Where does the time go? I think I’m going to still be catching up on blogging about France when I am back in the States. I returned from a wonderful weekend in Paris with my friend Helen last night and am leaving for six days in Rome tomorrow. Things that probably won’t get their own blog posts include my visit to Grenoble with Kat and Liza to see the crazy David Altmejd exhibit at Le Magasin. It was an amazing room full of what I can best describe as giant mirror transformer werewolves. There was also the Fête du Printemps in Valence, that featured an odd Texas/Oklahoma area complete with “authentic” outlaws and Indians as well as horse tricks and awful lassoing. Pictures here, here, and here. The festival also had one of the creepiest things I’ve ever seen in France: a performance of vegetable people, like Giuseppe Arcimboldo paintings come to life. I also went to Voiron with Kat and Leslie to visit Jaime to mark her last day in French with a climb up the hill behind her home. We didn’t factor in the fact that it had been raining, so not only was it an incredibly steep hike over slick leaves, there were also huge disgusting slugs EVERYWHERE. But the trek up slug mountain was worth it for the gorgeous view of the Alps and Rhone-Alpes.
As you can tell, it’s been a busy time and I feel like everyday I have to say goodbye to someone. I know that we’ll stay in touch, but I honestly don’t know when I’ll get a chance to see my friends again. I guess I feel lucky to have met so many wonderful people in such a short period of time. It’s only been since September that I stepped off the plane, a stranger to everyone in a city I had never seen.
On my parents’ last day in France, we took the train to Lyon, the second-largest city in France. The weather was a little foggy, but we had a nice walk around the city and a delicious lunch on one of the boulevards. I believe I had a can of my favorite soft drink in France: Schweppes Agrumes.
I had no idea that the day after Easter was a holiday in France, so unfortunately a lot of things were closed. We took the stairs (I’m always going up steps in France) up to the Basilique Notre-Dame de Fourvière and passed a lot of miniature landscapes that someone had painted on the walls.
After admiring the view and seeing the inside of the Basilica, we saw the nearby Roman theatre and then took the path down the hill to the old town. Flowers had been placed at the feet of this statue of Mary, probably on Easter.
Unlike the rest of the city, the old town was bustling. I guess because it’s one of the most popular parts of town, and also because it was the only area open. We went into the Cathédrale Saint-Jean where we saw my new favorite thing in Lyon: the Horloge Astronomique. At certain hours of the day, it has 19 different automatons that move. Although one woman hilariously freaked out when it didn’t work right at 3 pm (according to her watch), it was not at all disappointing and bordered on spectacular. This video is the best I can find, but doesn’t really do it justice. It’s one of the oldest astronomical clocks in the world and was created in 1383. And the music it plays might end up in your nightmares.
Afterward we had coffee and strolled around the streets and passages of the old town before sitting for a while by the river and then catching a train back to Valence. The next day I saw my parents off on the train to Paris and it felt a little odd to still be in Valence.