Saturday, April 7, 2012

Lyon, France


Swiss trains always arrive and depart on time because of the Swiss train company's organizational skill, attention to detail, work ethic and pride in their job.


French trains not so much.

One of Lyon, France's Train Stations

I left Helvetica on a Swiss train bound for Basel, Switzerland right on schedule at 7:32 a.m. I arrived in Basel at precisely 8:59 as advertised.

From Basel, which is right on the Swiss-French border, I boarded a French train to continue my trip on Thursday to first Mullhouse Ville, France where I would have to switch to a third train to finally arrive in Lyon at 12:56 p.m. a total of 5 hours and 24 minutes after leaving Thun.

The French train arrived in Lyon 15 minutes late.

Julien Urgenti

I first met Julien via the internet last summer. Julien has been a player and a coach for the Falcons de Bron American football team. Bron is a suburb of Lyon and the Falcons play in the French Second Division. They are currently in first place with a 7-1 record.

We have exchanged several good football ideas by way of e-mails and Facebook but now it was time to finally meet face-to-face with my French Football Connection!

After settling into my hotel, I met Julien at the Vieux Lyon metro station. He had taken a day off from work and would be my personal guide to the wonders of Lyon on this sunny afternoon.

Lyon has many wonders to offer indeed!

Vieux Lyon is Lyon's Old Town

The Vieux Lyon is a UNESCO World Heritage Sight, an honor it richly deserves. Julien first took me up the hill to the top of the Vieux Lyon for a great view of the city.

We started up the hill on this very pleasant lane.

The first view of Lyon

We are not all the way up the hill yet and I was huffing and puffing, so I took this photo op to catch my breath.

The tall building on the left is known as "The Crayon."

The Vieux Lyon's 2,000 Year old
Roman Amphitheater

The View from the Cheap Seats

The Basilica of Notre Dame de Fourviére

The Basilica's Ornate Façade

The Metallic Tower

Near the Basilica, it looks vaguely familiar and is a communications tower.

The view from the Basilica

The round top building is the Lyon Opera House.

The Place Bellecour

That is the very large square in the right center of this photo.

The Virgin Mary atop the Basilica

The Basilica was built in her honor as a thank you for her intercession in saving the people of Lyon from the scourge of the plague.

I liked many of the sculptures adorning the Basilica's outer walls.

Hmm . . .

David and Goliath

Julien and I visited this hilltop for quite a long time and I came back here Friday morning to explore some more only this time I rode the funicular railway to the top of the hill into the Fourviére area.

Quick learner.

The walk down on Friday morning was intersesting visually as I hope you agree from these following photos.

Mossy roofs

Wisteria covered walls

Thank you to Cluadio Mangano for the correction, I thought it was Lavender.

Interesting stairway

Ancient wall

The view up to the Croix-Rousse district

This district lies across the Saône River from the Vieux Lyon and is famous for its silk making.

Can you say "Chocolate Eclair"?

I can.

And they are so good for you!

The beautiful Lyon City Hall

The rampaging Horse Fountain

The Lyon Opera House up close

The round roof is new, below it is quite old.

Fika Time!

Julien suggested that we stop here for a coffee, I of course said yes!

Some of our coffee loving neighbors
at the Grand Café des Négociants

A Carousel in Lyon

Fun for kids of all ages!

King Louis XIV

The old boy has been turned into a city sponsored advertisement.

Making me hungry

Tribute to the French
Revoultion's Centennial

Bikes for rent

They are free if you use them for less than 30 minutes.

No I didn't.

Lyon's HUGE new Mega-Mall

The Grand Opening was just the day before this.

Cool Street Art

Wait, is that Ueli's cat, Lenny Kravitz?

A random "minor" church

I just like blue skies, that's all.

After a pizza dinner, we headed out to Bron to watch a little of the Falcon's practice that evening.

Man Coverage


Linebacker Run Defense Drill

Men in Motion

More on this drill in a video at the end of this blogpost.

Julien, me and a naked woman

It was OK, King Louis XIV had our backs.

It was time to say adieu to Julian after he drove me back to my hotel after the Falcon's practice.


Now that I had my bearings, I went back into the Vieux Lyon on Good Friday morning for some more exploration.

But first I needed sustenance

Pain Chocolat and coffee should do the trick

Sated, but not fully, it was
back to the Vieux Lyon's streets

A Catania Pink Elephant hangout

A Street Market by the Saône Riverfront

Time to investigate what was on sale.

Nice flowers

Paella just getting started

That reminds me, where's Laurie?

French Cheeseman selling . . .

Cheese from the moon!!!

Cool pedestrian bridge across the Saône River

Next up are some photos of Lyon's interesting architecture.

The Theater

A Shopping Lane

Hostels were hospitals
back in the day I believe

Praline Brioche

I only had one and it was so good for me too!!!

The French Rooster

Found this on a street recommended by Julien as a place to eat lunch on Friday.

The Big Three
Louis XIV, the Basilica and the Tower

Cyndy Murphy's autobiographical
play was opening in Lyon

I liked this street in Vieux Lyon

I like the color blue

Famous French Marionettes

Politically Correct???

Good Friday in front of the Saint-Jean Cathedral

I thought that they might be nailing a surrogate to a cross but no they were not.

Saint-Jean Cathedral's Façade

More of the same

Saint-Jean Cathedral's Atomic Clock

Lion Spit

What is THAT animal?

People of the Vieux Lyon

Colorful Vieux Lyon Balcony

Lion's Den

The doorway of a Lyon Traboule

A Traboule are secret passageways that link streets via vaulted corridors and interior courtyards like . . .

This one

I entered a couple of these fascinating traboules thanks to Julien's inside information.

We need to add one of these
towers to our home in Camarillo

I know just the spot!

Cool corner

Should I eat again?

These citizens are

Interesting pulley

On a Saône River bridge

The Vieux Lyon to the left and . . .

The Croix-Rousse to the right

The Lumiére Brothers

This mural includes many of Lyon's most famous city dwellers. More on these brothers later.

Paul Bocuse and Frédéric Dard

Bocuse is a renowned chef and Dard was a writer and author.

Another of Lyon's impressive murals

Life is Beautiful indeed!!!

I particularly liked Lyon's cafés and restaurants that were all inviting me in based on their wonderful aromas like these . . .

It was time for lunch but first I ran into . . .

The funniset Preparation H
type ad EVER

Not real

Aux Trois Cochons

This is a "Bouchon" that serves traditional Lyonaiss cuisine, a.k.a., pork.

All of the pig.

It was on the Rue des Marronniers, the one that Julien had suggested I go to for a good Bouchon lunch. I opted for this one because of the two Bouchon restaurants on this rue, the inside of this one was packed while to other one wasn't. I figured that the locals knew something that I didn't, so I grabbed an empty table outside and ordered the House Special.

It came with a LARGE bottle of red wine

At no extra cost.

It was Tres Magnifique!!!

The meat was excellent and the sauce on the vegetables comprising the bed of this delightful lunch was incredibly good!!!

I had one last stop to make before coming home to Thun.

The Musée Lumiére

Before entering this museum, I just had to check out the Boules games in progress across the street.


Not so intense concentration

Still he was very effective knocking the other team's balls out of scoring range.

Totaling up the damages

She is not a Boules groupie, she is one of the players.

Louis and Auguste Lumiére

These brothers were born and raised in Lyon and they are famous for inventing motion pictures in 1895!

The Musée is in the Lumiére Villa in Lyon

Pathé Films used a rooster like this one as their icon. This one is at the base of the villa/musée's staircase.

The Villa in living color

There are lots of great artifacts in the musée dealing with the very early days of motion pictures.

The Lumiére Villa had Lyon's first ever telephone!

The Villa was also the first structure in Lyon to have central heating.

That concluded a fabulous visit to France's third largest city behind only Paris and Marseille. If you ever get the chance, be sure to spend at least a night there.

You'll be glad that you did believe me!

Falcons de Bron
Linebacker Run Defense Drill

Sad news from Milan

On Thursday, long time American football coach Joe Avezzano, spot lighted above, passed away of a heart attack in Milan, Italy where he was the Head Coach of the Milan Seamen.

He had been the Head Coach at Oregon State University and was a three-time NFL Special Teams Coach-of-the-Year award winner as a very animated assistant coach with the Dallas Cowboys in the Jimmy Johnson era. He was only 68.


David said...

I am in awe of your ability to find the food that is good for you no matter where you travel.

George said...

It's a gift.

Julien said...

Fun times indeed! Thanks for the kind words. I realize now that you did not see half of the city... You should come back with Laurie in July!