As you can tell by the title of this post, I spent last weekend in the wonderful city of Lyon, France. Considering that I had never been (as well as had a four-day weekend and a grad school orientation there), I knew that that was the perfect opportunity to go! So without much thought, I booked my BlaBlaCar rides, contacted a fellow teaching assistant there who I happen to personally know (we had traveled together to Prague back in October), and was on my way!
First things first: getting to Lyon all the way from Normandy! Mind you, it takes, on average, five-ish hours to get there, since Lyon is situated in central France, in the Rhône-Alpes region. Basically, right after teaching my last class on Thursday, I booked myself by bus all the way to Rouen, where I stayed with a friend overnight before leaving the following morning to meet up with my BlaBlaCar driver. The journey was a long (and pretty cramped) one, as the car was completely full, and things, well, happened along the way that turned an otherwise five to six-hour journey into a seven-and-a-half-hour one! Won’t go into too much detail, but basically a *minor* car accident and three unnecessary coffee/cigarette breaks set us back from reaching Lyon earlier than I had expected. Oy vey… 😛
Any case, I arrived in Lyon around 16h30 at Gare Part-Dieu, the main train station for the city. My teaching assistant-host (let’s call her “Kristen”) picked me up from there, and took me to les Halles de Lyon, a sort-of department store that exclusively sells food…and lots of it. More specifically, the place specializes in plenty of Lyonnaise cuisine, as the city itself is famous for its gastronomy. Saw a lot of interesting plats being sold- so yummy!
Afterwards, we took the tram back to Kristen’s flat, located about 15 minutes from Part-Dieu. Dropped my bags off, ate dinner, and later we went back out again to explore Lyon at night. Super cold, but absolutely lovely. Photos are a bit blurry, but still captures the essence of the city life:
After we had made the loop around the city center (which included Place Bellecour, the Opéra de Lyon, Hôtel de Ville, and Place des Jacobins), we went back to her flat (I admit by then, I was freezing my butt off!). Was ready to turn in for the night, as I had a long, exhausting day of traveling. Slept like a rock on the futon that Kristen had kindly offered me, and it was lights out- until the next day, that is.
Woke up the following morning, had some breakfast, and was set to head out for a day trip to Annecy, which Kristen had recommended me to visit while in the region. Left around 10h00; it was a two-hour train ride over, but the journey over was so scenic that it didn’t matter. Since Lyon and Annecy are near the Alps, the view of the snow-capped mountains were sublime. And it was actually snowing flurries that day- my first time experiencing snow in France!
Arrived in Annecy around noon, and proceeded to visit the Old Town, where I got lunch at a small restaurant for a decent price. Kristen had recommended that I try tartiflette, a specialty of Annecy that consists of potatoes, cheese, and lardons (aka bacon) in cream. Lots and lots of cream. So good, but so filling…I didn’t even eat much for dinner later that day!
Afterwards, I wandered around Annecy, checking out the Basilique de la Visitation (a basilica on top of the hill; the hike was a bit steep, as I was still very full from lunch!), the Château d’Annecy (didn’t go inside, as one has to pay), the Palais de l’Ile (a small 14th century building located in the middle of the canal, hence the “île” (island)), and Annecy Lake, which is situated right near the gorgeous view of the Alps. Seriously, my photos do not do justice to the incredible beauty of the scenery:
All was wonderful, but unfortunately, I decided to cut my visit short, because I was freezing! Really, I had not pack well for my trip to the Rhône-Alpes, as I didn’t know that it would be snowing! Plus, it was getting late, and I wanted to get back to Lyon before it got too dark (aka around 17h00). Took the train back, and returned around 18h30. Chilled out for the rest of the night with Kristen, as I was spent.
Now, at the risk of going on and on with this post, I will save the second part of my stay in Lyon for the next post. Stay tuned! 🙂
— The Finicky Cynic
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