A Love Letter to Lyon….

A city worth having an affair with.

La Basilique Notre Dame de Fourvière from Place Bellecour. Place Bellecour, Lyon, France. February, 2015.
La Basilique Notre Dame de Fourvière from Place Bellecour. Place Bellecour, Lyon, France. February, 2015.

I know it’s been about three months since being there (and, my God, has time flown this year) and that I mentioned momentarily in one of my earlier posts about my week long trip to France – a little about what I liked about the city – but I cut myself off knowing that I’d eventually sit down to write this piece (though, honestly, I thought I’d get to it long before now!). Anyway, without further ramblings, here is my write up on the beautiful city: Lyon, France.

If you have ever had the impulse to try your hand at art, Lyon is a city you should definitely spend a few days wandering. Besides the amazing street and urban art scattered across the city—a feature of many growing and established metropolises which will definitely be highlighted in later weeks—the architecture and ambiance itself is enough to make you want to break out a canvas.

La Basilique Notre Dame de Fourvière and the city beyond. La Basilique, Lyon, France. February, 2015.
La Basilique Notre Dame de Fourvière and the city beyond. La Basilique, Lyon, France. February, 2015.

Besides housing historic roman ruins which surround La Basilique Notre Dame de Fourvière, a point which stands out as a beacon on the horizon from most areas in the city below, and makes you want to become a professional photographer, capturing the remnants of the lost world, standing at the wall of La Basilique and looking out across old town, will make you want to have the skills of the greatest water colorists.

Then once you actually make your way down into the streets, alleyways, and various alcoves hidden throughout old town, you’ll need the skill of a mixed media artist. I found myself longing for pastels, oil paint, watercolors, charcoal and an unlimited numbers of canvases to be able to capture all the colors and textures of the buildings I was more than happy to get lost in.

With a lack of those instruments (and quite frankly, the skills with which to wield them), I settled for taking hundreds of photos (which still fall short of what this city is due), capturing as many of those angles, textures, and colors as my camera battery would allow.

Beyond the colors, stepping into the inner-courtyards of the buildings (easily accessed if you push on the doors of most buildings—this never seems to be frowned upon as long as you’re not rude about it!), you discover architectural designs that rival the buildings in a Dr. Seuss book—ranging from organic curves to fairy tale spites, turrets and wishing wells.

Just one of the many fairytale courtyards. Old Town, Lyon, France. February, 2015
Just one of the many fairy tale courtyards. Old Town, Lyon, France. February, 2015

Outside of old town, this mixing of color and artistic feel does not change. Pretty much everywhere (the 1st and 4th districts) between the two rivers running through the city will leave you wanting more to see.

Everyday (despite my tired feet), I found myself running aimlessly through the city, at once trying to get to some interesting point out in the distance, only to be taken suddenly off my path by a much closer part of the city that I must explore and capture before it becomes lost in my quest for my fist point.

It was magical.

When people talk about France, it usually ends with a comment about the French people and not taking anything they say or the attitude they present personally. In Lyon, there was no such worry. While it helps I am a young woman with a smile that tends to charm even the crabbiest person on the street into a chat, walking through the various parts of Lyon, I only encountered the best sort of people; people smiled back at me, others stopped to take in the same view—even the locals stopped beside me to talk about the views which are unlike any you’ll see elsewhere. I was charmed by all of it.

Still, this is a city I felt like I could have an affair with—a very passionate one, but not something more. There is a feel to cities: some places you visit and never want to return to, others you never want to leave, and then other are like falling in love with a stranger that will always be a stranger—they take you by surprise, take your breath away, and make time both freeze and fly away from you all at once, but they aren’t something you can keep—and you are happy you can’t, because that makes it so much better.

Yes, I definitely had an affair with this city and recommend it to anyone passing through.

But, now, since this piece got longer than I expected without touching on all my travel details, I’ll follow up this love letter with more on the sites and dos and don’ts of visiting next week.

From now, travel well, fall in love with new places and the people you find there, and, as always,

This is Leave on the Wind, helping you soar.

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A Love Letter to Lyon….

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