After my trip to Paris with my aunt and grandma, I headed off to Lyon which I had heard from just about everyone was a cool place to hang out for a few days. I was looking forward to having some lazy days in Lyon since my trip to Paris was such a whirlwind of getting on and off the metro to see all of the city’s museums and attractions.
My stay in Lyon is what I can only describe as the trip where I lost my dignity, and I mean that in the best way possible. A few not-so-glorious moments for your pleasure at my expense:
- discovering Lyon’s hills while carrying the worst, heaviest, bulkiest, more horrible, wobbly suitcase imaginable ughhhh (in Italy, my mom adorned her The Gold Bitch and she was later disposed of in favor of a smaller, well-behaved suitcase – more on that later).
- sweating like I’ve never sweat before whilst climbing up Lyon’s hills with The Gold Bitch – and lots of cute French boys judging tf out of me.
- finding my apartment building but realizing I didn’t have the gate code, wifi, or any means of communication
- almost crying in front of an adorable old French man who tried to help me, but alas, did not speak English whatsoever.
- finally getting through the damn gate and carrying The Gold Bitch up a ton of stairs leading to, you guessed it, more profuse sweating
- barely getting the front door shut before ravenously stripping off all my clothes and taking the iciest shower until my heart rate decreased to a normal level.
- getting stuck in torrential downpour with a large bag of groceries and having the paper bag fall apart and carrying all of my veggies home in my arms – and getting judged by more attractive French boys (actually this was kind of amazing, because I felt like I was in a romcom set in the early 2000s which pre-teen me would have loved).
- going to my first specialty coffee shop on my Europe 2017 trip and not being able to get inside because I was pulling on the “push” door – then getting embarrassed that I couldn’t open the door, so I pretended to take a phone call until someone else went in, and then I casually strolled in and the beautiful men behind the bar were laughing at me.
- essentially just embarrassing myself in front of a lot of attractive French men
- probably some more stuff that I have chosen to erase from my memory
Aside from all of the incredibly embarrassing things that I actually find funny af now, Lyon was absolutely amazing. I don’t know if it was the sense of freedom that comes with being completely alone on vacation, or if it was just the magic of Lyon itself, but it was for sure one of my favorite stops on my trip. I didn’t plan a lot, mostly just walked around the town and looked at beautiful architecture, ate lots of food, enjoyed the Lyonnaise Airbnb I stayed in, and took a million and a half pictures. I stayed in the center of Lyon, which is less touristy than Old Lyon and definitely where I’d recommend staying. I didn’t necessarily leave the area, except for walking to other neighborhoods and whatnot, but the proximity and walkability is what I loved about staying there. I also had the cutest Airbnb, and one night I decided to cook dinner to get a sense of home. I had the windows open, the rain was pouring, and there was classic rock music playing in the background. The neighbor was cooking something with lots of garlic and butter. It was lovely.
Some things to do:
- Take a taxi from the train station to your Airbnb (jk, kind of)
- Visit Old Lyon – this is a UNESCO world heritage site, and it’s full of great shops and restaurants. It’s a little more touristy than I usually like, but it really is beautiful, fun, and full of energy.
- Esplanade de Fourvière & Fourvière – climb almost 800 stairs to get to the top of Fourvière hill, where you’ll get a panoramic view of the city facing the Soane River. You can also take a funicular apparently, but I did not realize that until later, and honestly, I probably deserve to climb 800 stairs with all the pastries and wine I consumed in France. Next, stop into the pretty church if that’s your thing!
- Parc de la Tête d’Or – this is one of the biggest (the biggest?) park in France, and get this, there’s a freaking zoo in the center of it – that was another accidental find, but it was so cool, and I saw some giraffes! The zoo is free to the public and very open, so it’s totally normal if you just happen upon it. There’s also some botanical gardens and a really peaceful lake to enjoy some ice cream by. I spent the good part of a day here, so if you like the outdoors, I would recommend bringing a picnic!
- Café Mokxa – this is where I had my really embarrassing moment but also my favorite coffee in France. They have such a lovely outdoor area, but the inside is relaxing too. They have all the regulars – espresso drinks, slow-bar, plus iced tea!!
- Le Jardin Gourmand – I had a late night dinner here after searching forever for a restaurant (not because of lack of restaurants, but because I was having a hard time choosing which one I wanted to go to). I had the steak with peppercorn sauce + wine, and there’s a very lovely view of the city from the outdoor seating area.
- Glacier Terre adèlice Lyon – I passed by this place once, and the line was absolutely insane, so I knew I had to come back. Luckily I did, because there was no line at 9 p.m., and I had some amazing pear ice cream! Yay!
- Stroll around Lyon’s center – I stayed very close to Hotel de Ville, so if you walk up and behind that area, you’ll find a large assortment of cool restaurants, bars, vinyl record stores, and shops (Café Mokxa and Le Jardine Gourmand are both in this area).
xo Sara Lynn
*Song of the Day: Grapevine Fires by Death Cab for Cutie