More than a month after the event, I bring you the photos of my second day in Lyon with Flippa during the school holidays, mixed with a few from the first in order to make a nice little review of Lyon. Enjoy
I now feel qualified to say that Lyon deserves a visit.
It’s a city brimming with culture, food, and history. Whilst I wouldn’t give it the 3 Michellin star worth-a-specially-dedicated-trip, I will say that if you ever have the chance; take it.
Lyon is thought of by many as THE gastronomic capital of France. The food is hearty, and the city too. I’m lead to believe it’s full of great restaurants, and my experiences so far have been diverse and delicious. From the bouchons to the crêperies, the boulangeries to the cafés, the glaceries to the épiceries. What’s not to love?
There is one thing Lyon boasts that very few others do: traboules! Traboules are passageways that cut through houses, or whole building blocks. They’re dark, cool tunnels with smooth, Gothic roofs; but also include the courtyards and staircases with amazing skyward views, and beautifully coloured and textured buildings. They were built for the people of Lyon to access the Saône river for water around the 4th Century, before the luxurious and lazy days of running water, and allowed the silk workers to run between their workshops and the merchants’ shops. Given the time of their creation, the traboules are found in the old areas of Lyon, nearly all of them are either in Vieux Lyon or La Croix Rousse. In World War Two they were also used to move from one dwelling to another without being seen by the enemy.
The thing about the traboules is that they’re very hard to find. Only a few of them are open to the public, one of which is La Longue Traboule, found between 27 rue du Boeuf and 54 rue Saint-Jean. However many of the others are now shut, as they are passages through still-inhabited apartment blocks.
We pushed and pulled a lot of locked doors before finding ones that were open. It doesn’t help that what exactly defines a traboule is a bit hazy. But we had fun trying to follow the map of blue dots.
And thanks to our adventure we found an amazingly beautiful street in the Croix Rousse. It’s called Montée de la Grande Côte and if you’re ever in Lyon, go there.
The other street which is a must-visit is Rue Saint-Jean. It’s home to many bustling bouchons, more cute boutiques that I can count, the longest traboule in Lyon. It’s cobblestoned and pedestrian, just like Montée de la Grande Côte. And it opens out onto Place Saint-Jean, where we find the majestic Cathédrale Saint-Jean.
Another very unique thing about Lyon, which is another must-see, is the Murals, or Murs Peints. The first we saw was Mur des Canuts, which was also the very first to be made. The goal was to brighten up the otherwise very bleak and ugly backside of a building. I think we can all agree they were very successful. Since the original painting in 1987, it has been updated according to the lives of the people in the painting, who are real inhabitants of the area!
The second and last that I visited with Flippa was Mur des Lyonnais, which is another, smaller but still enormous mural, depicting famous Lyonnais standing on the balconies of apartments. They include Antoine Saint-Exupery, the Lumiere Brothers, and Saint Irenée (full list here).
There are several others, which include Mur des Écrivains, another massive mural dedicated to French authors and their books.
As for some more history, Lyon is also home to Roman ruins:
And Lyon sports some spectacularly magnifique architecture:
Enjoy this quirky statue from La Croix Rousse, roller-skating like many other French.