I complete the trio of France's three biggest cities and also say goodbye to the country. Well, 'au revoir' would be more appropriate than 'goodbye', really.
Saturday 17 Sep 11 - Monday 19 Sep 11 21 °C
The train trip to Lyon (which has a lion as a city symbol, which is cool given the name) was delayed, but pretty easy once it got going. I had to change trains to get to Lyon Perrache, from where my hotel was just a minute away. I checked in, dumped my bags, had a look at the world news and then went off on a quest, looking for a coin laundry and something to eat. I eventually found both, and while the laundry was closed, I remembered its location for future reference.
I was up and about the next morning, ready to see the sights of the city. I used the very efficient Metro system to get to the Notre-Dame de Fourvière, the third Notre Dame ('our lady') I’d visited in as many French cities. This one also afforded great views over the city, and again, was a pretty good church in its own right.
The weather was looking iffy, though (for the first time since I’d left the UK, I might add), so I went back on the Metro to the Old Town. When I got there, it really was raining, so I ducked into another church, St Jean, and had a look around.
The rain quickly gave way to perfect sunshine (was this Lyon or Melbourne?) and I went to a museum, quite an interesting one but not exactly French, in the Miniature-Cinema Museum. It had sets from a couple of little-known Hollywood films and plenty of costumes and props from blockbusters (there was a raven from Harry Potter, Ro).
They had a room or two showing how sets were constructed, and I learnt that in many cases, they’ll make a miniature, very detailed model, then have the actors put in front of a blue screen. They had some original miniatures, too, such as a bombed Berlin, a couple of spacecraft and even a few model actors for stunt scenes.
Most impressive, though, were the incredibly detailed and numerous miniature rooms by French artist Dan Ohlmann – all were very intricately detailed and realistic, and I’m not even sure that they are used for anything.
I had a sandwich in the delightful Old Town, which was now bathed in sunshine, and caught the vernicular up to the Roman Amphitheatre. This should be called the Really Old Town – it was built just after this bloke Jesus was born. Other than the two amphitheatres, the largest of which could seat around 20,000 in its day, there are also blocks that were probably once houses or government buildings, a series of drains and another great view of Lyon.
The vernicular and Metro took me to the Deportation Museum, open for the last time before it was due to undergo renovation, and so there was a big crowd. Unfortunately, that meant they weren’t letting anyone else in, so I decided to walk back to the hotel, grab my dirty clothes and give them a good laundering.
With the clean clothes safely in my room, I grabbed my Metro ticket and took the train (which even runs regularly on a Sunday evening) to the Park de la Tete, a huge park in the north of town. It was a bit of a shame that I didn’t get a chance to go there during the day, because while I could just make out the deer, the pelicans and the other exciting animals, it was too dark to see much.
My last stop was Place Bellecour, a big square that looks up towards the Notre Dame, and is surrounded by shops and restaurants. Again, it would have been nice to go there during the day, but with only one day in town, there’s not much you can do. I grabbed something for dinner and walked back to the hotel to pack.
The train trip the next morning was a long one, and I had to pay for a reservation on the fast train from Lyon to Paris, and then catch the Metro across town to the Gare de l’Est, from where the international trains to Germany depart. It was a bit of a rush to make the second train, but I managed it, even if I couldn’t get a seat and still had to pay a ‘supplement’.
I left France for the last time, entering Germany for the first.