Lyon came highly recommended by two friends – the previously mentioned David of CCI / Versailles fame, and my pal Urszula (who you might know as The Hidden Bloom on insta).
Unfortunately, my three nights in the city felt more like a rushed day and a half, as I started to show head cold / covid symptoms on the train from Strasbourg. I got a rapid antigen test straight off the train, but as I became snottier and coughier by degrees, I then went and got the full PCR test. So I lost a day and a bit to staring at the walls in my (very cheap and very gross) hotel, isolating before the negative result. To quote French cultural icons B*witched… c’est la vie.
Getting sick in Lyon was a damn shame because, a chairde, it was absolutely banging. I loved it.
I don’t often post pictures of food, but this fish soufflé in a lobster sauce was pure sorcery. It left me speaking in tongues and solving the Riemann Hypothesis. Then came dessert, an exquisite Île Flottante, which un-flattened my feet and enticed me to leave my wife (my wife being the main course).
Lyon is the gastronomic capital of France, famous for its tiny, cosy bouchon restaurants, so named after the tradition of wiping down your sweaty horse with a bundle of hay (fact check that, it’s true).
The Old Town is beautiful, if a rather steep climb for the infirm, amongst whom I count myself (the head cold and the mystery chronic hip pain). I couldn’t get a picture inside the Cathedral as I walked in during Mass (awkward, but not the worst thing that happened to the congregation this week) but above is a picture of the Fourviere vista and the *cable car* that brings you there.
And the Lugdunum Roman Museum down the road. Apparently, the amphitheatre held 10,000 audience members, with a smaller theatre beside it for music and poetry with a capacity of 3,000. Its Peacock, to the Abbey mainstage. Also, Lugdunum was named after Lugus, who is basically a post-Celtic Lugh.
I took a river cruise, which was quaint, and afforded some lovely views of Île Barbe.
A must see, though an understandably harrowing experience, is the Resistance and Deportation Museum. Lyon was the Resistance Capital during Nazi occupation, and the museum is housed in the former Gestapo headquarters (take that, you fascist shitbags).
I haven’t included many photos, as I spent most of my time in the documentary screening of the trial of Klaus Barbie, the Butcher of Lyon. After escaping to Bolivia in the years after World War 2, and then being discovered in the 80’s and extradited to France, he was put on trial for Crimes Against Humanity in 1987. The testamony of his surviving victims is powerful, awful stuff. Watching grandmothers and grandfathers, some of whom were permanently disabled from their torture, take the stand and face the impassive, antogonisingly silent man who subjected them to humiliating violence… it added an extra dose of snot and weep to my already melting face. Don’t miss it, and don’t forget it once you leave.
But we won’t give Klaus Barbie the last word on Lyon. I’ll shortly be posting a blog on the Cinema and Minitures Museum, and the Puppetry Museum. Two exquisite little museums, that require a post of their own.
Next stop? Montpellier!