Heart of a Lyon – Day Two

It’s been a while. I meant to continue the stories of Lyon, but Sunday I was tired from Lucerne / the Gansabhauet, Tuesday was busy and I was just a little sad on Monday about the passing of Stan Lee. There’s a lot that’s been already said about Stan the Man, so I’ll just say that I am pretty sure no other writer/creator has had or probably will have as big of an influence on who I am as he did. I even quoted him (or Ben Parker, I guess) in my law school applications.

Also, there are devastating fires destroying several parts of California. It’s awful. For those back home, please stay safe. And if you can, there are a number of organizations accepting donations for fire relief.

And with that, let’s go back to Lyon.

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It’s actually quite amazing how much I was able to get done in the hours that I had in Lyon on Sunday. I think the timing for everything worked out really well, but I had a pretty busy and exhausting day before I boarded the 5pm train home to Basel.

After hotel breakfast and checkout, I hopped on the bus to Croix-Rouge, where my walking tour of the city was scheduled to start. The tour typically meets at the statue of Joseph-Marie Jacquard (whose technology for weaving was later an inspiration for the computer). There was a fair going on at the time, so we met nearby.

On the tour, we got a history of the city as we walked down the hill, took as good of views as we could get in the fog, and made our way to town hall.

We started the tour going through the market of Croix-Rouge, which was enormous and smelled so good. There were even some stands selling interesting animal parts, including brains.

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We tried to get some good views from the top of the hill, but didn’t get much due to the fog. We did pass some interesting street art, though.

We walked through some of the city’s traboules on our way down the hill. I mentioned the traboules in my previous post. The city of Lyon is littered with these historic passageways and stairwells that would help the silk workers move their goods around the city. Many of them aren’t easy to find. I know this because while I felt like we were weaving in and out of them during the tour, I struggled to find one when I was on my own.

We did two that were pretty cool during the tour. One was not as well-maintained, but was a historic gathering place for a big workers’ rights movement (if I remember, correctly). The other acts as a sort of incubator to help local artisans get their business started.

As we made our way down the hill, we also saw some Roman ruins (and got some history of the Roman occupation of the city), passed a church scarred by the French Revolution, the opera house, and town hall.

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We ended the tour along the Saone River, where the weekly book market was underway. As soon as the tour was over and despite the fact that I had a very tight itinerary in mind if I wanted to grab a good lunch and see more of the city, I got sucked into that book market almost immediately. I may or may not have bought stuff.

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I tried and failed again to get into some of the hyped bouchons from the list I had put together, before walking through a different market on the other side of the river and failing to find more traboules.

I found myself back in Vieux Lyon, where I did manage to find one traboule while trying to find the funiculars from the day before.

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My plan had actually been to grab kabobs to save time, but I ended up sitting down at a bouchon. I was concerned at first that it would take too long like the one I ate at the night before, but I then heard the most beautiful words anyone in a hurry could ever hear. The waiter apologized to me and said that there was a reservation for my table and wanted to know if I’d be able to eat and leave within the hour. Amazing. Also, I tried Lyonnaise salad which was pretty incredible. Now energized with food and a sitting break I forgot I needed after walking all morning, I was ready to take on the second part of the day.

I caught the funicular up to Fourviere. The Notre Dame basilica sits on the top of the hill and oversees a lot of the city. It’s also joined by a tower that resembles the Eiffel Tower. I started with the inside of the basilica, which was very beautiful. I had actually considered skipping the basilica all together and the inside kind of validated the whole trip up there.

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The views of the city from outside were just as spectacular as the inside of the basilica.

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I made my way back down the hill and took the bus to the Parc de la Tete d’Or, which is the big park of the city. It was the other big part of the city I was hoping to see before I left. It was also conveniently located near my hotel, which I had to go back to to pick up my backpack.

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The park is enormous, as in, there is a botanical garden with historic green houses, a small lake, and an entire zoo in the middle of it big. I got into the park and had a set itinerary, which would involve me hitting the botanic gardens and parts of the zoo before heading back towards the hotel. I immediately got disoriented and went the wrong way. After some course correction, I found the zoo and saw a zebra in Lyon. Also, no, did not see lions.

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I also visited the botanic gardens, which I didn’t last too long in because it was stuffy and kind of crowded, and I realized that I needed to get back to the hotel to the hotel. It was pretty, though.

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And after walking through the park and getting my stuff at the hotel, I made it to the train station with a little time to spare (not that it mattered, because the train was delayed).

The weekend, overall, was a lot of fun. There were some moments over the weekend where things could have probably gone south, but it was ultimately a fun and somewhat chaotic weekend in all the best ways.

And there is only one way that I can end this post.

Excelsior!

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