Lyon was such a warm, lovely place to visit, on so many different levels. The weather was gorgeous: though it’s technically autumn, it was sunny and in the 70s most days. Even on the rainy days it was warm enough that we don’t really mind getting drizzled upon before heading back to our apartment for hot chocolate.
The apartment we stayed in was fantastic – colorful, comfortable, and with ample kitchen counter-space for all of our cooking desires. It was a little removed from most of the official tourists spots (which has good for us) and was just a quick walk to several playgrounds, a small zoo, a weekly market, and a wealth of great patisserie/boulangeries. We ate lots of chocolate croissants for breakfast.
We also had such lovely experiences with the people in Lyon, who were gracious, friendly, and incredibly tolerant of our beginner French. Two weekends ago, when I managed to complete an entire conversation in French to book a boat ticket, the ticket seller clapped her hands together and said “tres bien,” leaving me unreasonably cheerful for the rest of the afternoon. Just a few days ago, a woman who spoke less English than I speak French (this flip-flop of the usual has been happening more and more frequently lately) gave a ball to Theo, after her 13-month old grandson lost interest in it.
Communicating been a bit more challenging for Theo, who is still trying to understand the concept of language and doesn’t seem to understand why the children at the playground don’t respond to his ever-improving English. (On the bright side, on the multiple occasions where girls of about five or six have lectured him on the finer points of playground etiquette, he’s able to blissfully ignore.)
I think images of Lyon that will stay with me the most are those of people just casually enjoying their day. By 5 pm, most of the population of the city seemed to have spilled into the outside world: clusters of twenty-somethings chatting by the river, parents and grandparents watching their children on their pre-dinner playground romp, groups drinking in brasseries. On the weekends, the parks overflowed with families. At lunchtime, small shops closed and on Sundays afternoons, everything closed. Oh, I’m sure there are exceptions, but in general, business and busy-ness just didn’t seem to get in the way of enjoying life.
I could live in Lyon. (I wonder how many places I will declare this about over the trip.)
We left Lyon two days ago and will be calling L’Isle sur la Sorgue our home for the next month. More about our new maison in a future post!