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Europe » France » Rhône-Alpes » Lyon
April 29th 2017
Published: April 30th 2017
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Louis XIV - The Sun KingLouis XIV - The Sun KingLouis XIV - The Sun King

We were going to delete this picture until we remembered he was the "Sun" king so it seemed appropriate to keep it. He was reportedly close to his mother so maybe he should have been the "Son" King.
We didn’t expect to be going back to Europe so soon after our 2016 Denmark/Italy adventure. TrustedHouseSitters.org is an organization we joined to find places to stay for free, or at least, free in return for taking care of a pet plus the house. We found one in the south of France that seemed pretty appealing and ended up agreeing to do 36 nights in two blocks in April-June 2017. Then off we went to Denmark and Italy (see previous blog entries).

France was eight months away…. It didn’t seem real…. But it has happened! We are now in Lyon, France on our way to the house, or rather pet, sit. But it almost didn’t happen. Faithful blog readers might remember that our last European trip was delayed a year because I fell and fractured my pelvis playing on some playground equipment with my grandson. Well, a couple of weeks before we left, Dianne and I were with our Cedar grandchildren in a playground. No, I didn’t climb on any equipment but the kids wanted me to push them on a small merry-go-round. What can go wrong as long as I keep my feet on the ground? I looked away
Dianne and Peter go to FranceDianne and Peter go to FranceDianne and Peter go to France

Thanks to my sister, Jane, for dropping us off at the airport (and taking the picture).
for just a second but, at that very second, my grandson decided to lean out while spinning around. His shoulder caught me on the side of the head, spun me around and laid me out flat on my back! For a moment I knew how hockey players felt when they got blindsided. Fortunately, there were no side effects and we were able to proceed as planned.

Lyon

Why Lyon? Well, Air Canada had a seat sale to Europe so it seemed silly to cash our last remaining Aeroplan points and Lyon was close to Montpellier. We looked into Lyon and found it was a pretty interesting place in its own right.

Dianne found a great-sounding Airbnb right in the middle of town. The Rhônexpress took us from the airport to the edge of “town” and the metro got us within walking distance of our new digs. As it was raining, we took shelter in the nearest coffee shop, a Starbucks. We were too early to check in, so this was a good place to hang out and figure out how to complete the last 700 metres (according to Google maps) of our journey. It was still a
Studio suite in LyonStudio suite in LyonStudio suite in Lyon

Very comfortable and a great location.
bit early but we decided to make a break for it.

We found the building and the code we were given let us in. The second code got us into the stairway. But then the trail went cold. Dianne scouted around while I watched the bags. Nothing. She went on a walkabout to find a phone, a Wi-Fi hotspot or whatever. No phones but a gal at a nearby hostel was very helpful in hooking Dianne up with WiFi so she could contact the Airbnb person. But when she returned, we met a nice young chap who was busy doing renos on other parts of the building (the building was built in the early 1800s). While his English was as suspect as our French, his knowledge of the building was fabulous and he got us into our suite. Sweet! It is a great studio suite with everything we need, especially Wi-Fi.

Walkabout

The first thing Dianne and I do in a new city is to go walking to check out the neighbourhood. High on our list is making sure we know how to get back to the train station or airport so we can get out of
The Rhône riverThe Rhône riverThe Rhône river

Near our place. Good walking trails on both sides.
town when appropriate. This was very pleasant in Lyon as it involved walking along the Rhône river until we found (how appropriate) the Pont Wilson where we crossed the river to head to the train station. It was a very pleasant walk although with suitcases, the metro is a much better choice.

The route took us through a very large mall which was interesting even though we had no intention of buying anything. A glance at the map showed an interesting looking park in the northwest quadrant. Off we went. We didn’t check the map again for a while so there were a few side tracks but when we found the park it was worthwhile. Parc de la Tête d'Or is the largest urban Park in France and was officially opened in 1857 even though it wasn’t completely finished. It has had many changes over the years and now includes a small zoo and a mini-golf course. We didn’t visit these attractions this trip but will be back in Lyon on our way home. Weather permitting, maybe we’ll visit them then.

The walk home took us along the Rhône again and we were happy to put our feet
FountainsFountainsFountains

Lots of interesting fountains. This one was in honour of Charles de Gaulle.
up and eat our casual supper purchased at the local grocery store.

Second Day

Lyon is centred on the confluence of the Rhône and Saône rivers and we are staying between the rivers. We crossed the Rhône yesterday so today walked through the central pedestrian shopping area before crossing the Saône to head to the La Basilique Notre Dame de Fourvière which sits high on the hills overlooking downtown Lyon. It was built with private funds in the late 1880s on a site that had been a Roman forum of Trajan. It is huge and looks a lot older. Great views from the top of the hill.

To get to the Basilique we took a funicular. Sure beats walking up hill. But to get down, we took the switch back trails that led us through the Théâtre gallo-romain. There are the remains of two Roman amphitheaters that are particularly spectacular. They are built into the side of the same hill the Basilique is on. Several interesting gardens provide spots to rest along the trail.

Re-crossing the Saône, we finally found a lunch place that matched our hunger with our budget. Very relaxing. Back to the shack
Parc de la Tête d'Or Parc de la Tête d'Or Parc de la Tête d'Or

Big park with a large lake used for boating. It's about half again as big as Beacon Hill Park in Victoria.
for a coffee and a rest. But before we got to that, we discovered how they get building materials up to the top floors of these old building that don’t have elevators. The workmen were just setting up the device that lifts the bags of cement and sheets of drywall up to the waiting arms of the workmen upstairs. The machine had a sign that said it could lift stuff to the 12th floor.

After our rest, we hit the trail in the search for what we think of as a decent cappuccino. I had Googled coffee shops and had an address nearby. We found it just as the rains came down (again). Indeed the cappuccino was what we wanted so it was worth the trip. Too early to call it a day, we tried following some weird “stairs” up the nearby hill. Great view from the top and by coming down a slightly different route we found another set of Roman ruins: Amphíthéâtre des Trois Gaules. The sign said this was the location of the martyrdom of many Christians in the second century.

End of Phase 1

Back home to pack as we leave in the
The Lake in Parc de la Tête d'Or The Lake in Parc de la Tête d'Or The Lake in Parc de la Tête d'Or

We wish it were a bit warmer to try the boating.
morning for our train trip to Montpellier and our link up with Mr. Darcy. ToBeContinued.


Additional photos below
Photos: 24, Displayed: 24


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Make way for DucklingsMake way for Ducklings
Make way for Ducklings

Several families of ducks with very new ducklings were getting swimming lessons. A couple of families merged and we wonders how they sort out whose kids are whose.
StairsStairs
Stairs

Because we didn't find the best route to the Airbnb we had to wrestle with these stairs. Not fun with suitcases in the rain.
Typical streetTypical street
Typical street

Note the bikes racks. There are automatic bike rentals everywhere.
Hôtel de Ville de LyonHôtel de Ville de Lyon
Hôtel de Ville de Lyon

City Hall in Lyon. Typical of the large buildings in the old city.
Another fountainAnother fountain
Another fountain

There were many fountains of all kinds of styles in Lyon.
La Basilique Notre Dame de FourvièreLa Basilique Notre Dame de Fourvière
La Basilique Notre Dame de Fourvière

Perched high on the hill, it commands quite a view.
The Saône riverThe Saône river
The Saône river

Slightly smaller than the Rhône, it parallels it until they meet at the southern part of the city.
View from La Basilique View from La Basilique
View from La Basilique

This shows the Cathedral for Lyon. Not quite as many churches as Italy, but no shortage.
Another view from the hillAnother view from the hill
Another view from the hill

Note the statue of Louis XIV in the square below.
One of the Roman amphitheatresOne of the Roman amphitheatres
One of the Roman amphitheatres

Still in pretty good shape. Quite something to stand centre stage and imagine the seats full of people.
Interesting trim jobInteresting trim job
Interesting trim job

Many trees and shrubs have been trimmed in interesting ways.
Rue RoyaleRue Royale
Rue Royale

Our Airbnb was on this street. Doesn't look that impressive these days but when these buildings were erected this was the place to be.
Stare well (sic)Stare well (sic)
Stare well (sic)

Our place was on the third floor. Of course, in Canada this would have be the fourth floor which caused some of our confusion at check in time. It also makes one wonder how they get stuff up those stair wells.
How they do itHow they do it
How they do it

They were setting up this machine as we returned from a walkabout. We watched for the better part of an hour. It was fascinating to see their attention to detail.
Up she goesUp she goes
Up she goes

We couldn't actually get the target window in the shot. It seemed to take forever to set up the machine but in no time all the bags of cement and the wallboard disappeared from the courtyard. Sure beat carrying it up manually.
At lastAt last
At last

We found a really good cappuccino.The bad news: we leave in the morning. The good news: we are going back to Lyon on the way home!


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