There is a ritual in the French calendar that is almost impossible to miss. A single event that alters your mood from one of dreaming about ever-lasting summers, to one of deep despair at the thought of frost-bitten hands in the months to come. For people like me who are quite happy to let the sun burn us to ashes like onions on an all-night-burger stall, the spectacle I witnessed last Friday morning was highly disturbing. Continue reading
On their website, the Pilat National Park is described as a local, dynamic, medium-sized mountain range within easy reach of Lyon, Valence and St. Etienne. As I was driving there last Saturday for a walk, the undulating farmed hills and wealthy pockets of habitation drew an unlikely comparison to the Cotswolds. That dollop of quaintness that pleases the eye without ever imprinting itself too permanently on the memory like the snow-covered ridges of the Cumbrian fells do. Continue reading
I currently live in the Second Arrondisement in the Presqu’ile between the Saone and the Rhone. The late night bars of Rue de Marseille replaced by the quaint cafes of Rue du Lac that serve fine wine from the Gironde and close at ten. The fiery mosques transformed into gentile chapels and Norman churches. The only thing that wakes me up are the bells of Fourvière summoning angels on the hill. The heated arguments on the ghetto’s street corners, a distant memory. The rubbish is collected, the baguettes are fluffier and the cars are parked straight. Continue reading
This weekend the Parc de la Tete D’Or became a giant stage for the entire cast of Lyon to act on. Never seen it so busy. Every corner and cranny. Every patch of grass and verge. Every bench, seat and log. Every café, restaurant and bar. Crammed solid. From the wealthy holding up their cold champagne flutes, to the beggars holding up their trousers with cable ties discarded from building sites. Continue reading
After 68 days in the UK, I have returned to Lyon. It was always going to happen so I can’t understand why I’m so surprised to be back.
As I trudged up Rue Pasteur from the station last week with my bags, it seemed a total mystery as to how I had ended up here again. Was I tricked? Drugged? Bundled into a slow moving car. Thrown onto a train with a ticket reading Lyon one way. But whoever was to blame, ‘I was back.’ Continue reading