Yesterday we caught the Eurostar to Paris. Although traveling by train is a very civilized way to get around in Europe, going through the Chunnel was a bit anti-climatic. I wasn’t tempted by any stretch of the imagination to pull a Tom Cruise, thus I stayed inside the train in my comfy seat and enjoyed the attention of the French steward who brought around some excellent canapes and white wine. Once we got to Paris, we took a mad taxi dash across town from Gare du Nord to Gare de Lyon to catch our evening TGV train to Lyon.
After an uneventful train ride down from Paris to Lyon Part Dieu, we checked in late at the Mercure Beaux Artes, our usual hotel in Lyon. It’s just a few blocks from the Rue de Maronniers as well as Vieux Lyon. The Rue is a short street just off the Plaza Bellecour that has many different restaurants and cuisines. One of our favorite restaurants (A la Pêche aux Moules) serves seafood and we always dine there at least once whenever we are in Lyon. We went to dinner there tonight and enjoyed some excellent mussels! I did a painting of the bar after our first trip to Lyon in 2009 when our friends, Javier and Angela, who are professors at the University de Castilla-La Mancha in Madrid, introduced us to it. This painting is hanging in my kitchen in AZ now.
We walked through Vieux Lyon in the rain today. We stopped at the Cathedral de Jeanne d’Arc, but the apse was blocked off for renovation. We took the Funicular up to the top of Fourvière and took some pictures of the cityscape below. Very dramatic clouds today with the storm blowing through. The Basilica of Notre-Dame de Fourvière was open as was the Chapelle de la Vierge next door. We also went through the lower church below the Basilica and the Chapelle, both of which also held excellent examples of religious art and sculpture. We got some good panoramic photos of the city and took some obligatory selfies before the rain chased us back down the hill.
There were many art students scattered through the city in seemingly every dry nook and cranny sketching. I shoulder-surfed a few of them and admired their work. It almost made me pull my sketchbook out, but every time I thought about it, the rain seemed to regain its vigor, so dilettante artist that I am, I just took more pictures.
We worked our way down from Fourvière and strolled thru the rain to St. James’s Pub in Vieux Lyon for some Kilkenny Red Irish Ale on our way back to the hotel. This was a good stop and gave me time to begin composing today’s blog, Miss Cyd a chance to catch up on her travel journal, and both of us a chance to dry out, relax a bit, and reflect on our trip so far. Along the line of idle reflective thoughts, for some unknown reason, I realized we have developed a habit of scoping out the best Irish pub in every city we visit and St. James is our place in Lyon. The major exception to this habit is in Paris, where we prefer a Canadian bar just down the street from Shakespeare & Company on the Left Bank, which is not too far from our apartment in St. Germain des Pres. Much more discussion about those pleasant environs will be forthcoming when we return Paris in a couple of weeks after our stay in Provence. I am meeting with some colleagues from ISEOR, who organize the annual European summer conferences with the Academy of Management, tomorrow afternoon, after that the business end of this trip will come to a screeching halt, while the painting will begin in full force.
Joe and Cyd