View from the top of Fourviére Hill
I hope you all had a fabulous weekend! Mine was full of fun, but very relaxing at the same time. It was so nice to catch up with Lauriane and to explore the city of Lyon with a friend as my local guide!
I arrived on Thursday during the middle of the afternoon. Lauriane met me at the train station about an hour after my flight had landed. Even though I don’t speak a word of French it was very easy to navigate my way there. We then relaxed, caught up and had some tea before taking a walk around the central part of the city. Lyon is divided by two rivers, Le Rhône and Le Saône, with the central part of the city lying between the two. This is where Lauriane lives, so we walked around this central, busy part of the city for a few hours and saw City Hall and the Opera House, as well as the largest plaza in all of Europe! We stopped at Lauriane’s favorite bakery in the entire world to pick up croissants and bread for the next morning as well as little rum and honey cake treats to enjoy during our walk, which were so yummy. That night we actually went out with Lauriane’s roommate to a Spanish/French fusion tapas restaurant!! Everything was delicious and even better than the tapas in Madrid, since most of them are just covered in olive oil. The French cream of mushroom soup was definitely my favorite! Afterwards we went to a bar that serves all different varieties of Belgian beers; I tried a cherry one!
On Friday we wanted to sleep in after waking up early for school, so we had croissants around 11am. Afterwards we went the pharmacy, stopped at the grocery store and walked around the shopping district for a little bit. Everything was so cute, especially since they already have the new Spring Collections out! Unfortunately, I only brought a carry-on bag, so I had absolutely no room for anything! I’m definitely going to bring a checked luggage when I go to Paris in two weeks though so there’s plenty of room for new purchases. We made pumpkin souffle for lunch and served it with another delicious French baguette and a mixed green salad. After that we headed off for a grand adventure, all of the way up the hill to the Basilica Notre Dame de Fourviére, stopping along the way to take in the marvelous views of the city. Even though it was overcast and a bit cloudy it was still fun. On the way down we stopped for a typical Lyonnaise praline pastry to enjoy while seeing the Roman amphitheater, a few different beautiful churches, Lauriane’s favorite ice cream shop (though it was closed), and the famous traboules. The traboules are old passageways connecting buildings and streets through out the old section of the city. They were used by royals to make secret visits and more recently during World War II. This part of the city was so fun, but after walking around for three hours we decided it was time to head home.
We headed over to a friend’s party afterwards, and it was really cool to get to know some of Lauriane’s friends there. Afterwards we hung out at a different friend’s house listening to great American and French 80’s music! Then randomly someone put on a song by the band Vampire Weekend, which I could not believe! It was so funny to listed to a song with lyrics referencing the Mystic Seaport while in Lyon!
Saturday we woke up later than expected since Lauriane had accidentally thrown her phone under the bed during her sleep, haha. We had a small breakfast and looked through pictures of her trip to Boston a few years ago. It was so funny to see all of the familiar places I haven’t been to in so long; it made me feel so far from home for a second! When Lauriane’s boyfriend Tomas arrived back from skiing in the Alps he prepared the lunch we had planned out the day before! Salmon with a cream sauce and cherry tomatoes baked inside of a pastry dough! It was so delicious and gave us plenty of energy to bike along the river over to the park. Thanks to the wonderful French government there is a free, state-funded zoo inside of the park! We watched the flamingoes, lemurs, giraffes, black bears and porcupines for quite a long time which was so fun and unexpected! Also, I learned that cotton candy is called daddy’s beard in French, haha!! After strolling through more of the park we picked up the bikes again and road back through the city to Lauriane’s neighborhood. We left the bikes there and climbed up the other hill, Croix – Rousse or Redheaded Cross, to watch the sunset over the Basilica and Fourviére Hill.
We went to a going away party for Lauriane’s friend who just got a full-time job in Paris and is moving this week!! These types of parties are called CDI parties in France, with CDI standing for the French translation of unlimited duration contracts. Everyone brings an appetizer or dessert that begins with C, D or I, so it got pretty creative! We made our friend Lucia’s always popular Italian “chocolate sausage,” which was a huge hit. I learned that the city where Lauriane’s parents live is responsible for the production of nearly 25% of French cheese, but unfortunately she’s allergic. The party was a lot of fun, so with only a few hours of sleep, I woke up around 7am to catch my flight back to Madrid!
All in all it was an absolutely great getaway weekend. Thank you so much for everything, Lauriane! You’re welcome to stay with me in Madrid anytime! Ya te echo de menos, amiga!