France: We’ll Always Have Paris (but I Liked Lyon Better)

September 18, 2010

Oh France. I liked you so much more than I thought! For some reason pre-Paris, I got myself completely worked up, and was convinced I was going to hate Paris. I thought the people were going to be mean, and it was going to be big and overwhelming, and I would want to leave immediately. Well, of course, none of that was true. Just between the train station and our hostel, two people stopped and asked if we needed help when they saw us looking at our map and scratching our heads. And I don’t think they were just distracting us so a cohort could pick our pockets, esepcially since the first was a grandmotherly looking woman who barely came up to my waist. But who knows.

Paris was wonderful. My favorite museum was probably the Musee D’Orsay, we just loved seeing Van Gogh, Monet, Manet, and my favorite, Degas. For those unfamiliar, a lot of his work is of dancers, both two dimensional (pastels maybe?) as well as small scupltures, which are my favorite. I’ve loved him for a long time, but they had a lot of his pieces and it just reminded me why I loved it.  Also loved the Musee Rodin, (he did The Thinker and The Kiss), the sculptures of his they had in the garden were just so full of emotion and torment, he really saw the inner struggle in people.  The Eiffel Tower was wonderful. I had a moment as we were walking to it thinking “Holy cow, I’m about to see the Eiffel Tower.”  Nothing else had really hit me like that, I think just because it’s so iconic, even little kids know what the Eiffel Tower is, your whole life it’s the Eiffel Tower in Paris, but then to be there touching it? It’s a little surreal.  I have to say however, I don’t know if I really get the whole romantic aspect. Maybe that’s just because I was there with Tiffany (and don’t get me wrong, she’s a very attractive girl and all), but I was looking around thinking “Well, it’s a very impressive structure, and the view is amazing, but I’ve climbed a lot of tall things in Europe. There are a lot of amazing views, and I think there are just prettier places that would seem more romantic than a big metal tower.”

Then there was Lyon. Oh my. What an unexpected jopy that city was.  I didn’t know much about Lyon, but we just so happened to pick a hostel in Old Lyon, and good thing we did.  The newer section is fine, but Old Lyon is simply stunning. It’s right along the river, and the buildings are beautiful, the people are so friendly, and the food. Oh the food! Every day for lunch Tiff and I walked over to a market and bought cheese and fresh fruit, and then went to a bakery recommended to us to get a baguette and some tasty treat for dessert, and we would eat it outside. It was heaven. The baguettes this place made were perfect, crackling crust on the outside, soft and warm on the inside. They also made these cookies, macarons, and sandwiched in the middle was either Nutella or raspberry jam. I can’t explain why they were so amazing, fluffy yet moist, sweet with a slight almond flavor.  All I can say is I weep at the thought that I might never have one again.

When we weren’t busy stuffing our faces, we loved walking around Lyon.  They have a huge park that is one of the most beautiful we’ve seen.  It has free botanical gardens and a zoo!  The monkeys were hilarious!  This one moved like a little old lady, and was totally fascinated by Tiffany.  There was also a lake with a tiny island in the middle that has some sturcture called Memorial to the Dead, and you can’t see it because the island is so covered with trees.  They way you get to it is by underwater tunnel.  You really want to know what’s on the island, don’t you?  Well, so do I, and I can’t tell you because we couldn’t go in the tunnel.  I fogot to mention that it was pouring rain the night we arrived (like thunder and lightning, which made the walk up the 45 degree hill to our hostel super awesome). As a result, the tunnel was flooded, and was still closed when I made Tiff go back on our last day there. It seriously kills me that I don’t know what is on that island. I will get back there someday, and I will find out if I have to build a boat and row there myself. I have to know! 

We also went to a museum about the French Resistance and the Deportation, which was very fascinating.  I didn’t realize the Resistance was really working against their own government as well as the Nazi regime.  They were really on their own, which makes their fight all the more impressive. Lastly, we went to Tiffany’s pick for the day, something she saw on our map called the Robot Museum.  Sounds awesome right? Oh it is, but not in the way you think. Turns out Lyon, in addition to food, is also famous for puppets, and one small segment of that is animatronic figurines, like the Santas you see in store windows at Christmas. And this museum had hundreds of them. All in motion, all the time. It was hilarious! (and less creepy than you would expect). There were actually some very cool scenes set up, including a Peter Pan one, and some pretty impressive motor work.  Well, that’s the gist of France. On to Italy!  Au revoir.


One comment

  1. YES the Musee D’Orsay is so cool. Also robot puppets, huh? Whatever you say.

    Friend, I miss you immensely!

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