Lyon! Even though the word lyon loosely translates as “lion,” we haven’t seen a single fountain or building featuring lions. Horses, yes. Fish, yes. Maybe we didn’t look hard enough? But – we got to see one of the most gorgeous, gilded churches we have ever seen, the local basilica. To get there, high on a hill (as you will see in the photos), we took a funicular both ways. We stayed in a part of the city called Presqu’ile – “almost an island.” It is supposedly where everything happens in the city, and is a finger of land between the Rhône and Saone Rivers, built due to a massive 18th century fill project, connecting what was once an island with the rest of the city.
Lyon – Gastronomic Capital of the World!! Unfortunately for us, a lot of their gastronomy features tripe, steak tartare, calves’ brains, and various organ meats, which we do not care for. The cuisine here is heavy on meats, and we tend to like chicken and vegetarian dishes. In addition, we found the perplexing problem of restaurants closing very early in the afternoon and not opening again until much later in the evening. We showed up to one restaurant whose own hours, written on their door, said they were open, only to find it locked up. After that, we called another to ensure it was open, and when we got there (driving several miles), they said it was three more hours before they would be serving food, even though they were “open.” Many of those situations happen to us often in Europe, with seemingly infinite variations. Just when we think we have figured out every question we can ask to ensure that we can eat something, they come up with a new way to foil us. It is turning into quite a game. We should have it mastered in a week or so, the day we leave France for London!
The “traboules” of Lyon almost got by us, but they couldn’t hide from us – we found them. They are Lyon’s own covered passageways from the renaissance, which are fun to discover and walk through (although some that were recommended in articles are boarded shut!). We walked alongside both rivers and felt lucky to see some of Lyon’s famed “frescoes” – buildings that have been completely taken over with painted scenes. Lots of people were standing with us, gawking. And we ventured out to two of Lyon’s sites of Roman ruins. Even though it was very hot, we went to a lot of places. Now we are heading to the Riviera for some beach time and not as much walking as we have been doing. We saw on the news last night that Nantes, where we spent time in May, hit 115 degrees yesterday! Parts of France in the west are experiencing wildfires. It is scorching hot here. We so appreciate air conditioning, when we can get it in Europe!