I was lucky enough to spend my February half term with a French family in the beautiful city of Lyon this year. I have been learning French for just over eight years but my grasp of the language still leaves a lot to be desired. However, it was truly the best feeling when I managed to hold a short conversation in the local bakery and the baker thought I was French! Not Lyonnaise, bien sûr, but no longer with the infallible English accent overriding my best attempts at ordering bread in the wrong verb tense. I can’t decide whether my language skills improved or I merely gained some choice slang words and a realisation that not everyone in France uses the weather as a prime subject for small talk, but I am truly grateful to my host family for the lovely experience and also to the man who didn’t laugh at me too much when I confused the word for ‘tie’ with the word for ‘prawn’. (You can make up your own sentence.)
Did I mention that Lyon is absolutely beautiful? I was blown away by the architecture and history of the city – it would be a crime not to share a few photos.
In between counting the number of pharmacies we could see on one street (four!) and taking long walks in Vieux Lyon, we also visited the Musée des Confluences and the Musée des Beaux-Arts, where I unexpectedly walked into a Matisse exhibition…
On a particularly sunny and warm day, we took the funicular up to the Notre Dame de Fourvière, which was just as beautiful on the inside as it was on the outside and also had a view to match. It was only a short walk from there to the ancient Roman theatre, which was absolutely spectacular in the sunshine.
We took a day trip to Avignon on our final day to visit the Palais des Papes (and to eat Nutella crepes in the picturesque town square). It was a perfect way to finish a beautiful week.
A final note: ‘Les Princes de l’Amour’ is like the French version of ‘The Bachelor’, only worse. French daytime TV provides the perfect motivation to explore the world outside.