So I went to Lyon for a weekend; it's always nice to get away from the routine for a while, and I love to visit European cities. Lyon is a nice city, France's third largest, and I really enjoyed going there. The weather was nice enough, some periods of rain but also some sunny times to enjoy city walks and café terraces.
Arriving on a Friday afternoon, I started by walking around - crossed the Rhône to Presqu'Île at the huge Place Bellecour, headed north along 19th century boulevards to Place des Terreaux with the Hôtel de Ville, then enjoyed a drink at a terrace in the cosy Place Sathonay, where young people chat and smoke at the café terraces while old men play boules in the square.
I went up the hill by the Montée de la Grande Côte, toward a great view over the city, that even features a miniature Eiffel tower. Went down again and crossed the river to Vieux Lyon near the Saint Paul church, lots of people strolling or just sitting by the river banks on that sunny afternoon.
There were lots of kids around Saint Paul, it was probably the time when school finished. After visiting the small church, I walked around Vieux Lyon, the Rue Juiverie, the Rue du Boeuf, and then climbed the many steps of the Montée des Chazeaux to the hill of Fourvière, to enjoy the gorgeous view over the city, next to the 19th century basilica, appropriately described as an elephant on its back, the kind of huge religious building like the Sacré Coeur in Paris or the Notre Dame basilica in Marseilles.
Going down to Vieux Lyon was much easier than climbing the steps, and I had a glass of wine before dinner at the cathedral square, before eating a great meal at a bouchon nearby - I think it was one of the better meals I had in a long time - quenelles de brochet, Lyon saucisson, joue de boeuf, very good wines.
The next day, Saturday, it was cloudy and rainy. But I was lucky since it stopped raining around noon, so I could walk around Vieux Lyon and go to the Saint Just neighborhood to see the old church of Saint Irénée, and then the Roman ruined theatres. There's very little left of the Romah Lugdunum which, being the capital of Gaul, must have been a big Roman city. The site of the theatre is amazing nonetheless, commanding a splendid view over the city.
Then it stopped raining and I walked by the Opera along the river to my hotel.
On Sunday, I started the day visiting the Saint Jean cathedral, with its beautiful 14th century astrological clock, then went to Place des Terreaux, which was crowded with people coming to some urban races. I walked from there to the Croix Rousse neighborhood, along some very nice traboules, which are shortcuts between main streets, across nice courtyards and stairs.
I loved the Croix Rousse, with its buildings and squares, spent some time in a nice bohemian looking café and enjoyed the views over the river from its slopes. There was a little rain and I came across the Sunday runners several times. Then back to the Presqu'Île boulevards with its beautiful 19th century façades, and perusing the Gibert Joseph bookstore and buying a few books.
What else can one wish from a weekend abroad? Good sightseeing, great food, nice walks and a few good books to bring home and read later. Love Europe!