La Vie à Lyon

Living, learning and loving in Lyon !

Archive for the tag “Lyon”

Excursion time

Our subject La Vie Artistiqe has become a whole lot better (and easier to stay awake in !) since our topic changed from analysing 19th century artworks to typograpy and advertising throughout the 20th century. We went on a little excursion last week, to the Musée de l’Imprimarie to check out how printing has evolved over the centuries.

Some of the younger students were excited about the old Macintosh Classics (I just felt like I was back in Year 9 computer class) but the highlight for me was the page from the Gutenberg Bible – I’ve never seen one !

Well worth a sticky beak if you’re in the area !

Bisous !


Lyon City Bus

I was daydreaming on the bus the other day, about being a bus driver (don’t laugh, I really wouldn’t mind being a bus/tram/train driver !), when I saw the Lyon City bus. Now I like the red and white TCL buses, especially the new double longs, but the LCB is the coolest bus in Lyon. Double decker, bright blue and green, adorned with lions and images of Lyon, it’s the city’s open top tour bus.

All aboard !

Le Grand Tour is a great way to get an overall idea of Lyon. Audio commentary is available in many languages and provides an interesting history lesson. Stops include Place des Terreaux, Fourvière and Vieux Lyon. A circuit takes around 90 minutes (depending on the time of day and associated traffic !), but you can hop off at any stop, explore the area then catch the next bus that comes along. You can also get 1 or 2 day passes, link it up with a boat tour and even hire the bus for special occasions !

I recommend that you give it a go when you’re in Lyon. Check out Lyon City Bus – Le Grand Tour.

Maybe I’ll be driving it !

Bisous !

Musée Lumière – another episode of killing time, culturally

I took myself off to the Musée Lumière during our two-hour break last Friday morning, keen to finally learn a bit about the family that my university is named after. The Lumière brothers, Louis and Auguste, originally from Besançon (they moved to Lyon when they were little tackers), are credited with inventing the cinematograph, and being the first filmmakers in history. Check out their first film, from 1895, here.

The museum is part of the Institute Lumière, where you can also find a library, a park and a cinema, all being on the site of the old family photography equipment factory. The street is even called rue du Premier-Film !

Their amazing house, known as the Villa, has been turned into the museum and is filled with all sorts of photography and cinema knick-knacks. Even if you don’t appreciate all the technical elements of the beginning of cinema (like me !), it’s still an interesting visit. The Villa also houses the library, a little lecture theatre, two small projection rooms and Antoine’s (père Lumière) bedroom.

Cute magnet souvenirs !

Well worth a visit, even if just to check out the gorgeous house and buy some magnets !

Bisous !

Killing time, culturally

We have a break of two hours and 15 minutes on Friday mornings, between our Comprehension de l’Ecrit and Expression Orale classes. Instead of going home and turning around to come back again, a group of us decided to take in a little of the Lyonnais cultural scene each week. This week, we visited the quartier of Etats-Unis, in the 8th arrondissement, to check out some of Lyon’s famous murals.

These 25 murals form part of the Musée Urbain Tony Garnier, and are based on the Lyonnais architect and city planner’s ideas for an ideal city. 6 of the murals are by international artists, and their visions of the ideal city (in Mexico, Russia, Egypt, India, USA and Ivory Coast), and the rest are by Cité Creation, the company responsable for most of Lyon’s painted walls.

Garnier’s main works include Halle Tony Garnier (above, second from left – a stable for animals waiting to go to the knackery, now Lyon’s grand concert hall), Grange Blanche Hospital, Gerland Stadium and the quartier of Etats-Unis.

It was a great – and free – way to kill a few hours between classes, although we didn’t find all 25 murals. Guess we’ll just have to go again !

Bisous !

Spotto duck

One of the first things I noticed about Lyon, as we were driving back into the city from the aéroport, was the amount of these colourful, bung-eyed birds sprayed around the town. Turns out, they’re ducks and they’re by the Lyonnais street artist Knar (ka-nar, phonetic of the French word for duck, canard).

There is one strange thing about them though – you see them peeking out from everywhere when you’re not looking for them, but when you want to point them out or take a photo, they’re nowhere to be found…

Bisous !

Play that funky rock, jazz, reggae, didge…

One of the (many) reasons I organised my move to France in mid-June 2011 was so that I wouldn’t miss the annual Fête de la Musique on June 21st. Funnily enough (or not), I did miss it, thanks to the torrential rain and thunderstorms we had! 2012, however, worked out.

As the name suggests, the Fête de la Musique is an all day and all night musical extravaganza, with amateur and professional musicians playing on the street/in bars/in métro stations all over the country. I ran around Lyon like a crazy lady, trying to take it all in. There were break dancers, an alternative marching band, three-piece rockers tucked away in tiny corners, pipe-playing Native Americans and even a didge player!

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Even better – all the gigs are free!


The third river of Lyon

A popular saying about Lyon is that it actually has three rivers : le Rhône, la Saône and le Beaujolais. Beaujolais is a wine-making district north of Lyon, in the Bourgogne region. We decided to explore this area in more detail, and booked a day tour with Kanpai in Lyon – check them out at .

Guignol, one of the creepiest symbols of Lyon.

We met Olivier, our trilingual tour guide, at Place Bellecour and joined a mother and daughter from Singapore and two other Aussies, who’d all been picked up at their hotels prior. The tours are limited to 8 people and are done in French, English or Spanish.

Our first stop was the town of Oingt which, in spite of the name, is one of France’s prettiest towns.

Oingt, surrounded by vineyards.

Next stop was a winery, Domaine des Averleys. Here, we learnt about…wine stuff…and tasted 4 of their different wines – a rosé, a white and two reds. Many bottles later (purchased, not consumed!), we headed off to a little country restaurant.

Etienne, explaining why it’s good to have grass and flowers between the rows.

Taking over the bar!

The one on the far right just wouldn’t fit in our bag.

Lunch was a very typical French affair. I had rabbit terrine and frog legs, and the vegan in our group had to give in when his potatoes weren’t just potatoes, they were scalloped potatoes! Ah, la France – it’s not an easy country for vegans!

Most of us had a siesta during the hour-long drive to our last stop, the medieval town of Pérouges. Once there, we had a little tour then were left to our own devices for an hour – wandering around, checking out souvenirs, taking photos and expecting Belle or the Three Muskateers to appear at any moment. Perhaps they do in the high season.

I was too full of rabbit and frog to try the galette au sucre, speciality of Pérouges!

Once back in Lyon (and 2012), everyone was delivered to their hotels – the final service of an excellent tour! If you’ve got a spare day in Lyon, jump on board!

I wonder if there’s a tour on Beaujolais Nouveau day in November…


Shenanigans on the Bateau Hermès

My birthday is 4 days before Sim’s, so Mum and Dad decided to take us out for a birthday dinner while they were here. We booked a table on the Hermès, a boat restaurant that cruises the Rhône and the Saône while you eat.  

All aboard!

It was a busy night, with a big, loud American group dominating. They even had a magician! The waiters and waitresses were very efficient – except for one. We first noticed him when he dropped a tray of drinks, the second time was when we heard more of a commotion than usual from the Americans – and there he was, knocking back their unfinished glasses of wine! Think the drunk waiter from ‘The Party’ with Peter Sellers!

After a few more antics, including locking a couple out on the deck, picking up a waitress and carrying her around and generally making a nuisance of himself, the boss appeared and spirited him away. Sim asked the waitress, a tiny little woman of Asian origin, if she was okay and she explained that it was the waiter’s first (and last!) night working on the boat and she was very embarrassed and cross, because she was in charge of him.

Dinner was delicious, aside from some unwashed lettuce in the salads. The waiter popped up again, bleary eyed, and was much more helpful and subdued. Mum and I ordered a vanilla, raspberry and meringue dessert, vacherin, which he served to us. To me, he said ‘Here’s your macherin,’ but to mum he said, ‘Here’s your vagine,’ which I’m sure you can translate! Sim was SO unimpressed, but us anglophones didn’t really understand what he said and even when Sim explained, we thought it was hilarious!

What’s that called again?

At the end of the night, all was revealed – he was an actor hired for the entertainment of the magician’s group. He and the waitress apologised to Sim (and the couple that he’d locked outside) and offered him a free drink, but he was having none of it! When the little survey came around at the end of the night, he angrily crossed zero for service!

So if you’re in Lyon, I’d recommend taking a cruise on the Hermès (Sim wouldn’t). Check it out at . 

Just watch out for drunk waiters!


New kid in town

There’s a new quartier in Lyon, one that’s been under development for a while now. What was once a dirty industrial wasteland is now the bright, sparkling, ultra-modern, overpriced upmarket suburb of La Confluence. Docklands, if you will, Victorians. It’s been developed with the environment in mind – after all, it’s one of the most unique spots in Lyon, where the Rhône and the Saône meet.

Centre commercial La Confluence. Nice!

Mum, Chelsee and I went to the grand opening of the shopping centre, unusual in that it has both an open sailcloth-type roof and the rail bridge running through it! While one may think ‘a shopping centre!?’ I suppose the opening represented the birth of La Confluence – it’s up and running, a real suburb, with its very own centre commercial and the economic and enterprise opportunities that go with it. It’s predicted that, by the time La Confluence is finished, 16 000 people will live there and 25 000 will work there. The city has high hopes for the area – hence the opening ceremony!

The drummer mobile…

…the percussionist mobile…

…and some of the many fireworks!

I suppose Lyon has its reputation as the city of lights to uphold!


The garbage grève

France is known for her strikes (grèves). Transport one week, teachers the next. Unfortunately (for those that live in the inner city), this week it’s the garbage men. Rubbish is piling up and the weather is warming up. Today, other cleaning services joined them for a march to protest against proposed privatisation.

Not looking good, Lyon…

Let’s hope they get what they want, before the Oullins garbos get any ideas…!


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