiting and sight-seeing (more detail in later posts !), but also made the most of having a terrace, a yard and a barbeque. We slept with the window open every night and stargazed before sleeping. No traffic passing by, no people mucking around on the street. Bats, yes, but noise, no !


It was a relaxing  week, well spent, and the couple of cool, showery days we had were very refreshing !

We’re back in Francheville now, and the city has that calmness that only August brings. It’s a far cry from the calmness of Rioz, but gives us a chance to slowly get back in to city life !

Bisous !

Summer days, drifting away…

Summer holidays are here, Northern Hemisphere style. No Christmas or New Year celebrations to busy things up, just two long, hot months off.

July cruised along nice and quietly. This is what I got up to:

  • a few afternoons spent in at school to prepare things for la rentrée,
  • a bit of tutoring now and then,
  • watching Le Tour,
  • watching the FINA World Championships (hello Camille Lacourt !),
  • reading Stephen King for hours every day,
  • sleep-ins,
  • playing with the cat,
  • ‘swims’ in the bathtub because it’s bloody hot and the nearest pool is expensive, indoor and full of families and people that don’t have bathtubs,
  • spending time (mostly apéros !) with family and friends, and
  • having that third (fourth ?!) beer on a ‘school’ night !

August is here now, and looks to be a little busier. Oh, perhaps not. Perhaps it will be just doing the same things in different places. Sim has holidays, so we’ll spend some time in St Sym with his parents, as well as a week in Rioz (near Besançon), house-sitting his brother’s house while he’s on holidays with his family. There’s a trip to Paris with a life-long friend, and the possibility of a hot trip out west to Hossegor.

Vive les vacances !

Bisous !

Kitty cat Knack

Meet the newest addition to the family. Knacki. She was a birthday present from Sim’s mum back in April and moved in with us at the end of June. She’s a normal, feisty kitten who loves nothing more than playing ambush. Under the bed, under the oven, from a bag, around the corner…

PicMonkey Collage Knacki 2

She’s curious, it’s a cat thing, and has already fallen in both the toilet and the bath. She likes people-watching from the balcony and can often be found in front of the washing machine as it’s doing its thing. I think she’d appreciate a window on the dishwasher too as she always tries to stickybeak inside it when it’s unloading time.

PicMonkey Collage Knacki

She keeps us entertained, that’s for sure. I’m loving having a cat again !

Bisous !


Update 24/07:

We took Knacki to the vet yesterday to start the vaccination process, and it turns out that she is a HE ! Whoops ! The vet tells us that if she’s wrong, we can get him/her desexed for free !

Le Tour comes to town

France is gripped by Tour fever, as is normal for July. Even we have been gripped, as Le Tour came through Lyon last weekend. The riders arrived on Saturday afternoon at Gerland, then departed on Sunday morning from Givors. We headed a little further south to get a good look on Sunday morning.PicMonkey Collage Le Tour 1

We went to Beaurepaire, a town in the Isère department of the Rhône-Alpes. The riders were scheduled to head through around 11:30 but we arrived super early, at 9:15. Why ? To see La Caravane ! La Caravane is the vehicular procession of sponsors that proceeds the riders by nearly two hours. It’s very animated, with all sponsers vocally publicising their products and throwing all sorts of samples out the windows. You have to be careful not to lose an eye from a packet of washing detergent though, or to be knocked over by a grandpa trying to catch a cordial sample !

PicMonkey Collage Le Tour 2

We had a good spot on the side of the road, and there weren’t too many people (except for the crazy grandpa !) around us. After the caravan passed, we were kept entertained by people watching, team and media cars driving through, trying to catch the attention of the Orica GreenEDGE cars (1 out of 3 noticed us and our little flags !) and eating our Haribo lollies. Then the riders arrived. The first few zipped through, then came Thomas Voeckler who nearly fell off because he was too busy looking behind him, then the rest. We spotted Froome and the chou-chou Rolland thanks to their jerseys, had time for a quick ‘Allez Cadel !’ and they were gone, a fast moving snake of lean, lithe, stupidly fit lycra-clad men. Not even time for a photo – maybe next year.

Vive le Tour !

Bisous !

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