After getting into Lyon during this past October vacation, I spent the following day at only a few sites that I’d been meaning to check out. While I only visited perhaps no more than three places on my second day, it still ended up being a lot of walking all over the city, since I was too cheap to take public transport (that, and the connecting lines wouldn’t have been convenient, anyway).
Once I finished breakfast in my Couchsurfer’s flat, I headed out close to 10:00 to check out the first place on my agenda for that day: the musée des Confluences. It’s a museum that just recently opened in 2014, and it’s modern-architecture complex houses a wealth of exhibitions dedicated to science and anthropology. While I consider myself more of a classic art/paintings type of museum-goer, I was still interested in trying something new– plus, admission was free!
The musée des Confluences is located on the Presqu’île (“almost island”) south of Lyon– in fact, it’s situated on the quasi-peninsula, where the two rivers– the Rhône and the Saône– converge into one. From the top of the museum, there’s also a terrace where one can get lovely views of Lyon along the water. Upon arriving and getting my *free* ticket, I proceeded to spend the next two hours taking in the different exhibitions that it had to offer. While there was your usual dinosaur bones and Neanderthal figures on display (not to say they’re not fascinating, but I’ve seen them countless times in other museums around the world), there were also interesting artifacts on the history of Lyonnais cinema and the science behind poison, both of which really stuck out for me during my entire visit. Aside from them, the views from the terrace on top were spot-on.
Exiting the museum, I made my way towards the tip of the Presqu’île to see the two rivers converge, as well as check out the touristy “Only Lyon” sign right outside. It was a sunny, but rather chilly morning due to the wind, but all the same, a gorgeous one.
My next destination, the Croix-Rousse neighborhood, was 40-50 minutes away on-foot (and uphill), so I gradually made the trek over from the south of Lyon to the north. I did take a break in between, though, to get a quick baguette-sandwich and pastry combo at a boulangerie near the Place des Jacobins for lunch. I treated myself to a foie gras sandwich, which was nothing like I had before! Mind you, I’ve had duck liver before, but never in a sandwich– all the same, its creamy taste was a stark contrast to the crusty bread, thereby making for a bold and richly-textured experience in my taste buds!
I finished my lunch and, feeling better-rested, continued my journey to Croix-Rousse, soon enough climbing the gradual hill up to the top. Like last time, I returned to the montée de la Grande Côte, which is the cobblestone stretch that’s both touristy and practical to take you directly up to the neighborhood. Along the way, I decided to scour some traboules which are reputed to be on the street, and eventually I found them. It was a bit strange, since this particular one was located in a seemingly-modern and residential courtyard, with a little playground and all. Strange as it was, nevertheless it made for an interesting discovery.
Finally, I arrived at the top of the hill and headed over to my next and final site to visit for the day: le jardin Rosa Mir. I’d previously wanted to see this obscure, but fantastic-looking garden the last time I was in Lyon, but it happens to be that it’s only open on Saturday afternoons to the public. I hadn’t gone on a Saturday last time, so this time around, I made it my goal to go on the “right day” to check out its beauty before it closed its doors for the winter season– funny enough, I’d gone on the last Saturday before its closure, so I was so happy that timing worked out!
Aka “the secret garden,” le jardin Rosa Mir is truly a hidden gem of Lyon– not too many tourists know about it and in fact, I hadn’t known about it until I read up on a blogger’s own visit there. I was blown away by the gorgeous photos online, and promised myself to go there when I had the opportunity to do so. Really, it’s quite hidden, as it’s located inside an obscured alleyway on a busy street, with only a small sign to indicate its presence. Admission is free, and I was surprised to already find a considerable group of people (around 20) queuing up to get a glimpse of this beautiful work of art, constructed back in the 1930’s by a Spanish tile and bricklayer and dedicated to his mother afterwards, hence the name “Rosa Mir.”
We were ushered inside ten people at a time, and I spent about half an hour weaving through the narrow walkways filled with symmetrical columns made of pebbles, boulders, and even seashells! What I found incredibly charming were the tiny succulent plants growing inside the shells themselves, and I was in absolute awe over such a creation. I also accessed the small balcony just outside of the garden to get views of it from the top, before I left in good spirits for the day.
Although it was not quite 15:00 when I finished my visit at the jardin Rosa Mir, nevertheless I decided to head back to my Couchsurfer’ flat. It’d been a lot of walking as usual, so I wanted to rest my feet (and my body) for the rest of the day. More activities were to come the following day, so I wanted to be well-rested for that.
Stay tuned for more of my adventures in Lyon!
— The Finicky Cynic
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