European Adventures: Lyon, France

The traveling sisters
This past Monday I left Poitiers for the second time since I've been in France. I had a very special mission: I got to pick up my younger sister, Sarah, from the airport in Paris! She is here to spend a week and a half with me in France.

We spent the first few days of our time together in Poitiers. We hosted an American cookout (more on that at a later point, hopefully) and explored the city. It was fun to see Poitiers through the eyes of someone who doesn't live here.

On Thursday, we got up early and headed off to the train station. Our destination: Lyon, France! I was very excited to take my second trip and she was excited to see another part of France. We took the high speed train (TGV) across the country. While four hours on a train may seem long, it really is a beautiful way to see the country.

A few hours after lunch time, we pulled into the train station, called a gare, in Lyon. We quickly found our hotel and settled in. We had already mapped out many of the places we wanted to visit so we decided to go explore the town.

Because we stayed on the east side of town, we headed west toward the rivers. Sarah was especially excited by the pretty (her adjective was "exquisite") architecture of the buildings.

View over the Rhône River
When we got to the Rhône, it was love at first site. Lyon is gorgeous. The rivers are a beautiful aqua green with walking paths alongside them.

We walked along the river for a few blocks taking pictures and enjoying the view before crossing over to the city center which is located on a peninsula between the Rhône river and the Saône river.

We visited Place des Terreaux and Foutaine Bartholdi first.

Here is Sarah with the Foutaine Bartholdi
Then, in an effort to find the famous silk tunnels of Lyon, we wandered north and uphill. Unfortunately, what we read was wrong and after some fruitless searching we headed back down the hill and south. We walked past Place des Jacobins, with its lovely fountain.

Me at the Place des Jacobins
We stopped for a while at Place Bellecour which is the largest pedestrian square in Europe.

Statue of Louis XIV at Place Bellecour
Unfortunately we chose to travel on May 8 which is World War II V-Day in Europe, so it's a holiday. The French take their holidays VERY seriously. We were tired and wanted food; however, nothing was open. It took us a while to even find a grocery store. When we did, we bought bread, cheese, snack food, and soda. Then we called it quits for the night.

The next day we got up and took the metro to the east side of the city, Old Lyon. After riding the old tram system, called a funiculaire, up the hill, we visited our first museum of the day: Musée Gallo-Romain. It was a really fun museum talking all about the original settlement of Lyon by the Romans and the Gauls. It even had some interesting information about the early Christians in the area.

Sarah was pretty excited to visit her first Roman amphitheater.
Outside of the museum are two preserved Roman amphitheaters. It was very fun to walk around in both.
When we finished at the museum, we walked back toward the tram stop to the Basilica of Notre-Dame. I have been to several cathedrals since I arrived in France, but this one blew them all away. Gorgeous doesn't seem to do it justice.

The Basilica of Notre-Dame, Lyon
Ready for some lunch, we took the tram and metro system back toward the city center. When we arrived, we ate at a little Italian style cafe and had a pizza. Then we headed to the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Lyon (Museum of Fine Arts of Lyon). Inside were lots of ancient artifacts. Sarah's favorite part was the area about Egypt.

We finished our second day in Lyon off with a short trip to the mall to do some shopping and grab Starbucks frappucinos.

Day three started off much slower and more relaxing. When we finally left the hotel, we walked to Lyon's largest park, Parc de la Tête d'Or. We spent a leisurely, morning and afternoon wandering around the botanical garden and the lake area.

One of the many gorgeous flowers at the botanical garden
Crepes for lunch
Now we're on the train headed back to Poitiers. It was a great three days. I'm looking forward to spending a few more days in Poitiers before heading to Paris. Look for another update soon!

Overlooking Lyon
It was a great trip!

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