Sunday, 26 April 2009


Next stop after Annecy was Lyon. My trusty GPS lead us into town without too much trouble, but the train station where we were meeting Linda wasn't on our Lonely Planet map so I didn't have a street address for the station - rendering the GPS somewhat inadequate for the task of tracking her down. After a few stumbles, we did manage to meet: inside a giant shopping complex - a fact that means we are now planning to go back to Lyon shopping some time.

Anyway, after dropping our bags at the hotel, we headed straight into the Vieux Lyon (the old town) with it's medieval and Renaissance houses.

In Lyon, and particularly in Vieux Lyon, there are a number of traboules - doored passage-ways that lead behind and between the large apartment blocks. Apparently these were built to give the silk industry a way to transport their product without getting wet on the streets, but today they are interesting because you are taken into the 'back yard' of the apartment blocks, and it's quite fun finding the right button to push to open the doors to the passage ways.

We also took the funicular up to the Basilic Notre Dame de Fourviere at the top of the hill, which is impressive, but quite gaudy. There is also a fantastic view over the town.

A little further around the hill is a Theatre Romain and odeon which were well worth the visit.

We kept our energy levels up with frequent stops for cafe and pastries, which were pretty universally excellent (the pastries more than the coffee - it's hard to beat the Italian variety).

The next day we headed straight into the Croix Rousse district, which was meant to be the original silk production area of Lyon but today the silk factories have been built into fashionable apartment blocks. We weren't actually that impressed with the area, having been spoiled by the lovely old town, but we were there primarily for the food markets, since Lyon is meant to be the gastronomic centre of of France (no small claim).

The food markets were pretty amazing - a long strip of food stalls with all sorts of exotic fruits, cheeses, meats and baked goods. In fact we managed to lose each other in the excitement of all the fresh produce and it took some time to relocate successfully in the busy markets.

From the markets (and after a delicious breakfast) we walked down the hill towards the Hotel de Ville, where we planned to visit the nearby Musee des Beaux-Arts. We spent a fair amount of time wandering through the Museum, and about as much time having a late lunch, before deciding it was probably about time to head back to Switzerland.

My parents had bought some cheese and bread at the markets, so we had that for dinner - drawing to an end a few busy but fun and interesting days with them.

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