Lyon à 36 degrés

In July we also spent a long weekend in Lyon. I had never visited before and it’s the third biggest city with an excellent TGV connection that gets you there in 2 hours.

We arrived on Thursday and moved into a little apartment on the 5th floor. It’s in Lyon’s old town, so a really old building. The entrance had vaulted ceilings. It was a hot weekend and the host assured us that there is an air condition unit. It was one of those where you need to put the pipe out of the window, so in order to have air con on, you need to open the window, which negates the effect of the air condition. There was also a large fan so it was mostly okay.

One of the things everyone recommends to do in Lyon is visit the basilica on the hill Fourvière. There’s a funicular going up to the hill so because of the heat and my laziness and love for funiculars we rode up there. The view is beautiful and after an appropriate amount of admiring the view we had lunch in the shade of a large chestnut tree.

The walk downhill was through a park with lots of trees, so shaded enough, so we wandered down the serpentines back into town.

We had dinner in the old town as well. The landlord had prepared us: These streets are touristy, expensive and the food is nothing special. We only eat in rue de boeuf. So we basically took the first bouchon we saw and settled in. A bouchon is a traditional Beisl/tavern particular to the region and serves hearty food. I had been warned about andouillette, so even though I’m adventurous I went for quenelles instead. In my case it was quenelles made from fish with crayfish sauce and it was delicious. Gergö had poached eggs in red wine sauce and chicken liver cake. Not exactly light summer food, but I think he enjoyed it. For additional frenchness there was a musician around the corner who played “La vie en rose” on their clarinet.

Because Friday was expected to get 35 degrees Gergö had researched a lake to swim in a little outside of Lyon. There’s a large park called miribelle with several lakes and a bus from the Eastern edge of Lyon to take you there. Apparently there is one private beach with fancier infrastructure (I saw an inflatable waterslide in the lake!), but most beaches are free and even have toilets and a kiosk and life guards. We found a place in the shade and I even thought the temperature was okay. At some point in the afternoon I saw that the life guards had up a sign saying 37 degrees. My phone thought it was 36. The lake was warm as well and we spent quite some time in there. Enough time for me to get sunburned on my shoulders.

The lake.  Ahhhhhhh.

People were making fires all around us and barbecued things. I was surprised it’s allowed, but I don’t know why I’m still surprised about things. It’s not like the French don’t make fires next to the lake just because it’s not allowed.

Friday night was the night of the lunar eclipse. I had read about it, then forgotten about it again. When the subject came up again, we discussed what to do and wanted to maybe try going up the fourvière again, but we missed the last funicular. So instead we stayed in town. Which was okay, because it was too cloudy to see anything at first. We hung around the bridge where lots of tourists hung out, had fancy ice cream (grapefruit with gin tonic sauce!) and later caught a glimpse of the red moon with bits missing.

A view of the River. I think this is the Rhône, but I couldn’t swear by it.

On Saturday it started to rain. At first it didn’t really cool off that much. It was just as hot but now also damp which is the worst of both worlds. But during the day it got cooler and the rain stopped around noon. We spent the morning/early afternoon in the museum.

Lyon apparently is birthplace of Kasperl / Guignol (like Punch, but more suitable for children). There are shops selling all kinds of puppets and a museum dedicated to Guignol and I still find large dolls extremely creepy, so we didn’t visit that museum.

Instead we went to the musée de confluences. It is a very modern science and ethnology museum. It’s where the two rivers of Lyon, the Rhône and the Saône flow together, hence the name.

I quite liked their various exhibitions. There was an exhibition on the Tuareg and how the west created a myth around them. There was a large permanent exhibition on the origin of the world. I liked how they combined various creation myths (Inuit, Aboriginal) with various periods in the history of the world that can be thought of the beginning – the formation of the earth, the first vertebrates, the first humans.

There was also an exhibition on death and funerary rites and there was a Peruvian mummified body buried in foetal position.

Leave a Reply