The Frogmarch

"I've got to pull up my stakes and roll, man." --Jean-Jacques Libris de Kerouac

Monday, March 27, 2006

A Weekend in Lyon

Our first weekend in Lyon has come and was nice to get away from work a little bit and live la vie francaise. Friday night we went out for dinner at a Vietnamese place in the 6th. We have found that either Asian noodles are very expensive here or maybe the French just don't like them--regardless there must be very few Thai places in the world that don't serve paht thai, and we've hit two of them. (Yes, I know it seems strange to come to the capital of Franch gastronomy and eat Asian food, but that's what the fetus wants so that's what the fetus gets. Nothing here is spicy, either, but fortunately I saw a cook heading back into the kitchen with a bottle of sriracha "rooster sauce" so I was able to put some oomph in my noodle-less pho.

Saturday we had some early appointments to look at apartments. The ones we saw on Friday were disappointing (tiny, dreary, run-down) but these were much better. One palatial one just off Parc Tete d'Or we sadly had to exclude because it had to place to hook up a washer. After a quick lunch at home we headed back out to do some shopping and sightseeing on the Presq'ile. I finally bought a Euro-sized wallet at Printemps on the Rue de La Republique (breathtakingly overpriced, and some of the first true snottiness we've encountered here), and we sat outside on the square while Boog ate a giant waffle smeared with Nutella. A band was playing down the way at place Bellecour, and the sun glinted alluringly on the cafe umbrellas.

We also took the funiculaire up the side of Fourviere hill to the cathedral and the Roman amphitheatre, where I cracked my shin badly on the edge of a 2000-year-old orchestra pit while chasing Boog through the ruins. V sat at the upper rim of the theater watching the sunset illuminate the snowly western face of the Alps. (We saw people carrying skis on the Metro all day, returning from day trips to Grenoble, Courchevel, etc.)

That night we ate on the Rue Merceire, an entire pedestrianised street with nothing but restaurants and cafes spilling onto the cobblestones. Jammed with tourists (mostly French) but not at all unpleasant, especially after finishing a beer the size of a fishbowl.

Sunday I got up early (well, relatively) and hit the boulangerie for croissants and baguettes...still warm as I walked with baguette under arm to the corner tabac for a copy of Le Monde. Then I sat in our courtyard and drank coffee from a French press while kitty lounged on the flagstones and the church bells tolled in the distance.

Later, our neighbors Pascal and Anne, and their two boys Paul (6) and Antoine (4), took us on a tour of Vieux Lyon (old Lyon), the part of the town essentially unchanged since the Renaissance. Pascal is an architect and took great pleasure in pointing out the features of the renaissance facades and the traboules, a system of passages through the ground level of many of the old residential blocks. Boog played in the fountain at the Musee des Beaux-Arts while Antoine dropped trou and took a leak in a storm drain surrounded by people, and no one batted an eye.

This afternoon we see more apartments; tomorrow there is a greve (strike) which means I'll have to bike to work...more stories likely to come of that.

I swear I'll have some pictures once I get our home computer up and running.


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