I spent this past weekend in Lyon visiting my friend Mary, and it was an excellent time! We filled the time walking all over the city, eating delicious regional food, and having quality girl friend time. After being in Paris for about 3 weeks, it was a good time to go explore a new place with a familiar friend.
I took the TGV (Train à Grand Vitèsse - really fast train) to Lyon, leaving Paris at the ripe hour of 6:30am. When I was out the door headed to the train station, it was still dark out. However, just in case you were wondering, Paris is still bustling away at 5:30am on a Friday morning. It really never stops.
The train was a superb form of transportation - it was easy, fast, clean (a novel concept in Paris), and I got to look out the window at the French countryside on my way. I definitely want to take it again on my next trip in France. I arrived quickly to the train station in Lyon, where Mary met me with open arms.
We spent the whole day touring around Lyon, going to the Fourvière Cathedral, walking around Vieux Lyon, and discovering the artsy areas as well. Lyon has such a different feel to it than Paris! The architecture is more colorful, the streets have tons of graffiti on them, there are TWO rivers instead of one, and it's quite a bit more relaxed. Lyon has a lot of character, and I had so much fun walking all around the city. It's almost like comparing a big city in Northern US (like NY) to a big city in Southern US (like Atlanta).
By the end of Friday, Mary and I's feet were really tired! We had dinner with her host family, which was excellent as well! She has two French little sisters, and they couldn't be cuter. They take English classes in school, and were very eager to practice speaking. It was really nice of Mary's family to have me for dinner, as well as let me stay in their darling bohemian artsy home. Seriously, the house is like an art gallery. Mary's room is also at least 2 times as big as mine, and overlooks a very lively street of bars and restaurants.
Saturday was a great and relaxing day. We slept in, and went out for a delicious breakfast of Pain au Chocolat (one of my French favorites) and a café. We hit up the town market, and got to see almost a mile's worth of food vendors. I really love outdoor markets, and this one was up to my standards! There was everything from stinky cheese, to perfumed flowers. This worked up our appetites, so we headed to a Lyonnais cafe. We had huge lunches, and headed home for a post-lunch rest. We made dinner at home, as her family was out of town for the night. Afterwards, we went and saw a movie. It was a great girls' night, and some much-needed friend time.
I headed home on Sunday, and again decided that the TGV is the best thing ever. America needs one. Overall, it was a great weekend! I loved Lyon, and can't wait to show Mary around Paris this coming weekend when she comes.
A few of my pictures from Lyon:
Cathedral Fourvière and the Basilica at night
Mary and I making faces on the way up to Fourvière