Saturday, February 16, 2013

Travel Friday to Villefranche-sur-Saône

Even though I had been in poor health for most of the past few days, I had to take advantage of Travel Friday.

Since we hold practices on Monday through Thursday nights and have games on either Saturdays or Sundays with our four teams, Friday is the only certain day off that we have each week.

A big part of any import player or coaches agenda in coming to a EuroBall team is the opportunity to travel and see the wondrous sights that the Continent has to offer.

I was still dripping, sneezing and coughing but I wanted to at least make a day trip out to the surrounding wine country on this somewhat warmer day.

I had discovered that on of Lyon's small train stations was the perfect jump off point for the day's excursion. Thus, I left The Villa at mid-morning for the bus-Metro rides to the Gare Vaise in the northwest corner of the city.

Upon arriving at Gare Vaise, I found that the next train to my goal city, Villefranche-sur-Saône, would not leave for another 40 minutes. No problem, time to explore a bit of this part of Lyon that was new to me.

The Saône River with the
Vieux Lyon far South

An Interesting Bridge . . .

Not a lot of bridges in southern California and even less rivers, so this was worth investigating further.

Spanning the Saône River

Suspension Engineering

Saône River Driftwood

Artsy Bridge Cable Holder 

Bridge Suspension Bolts

They must be very strong indeed!

After inspecting this bridge for a decent amount of time, it was time to catch the local train for the 28 minute ride to . . . 


It is considered to be the capital of France's famous Beaujolais wine region and was founded in 1140 A.D. by the Lords of Beaujeu to match the Anse fortress belonging to the Archbishops of Lyon.

Fête des Conscrits

Every year, on the last Sunday in January, to mark the end of military service, local conscripts celebrate by dressing up in black suits and top hats decorated with a colored ribbon. Each decade wears a different color.

On the morning of the festival, at precisely 11:00 a.m., the participants parade around the city linked arm-in-arm and carrying colorful bouquets of mimosa and carnations.

I saw a lot of photos of this year's festival around town on Friday. It looked like a lot of fun, sorry I missed it.

Villefranche-sur-Saône Main Street

This is the scene of the Fête des Conscrits Parade.

Rue Nationale

STRONG stance against smoking!

 Old Stairwell

Baby Dragon


Squats are GREAT  for
American Football Players

 What happened to your head?

At the Musée des Conscrits 

Conscrits Hats are WAY Cool!!!

 Hanging Out in a Church Back Alley

Entrance to Notre-Dame-des-Marais

How I've felt most of this week

Sans the halo of course.

a.k.a., King Louis IX of France

Mr. Christopher

 Penetrating Eyes

 Just another fine Baptismal Font

Mural by the Baptismal Font

 Colorful Buildings

Colorful Stairwell

Do it yourself liposuction??? 

I love old shutters . . .

 . . . A Lot

Stressed Hinge

 What is the story behind this
Sailboat in a Window?

 Art Noir

Ancient Window


 City Hall

 Winter Trees

 Can you see a man and
a woman about to kiss?

Perhaps I am hallucinating.

1833 Fountain

A courtyard built in 1660


That reminds me, Laurie loves a good Mimosa Champagne cocktail on a Sunday morning at Cronies Sports Grill while watching an NFL game on their big screen TV.

I was starting to tire out, so I hopped aboard a train for the return trip to Lyon at about 4:00 p.m. after a delightful day in Villefranche-sur-Saône.

Once back in Lyon, I had to make a Metro line switch at Place Bellecour. On a lark, I decided to check out the nearby Pathé Theater to see what was playing in its Original Version, i.e., English.

It started in 15 minutes!

I have been reading Victor Hugo's dark, epic novel since early December. It is 8,546 pages long on my iPhone and I am currently on page 4,630. I read it during my bus, Metro and train rides mostly, thus my slow progress.

My original goal was to finish it before seeing the December 25th release date for the latest movie version of this French classic. I did not see the movie while in California, am still not finished reading the book but seeing Les Misérables in France sounded like the right thing to do.

I had long ago seen the 1935 and 1952 movie versions with Charles Laughton giving a memorable performance as Inspector Javert in '35 and Michael Rennie as credible Jean Valjean in '52. I liked both adaptations. There are more Les Misérables films out there, I just have not seen them.

I had also seen the smash musical play on two occasions, once at the Los Angeles Music Center and on a second occasion at the Thousand Oaks Civic Center. Again, these were two highly entertaining evenings at the theater.

This movie, based on the musical play of Victor Hugo's tome, felt a bit long at 2 hours and 38 minutes. Still, the acting was good and the cinematography was spectacular. I enjoyed it immensely and I don't think that their was a dry eye in the house after the final scenes.

I know mine weren't.

Even though I enjoyed my night at the cinema, I must say that all five of the adaptations that I mentioned above pale quickly compared to Victor Hugo's original tale. Hugo's book is equal parts the Valjean-Javert adversarial struggle, Hugo's love affair with 19th century Paris and his insights into French history. It is dark and gritty in exposing the seedy side of France back in the day.

The book is a must read if you like the play or any of the movie adaptations over the years. 


Laurie bought her plane tickets yesterday for France this Spring. We are all set to meet in Paris for a romantic four day weekend.


1 comment:

Laurie said...

Très Bon !