I had a week off from teaching this past October, and I have to admit, it was much-needed. Not only was I starting to feel the workload and stress pile up, but also I just needed to reboot and do something not related to work. That said, I did some traveling within France, revisiting cities and seeing a couple of new ones along the way.
I chose to stay domestic for this vacation, partly due to saving money for international trips later and partly for certain events I’d been meaning to check out. With that said, I started off my week-long holiday in Lyon, where I spent a short, but fulfilling weekend exploring, meeting people, and eating the cuisine lyonnaise.
On Saturday towards noon, I caught the train with another English teacher to Lyon, where we were to meet up with others to attend a wine-tasting expo. I’d gone the year before, and I had a good time to want to do it again this year! Plus, it was free, which is always never a bad thing!
We entered the expo at Halle Tony Garnier where we got complementary wine glasses to taste from– we spent the next hour or so weaving through the stalls crammed with dozens of independent wine producers from all over France. Crowds were at their peak when we attended that afternoon, as we somehow got through hundreds of bodies eager to try wine. My friends and I tried a few, including the standard red, white, and rosé, as well as non-wine beverages like champagne, cognac, and crémant. All delicious, all strong– I admit, I was getting tipsy after just a few tastes!
Due to the overwhelming crowds and perhaps just a sense of fatigue, we ended up stopping wine-tasting after an hour or two. I had a tiring day of traveling, so I opted to head back to my hostel afterwards where I rested for the remainder of the evening.
The following day was my first and only full day in Lyon. I’ve visited the city countless of times, and I’ve pretty much seen the main sites and landmarks. That said, this visit was just a matter of taking it easy, whether it was to revisit old haunts or explore the restaurant/bar life (which I actually haven’t really done so far).
I headed out around 10:00 to Vieux Lyon, where I puttered around the historic, cobblestone streets and revisited a few traboules (small courtyards/passageways once used by workers dating all the way back to the 4th century). It was a Sunday, and I was surprised to see so many tourists and shops open that day, considering that it’s the day of rest for many people– I guess being in a big, French city is an exception!
Soon after, I headed south of the city towards Perrache, where I got lunch at Brasserie Georges, one of the oldest restaurants in Lyon. I’d gone over two years prior, and I wanted to have it again. I arrived just when it opened, and I was lucky to get a seat inside: after all, it was the weekend (i.e. when families, friends, and couples go out for lunch), and within 20 minutes, the restaurant was absolutely packed.
I got a three-course meal for around 22 euros, which is very affordable considering the restaurant’s reputation. I enjoyed the refreshing lentil salad, rabbit leg with mashed potatoes, and praline floating island, all with a nice glass of Côtes du Rhône wine.
Stomach full, I decided to make the long trek (5 kilometers) over to the musée d’art contemporain (MAC) after lunch– partly to avoid paying for public transport, and partly to burn off the filling meal. Plus, it was pleasant strolling along the Rhône river, which made for nice scenery along the way.
I reached the museum and paid admission (6 euros) where I spent some time inside. What I didn’t know was that the museum had temporary exhibitions that basically encompassed the entire museum: it happened to be on Bernar Venet’s work when I visited, and I personally found it too abstract for my taste– all the same, it was nice to have visited the museum, and I hope to return for another temporary exhibition!
Afterwards, I headed back to the city center, where I met up with a Couchsurfer whom I’d been messaging to meet up. We got a drink at a bar near Place Bellecour, and that was about it. I later met up with a friend at night for trivia night at a bar– we didn’t win by any means, but it was good to have experienced a taste of Lyon nightlife!
That pretty much concluded my time in Lyon, as I headed back to the hostel and I had to wake up relatively early the next morning to catch my bus to the next destination during my holidays. Overall, it was a pleasant stay in Lyon– while I didn’t do too much this time around, it was nice to enjoy the city at a leisurely pace. I’ll be back for the fête des Lumières in December, so all the more reason to return!
I’ll be recapping more of my adventures from this October vacation soon, so stay tuned!
— The Finicky Cynic
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