Yesterday I finally had my first weekend getaway in France: LYON! We had an incredible, fast-paced saturday in Lyon, the capital of gastronomy and the ultimate urban getaway in South-Eastern France. Some people said that Lyon is the second biggest city after Paris in France. And yup, just as we reached Gare de Lyon Part-Dieu, we were greeted by the busy-buzzing flockers and hectic noises!
Coming from a small city like Grenoble, Lyon looks incredibly big and busy to us. They have metro that comes every two minutes with dozens of different lines, while what we have in Grenoble is just a simple tram line and bus. We were so fortunate that Kitty is a map expert! Yup, that girl definitely knows her way as long as you give her a map. Alas, equipped with Lyon tourist map that we managed to pick up in information station and €5 all-day metro ticket, we first headed off to Fourvière! Little that we know, we couldn’t get to Fourvière with metro, but even something better: the FUNICULAIRE!!
Funiculaire reminds me of those rides in amusement park. I guess it kinda resembles a… spinning bus? Funiculaire is a two-way transportation that takes people uphill and downhill. It’s semi-scenic as compared to metro which stays underground, and you can see a sneak-peek of little lanes in between one closed tunnel to the other as you go up, up and up!
I was barely in Lyon for two hours but I was already in love with this city! As we got off at Fourviere, an accordion musician started to play the classic La Vie en Rose, and the mood started to kick in. Yup, you’re definitely in France, girl. C’est la belle vie, c’est ça! And that was when we got the first sight of Notre Dame de Fourviere.
And it was beautiful.
This gorgeous dame has been overlooking Lyon for almost 200 years. Apparently this basilica is also listed on UNESCO World Heritage Site! The beautiful gothic architecture was built in such detail, I must have taken dozens of pictures before we went inside the basicila! Oh I just love old buildings, not solely because of their antique look. But these buildings have also become a silent witness to thousand of stories and histories through hundreds of years. At least that’s how I’ve always imagined it 🙂
It was a beautiful, warm winter day and you could see a clear view of Lyon from up here. I took a brief moment to take everything in, and just to let this amazing spectacle filled in my system. The river that separates Lyon into several pieces, the red-brick colored rooftops coinciding with the others and the unsymmetrical streets of Lyon all laid down there in front your eyes. It felt incredible to just stand there and breathed everything in, the sight and winter air of Lyon.
Next stop, we went to visit Thêatres Romaines de Fourviere! It was an ancient ruin from the early Roman Empire occupation from two milleniums ago. There were two ruins of theaters, and when it was still standing tall, the theater could actually fit more than 11,000 people in total! When we arrived, we could also still see the remains of snow, and we just climbed the whole thing to yet again catch a glimpse of Lyon view from the top. We all got abit carried away here and sort of abused our tourist status in Lyon by taking random posey pictures 😀 Most of them were in Kitty’s camera though, I wish I could post them up here. Good thing there wasn’t that many people when we visited! Well it wasn’t like we’re going to visit the Thêatres Romains anytime soon 😀
After two funi trips, we headed down to Vieux Lyon (old Lyon) and met Vicki, a friend of mine back from USYD. Oh oh it was actually quite a story really, about how I got to know Vicki. We were first met each other on the bus ride to uni last year. And suddenly we just sort of got into a conversation because she was carrying a MECO equipment bag. One conversation led to the other, she told me that she was applying for exchange and I was like “OHH I’M APPLYING FOR IT TOO!” Guess if I didn’t run and hop off to the 426 train that morning, we would have never met each other. And here we are now, having a brand new French life together! 😀
Whoops okay, I’m digressing. But the point is, we met up for lunch and she recommended that we should try to eat Bouchon, a restaurant that is très Lyon, where they serve traditional Lyonnaise food such as sausage, duck or… well basically anything meat-y with a French twist. The price range for a Lyonnais lunch starts from €10- €30. I guess the fancier meat you choose and the more complete the set is, the more costly it gets. Although there are few restaurants that claim that they’re Bouchon, but they’re actually not. And guess what?! …….We ended up in the faux Bouchon where they only serve steak instead HAHA. BUT NONETHELESS, it was a great €12 meal (as we’re living on a student budget, we just can’t afford getting lunch that costs more than €15 :P), where one got a grilled steak (although it could’ve been better if the steak was medium well, but I had no clue how to say it in French HAHAA), yummy steamed- potato (BEST POTATO I’VE EVER TASTED IN FRANCE), rosé wine and last but not least…. the dessert: tartine aux pralines! Vicki said that Lyon is well known for its sweet, sticky tartine! Yet it was rather too sweet for my taste.
We wondered around Vieux Lyon and just explored the packed lanes (it was Saturday, which explained the crowd) that simply transports you as if you’re in an old French town. We stopped by to Musée des Miniatures et Décors de Cinema! The first few floors were practically Hollywood props from different movies, which didn’t really fascinate me that much. But the miniature floors were awesome, where I took so many new pictures of “Miffy series” that I’m sure that I can make a story-book out of it lol. Lisa and Kitty couldn’t stop laughing at me but they thought that it was sweet of me to bring a little Miffy (which was originally owned by my friend Shinta – hey there Shin, if you’re reading this :D) – to travel around Europe HAHAAA.
Vicki reminded me the weather in Lyon could get really moody. Well in that case, IT WAS SUDDENLY SNOWING! Pretty white sprinkles slowly covered the town, and I couldn’t be happier to see it! It was both great and bad to have the snow on the day we visited. It was hard to take pictures and everyone were pretty much soaked after the first one hour. But just look at the bright side: When will one see snowy Bellecour again? 🙂
Last but not least, we had a wonderful time up there, despite the fact that our trip was cut short because everyone just had enough of the snow lol. However, I’m definitely gonna visit Lyon again some time during spring time, because POURQUOI PAS?! It’s only 1 hour away from Grenoble …..Strolling through the parks, crossing the bridge and perchance trying the REAL DEAL BOUCHON for lunch! Ahh that would have been perfect 😉
If you think Paris is overrated, you might wanna give Lyon a try! They have handful of itinerary-worthy spots to visit (which I’m so gonna list again before I head off to Lyon next time!), the locals there are nice and they pretty much have English translation for the transportation direction and the museum description (while everything is just completely in French down here in Grenoble HAHA).
So…….. What’s next on the list? Southern France (Montpellier, Aix-de-Provence) on April? Or Switzerland, perhaps? We’ll see, we’ll see. I’ve been always bitten by the travel bug. I seriously wish this adventure will never end 😉
Ah Europe, there’s nothing that can stop me from adoring you. Every sides of you are just beautiful 😀