Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Ants in her Pants in Lyon

Back to our Burgundy trip...
We thoroughly enjoyed our day in Lyon, France following our time in Annecy. After a McDonalds lunch (of course) we walked over the mighty Rhone river. Lyon is a beautiful urban city. A nice rhythm here. It was clean, pristine and full of life. Connor seemed to dance and wiggle all over Lyon so we teased her the whole day that she had ants in her pants, which made her laugh and ask us to GET THEM OUT!

We took a funicular up, up, up to the Notre-Dame Basilica.We stepped off the funicular and BAM the church is looming and lovely right there.This ornate church is very Mary-centered. Everything - floor, walls, ceiling - is covered with fine mosaics. Scenes glittering on the walls tell stories of the Virgin.We said a prayer with a candle and gawked at this place. I would say this was one of my top 10 churches in Europe. The teal and gold motif was right up my alley.The view looking down from the church gave great perspective on this vibrant city.Next up was a meander through Vieux Lyon (Old Town). A charming, colorful place. Lyon offers the best concentration of well-preserved Renaissance buildings in the country. The city was the king of Europe's silk industry from the 16th century to the 19th centuries, humming with some 30,000 looms.
My favorite part of Vieux Lyon was discovering all of the traboules. What is a traboule you ask?A traboule is a serpentine passageway integrated into a building's construction for the silk workers to have a dry passageway and a short cut linking the old town's three main streets. These hidden paths give visitors a hide-and-seek opportunity to discover pastel courtyards, lovely loggias, and delicate arches. Spiral staircases were often shared by several houses. The traboules provided shelter when silk was being moved from one stage to the next.All tourists do is push the door open and the mazed world of traboules are there for discovery. We dared that night to go out to eat with Connor, even with the ants in her pants. And she was a dream. Lucky us. We ate Burgundy's famous escargot at Brasserie Georges. This place has been serving since 1836 and the bustling, big dining room made quite the spectacle.
Connor shows off her escargot clamp - ready for her taste of the French delicacy.
Our little Pretty Woman!
I was originally interested in touring Lyon last December in conjunction with the Fete des Lumieres. Just couldn't make the travel timing work, but it looks like an incredible festival. Here are some images I found online. Maybe one day!The Fête Des Lumières (festival of lights) in Lyon, France expresses gratitude toward Mary, mother of Jesus on December 8 of each year. This uniquely Lyonnaise tradition dictates that every house place candles along the outsides of all the windows to produce a spectacular effect throughout the streets. The festival, which includes other activities based on light, usually lasts 4 days, with the peak of activity occurring on the 8th. The two main focal points of activity are typically the Basilica of Fourvière which is lit up in different colours, and the Place des Terreaux, which hosts a different light show each year. The origins of the festival date to 1643 when Lyon was struck by plague. The municipal councillors (échevins) promised to pay tribute to Mary if the town was spared. Ever since, a solemn procession makes its way to the Basilica of Fourvière on this day to light candles and give offerings in the name of Mary. The event thus commemorates the day Lyon was consecrated to the Virgin Mary.

1 comment:

Louise said...

Lyon is one of my favorite places in France. I'm glad you all enjoyed it too!