Tuesday – June 14th – Started our day by attending our local market to buy some provisions. Must say it is very convenient as it is held three days a week…Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. Not too busy this morning as compared to Saturday. We bought some prepared foods; so not having to cook too much. So both yesterday morning and this morning we stop at bars/cafe in the “hood”. We have been to both of these before. We like them as they are situated around the square and great for people watching. Both times, the waiters brought me a “cafe” then they have a look of dismay on their faces as they remember I ordered a “grand cafe creme”. They both hurriedly brought some hot milk to accompany my coffee. One of the waiters even discounted the cost of the coffee! Think it’s a conspiracy!
The people who sell their wares at the market are so efficient at setting up and taking down their stalls. By 2:30 pm, everything is gone and all is clean. This is when the older people playing pétanque take over the square.
Today we walked about half way to the old town, then caught the metro the rest of the way. Meandered the streets of the old town and had lunch at a small restaurant. I had a crepe and Robin had the traditional “Sausage Lyonnais” (almost like a ham sausage normally served with warm green beans) which was very good. Some little birds dropped by to eat the leftover bread at one of the tables near to us. By the way, the washroom was inside a traboule which split the restaurant into two sections
We note that lots of rain happening back home and I almost hate to post this….ok, not.
There are separated bike paths and dedicated lanes for bikes and scooters throughout the City. The city has a shared bike and scooter system which is well used. They also have a shared vehicle system. Unlike Calgary, people use the bikes/scooters for transportation. Lots of two stroke motorcycles/scooters around and they sure make a loud noise….not a fan of these! We notice that the majority of the buses here are electric. The Europeans seem to be so much more aware of energy costs and also safeguarding the environment. Most cars are small and not many SUV’s, not even small ones.
Notice the dog of choice in France still seems to be the Jack Russell terrier….I just love these. Robin says, no designer dogs here. We have a few mourning doves around, lots of cooing in the mornings and evening. Nice sound to wake up to as we keep our windows open at night; no alarm needed.
You can certainly tell it is nearing the end of the school year. We have seen many student groups out and about on field trips. Poor teachers..looks like they are trying hard to keep the kids’ interest and trying to keep their attention. Herding cats comes to mind.
When we decide where we are going for the day, I use the TCL app (Transports en Commun Lyonnais – Lyon’s public transport operator). It covers the metro, the trams and buses. Just enter where we are leaving from and where we want to go. When I get the results, I just email to myself so I have the directions right on my phone. I could just use the app, but would need to reload each time. By emailing it, I have the ready reference. Very handy. Certainly puts things in perspective of where you are heading.
Got to love technology. If I have a question about what is taking place in the City or clarification on an event, etc. I simply “message” or “chat” with the local tourist bureau. No need to make the trek down to the Tourist office. Works very efficiently.
Today (Wednesday, June 15th) we visit the Musee des Beaux-Arts de Lyon. It is located on Place de Terreaux, the same square as the City Hall and the Opera House. This is basically the centre of Presqu’il area. We did pass here and took pictures when we were on the Hop on/off bus earlier in our stay.
We enter a lovely garden with some stone statues. A few are sculpted by Rodin; I happen to really like his work. If one looks closely you can see the muscles in the bodies he has sculpted. This garden area is open to the public and as we were leaving, a lot of locals were eating their lunch here. This building was a former 17th century Benedictine abbey and hence the courtyard which used to be cloisters, lovely. This building was originally transformed into a museum in 1803 and underwent restoration in 1989 and finally reopened to the public in 1998. We spent a couple of hours touring the collection.
As we enter the museum, the first work of art we come across are the statues of the Rhone and Soane. These two statues that represent the two rivers here in Lyon. These two bronze sculptures were commissioned in 1714 and sculpted by the Coustou brothers. The statues were originally placed at the bottom of the equestrian statue of Louis the XIV which is located in Place Bellecour. The statues were restored and placed in the museum in 2021.
A lot of religious art, which is not our favourite, but a small collection of Gauguin, Manet, Rembrandt, Rubens, Chagall, Matisse and hundreds of other artists. The first floor was mainly devoted to Egyptian antiquities…..I can’t help but wonder…”who really is the rightful owner of these Egyptian artifacts?” Always love to see the tile work and mosaics that go back centuries; some of the designs, albeit possibly modernized are still used today. Our apartment happens to have beautiful tile work in the bathroom and shower area.
Massive rooms in the Museum which in themselves are pieces of art. Beautiful mosaic floors and painted frescoes on some of the walls. My investigation of this museum tells me that the Louvre in Paris is the only fine arts museum in France which is larger.
Lunch on the local square, Place des Terreaux. They have a water feature on the square, similar to a lot of other cities around the world. Not sure if adults really notice it or pay attention, but certainly it draws the children who run in and out of the water. The square is also the location of a beautiful fountain, la Fontaine Bartholdi. Sculpted by Frederick Bartholdi (Statue of Liberty fame) in 1892.
As we are walking back to the Metro I notice a store called “C’est deux Euro”, translating to everything cost two euros. I suppose a dollar store, but inflation has hit hard….now charging two euros instead of one euro. On the metro, two young ladies give up their seats for us. This has happened several times and we always thank the young people. I comment later to Robin that they must think we are old…..he says “Honey, we are old!”.
Robin reminds me that we need to stop at our local épicerie (grocery store) to pick up a few things. I go through the list and tell him, eggs, orange juice with no pulp and some more yogurt. “Claire…..WINE.” I don’t know why he tells me this, I didn’t think one needed to write wine down on a list; not something either of us would forget. It is now 33 C at 6 pm and weather to continue to be hot.
As we cross the square, stalls are being set up. I stop and ask a vendor what is happening and she informs me that every Wednesday from 2:30 pm till 8 pm an organic market is held. Aren’t we lucky….four markets a week to choose from.
Thursday and we decide to go to the Aquarium. We stop at one of our favourite bar/resto and the usual waiter is there and he remembers what we want to drink. We get into a conversation with him and he asks us where we are from and how long are we here for. Told him we did a bike trip prior to arriving of 228 kms. He says there is no way he could do that.
I find it amusing that we go to aquariums all over the world, yet we have never gone to the one in Toronto where our kids live and that we visit on a regular basis. I plan out our route and for the first time, in addition to taking the metro, we need to transfer to a “C’ bus (a C bus is one that travels on major routes throughout the City). Takes us a few minutes to find the right stop and yes, we actually go in the right direction. We have been known to take buses in the wrong direction on occasion during our travels! More school groups at the aquarium, but they are leaving. We find the aquarium to be mediocre compared to others we have seen, but still nice to see. Lots of different fish species and love the colours of the fish.
We make our way back to Place Bellecour and decide to stop for lunch in Place Antonin Poncet, just off the main square. There is a bell tower here, which is all that is left of a Catholic hospital (Hôpital de la Charité) circa 1622. The main hospital burnt down in 1934. One of the buildings on the square was a hotbed of resistance activities. Dr. Jean Rousset used an insane asylum on the top floor to hide Allied pilots. He was eventually captured, but survived the war. He also helped Virginia Hall a famous member of the SOE (Special Operations Executive). She was an American but worked with the British and she subsequently received the Croix de Guerre and an MBE. She has an interesting history which I enjoyed reading about, but too much information to partake here.
There is also a water feature, a beautiful flower sculpture and steps leading to the Rhone on this square. The sculpture was part of the 2003 Biennale.
We stop for lunch on the square at Cafe Français and share a delicious meal. “Confit de boeuf et jus sauce de tandoori avec olives vertes et pommes de terres”. The beef is preserved/tenderized in its’ own fat for eight hours. Simply delicious….had to take a picture.
As we arrive back to our apartment around 2:30 pm it is 32 C. Very hot, so the a/c went on immediately. Must say that travelling by metro and bus is comfortable as they are all air conditioned.
Robin and I have made the decision to return to Calgary early and have been able to get a flight back tomorrow – Saturday. I have had some health issues in the last week and just thought it would be better to return home. We feel very fortunate for the time we were able to spend on our bike ride and here in Lyon. So long for now.