What a triste but accurate title: je vais quitter l’Alsace on Friday. It was only this time l’année dernière that I was told my application had been successful; where has le temps gone?!
Mercredi dernier, Chrissy and I took on the challenge to voir Lyon dans une journée, and won. It involved getting up at hideous ‘o’ clock (je n’aime pas getting up early, as is evident from any early-start related post dans this blog) to catch the TGV to Lyon, but was complètement worth it! Nous sommes arrivées à Lyon à 09:52: with c.10 hours to see toute la ville, we wasted no time in heading for le parc de la Tête d’Or. Tout d’abord, we saw the jardin botanique which was trop chaud, given it was already c.26°C outside, but filled with lots of green leafy plants, orchids and some fish; I’m not really doing it justice: since I have absolutely aucune idée of technical terms/names for plants, so can’t describe it very well! Ensuite we saw the deer (and ostrich) qui étaient dans a large paddock/field.
We then saw the “Only Lyon” sign, which also served as a climbing frame pour les enfants.
It was at this point that we began to notice that les Lyonnais had a bit of an obsession with scooters. I am not referring to, as you may assume, small motorbikes. Je parle des scooters, typically used by les petits enfants; ici, age knows no boundaries and les vieux were happily whizzing through le parc on their scooters.
Next, on a vu le parc zoologique (which, as a massive plus, was gratuit pour tout le monde). Il y avait beaucoup d’animaux: giraffes, a crocodile (which was so still avec sa bouche ouverte that we thought it was a fake), a bear, flamingos (et d’autres oiseaux), lions, monkeys, red pandas, bat eared foxes and quelques autres which were hiding from view.
We then wandered vers le lac, spotting some cute ducklings as we crossed un pont onto an island in the lake. On the other côté of le lac, there were lots of goslings, guarded by leurs parents.
After walking around le lac, on a quitté the park and headed in the direction of ‘Le Mur des Canuts’. Notre walk involved lots (so many!) steps up to le quartier Croix-Rousse and getting un peu perdu, à cause de the fairly useless and trop vague map from Google, mais on a réussi! C’était très intéressant: chaque décennie, plus ou moins, the mural is updated to reflect how la vie des Lyonnais has changed.
Ensuite, we headed down towards le quartier Presqu’île, catching a glimpse of la Basilique Notre-Dame de Fourvière on our way. Tout d’abord, we saw Place des Terreaux with the town hall and la fontaine Bartholdi.
En route to Place Bellecour, we stumbled upon a free tasting of Granola cookies; first time I’ve seen this en France! We also had a nosy in one of the traboules; these are small passageways which were originally created for transporting silk through the town.
We picked up un plan de la ville (infinitely better than that provided by cher Google) from the tourist office and headed towards la Saône.
Taking un chemin which was supposed to lead to a viewpoint (and, in fact, turned out to be a playground…with an okay view towards la confluence) wasn’t too much of a detour, as we ended up at les ruines gallo-romaines, near Fourvière. Ces ruines were not exactly l’amphithéâtre de Nîmes, but they were still relatively impressive.
Next, on a continué vers la Basilique Notre Dame de Fourvière; a pretty impressive building from the outside, even if it was covered in scaffolding on one side. L’intérieur was magnifique: the ceiling was insanely detailed and les vitrines were beautiful (cette année has definitely turned me into a stained glass window addict). Pour dire la vérité, it was also nice to escape the sun pour quelques minutes! La vue de Lyon depuis Fourvière was incroyable: le ciel was clear and blue (you could see as far as les Alpes) and the two rivers surrounding the Presqu’île area were sparkling dans le soleil.
Since it was vers 15:30, and nous n’avons pas encore mangé, food then became une priorité. La boulangerie Saint-Jean, à côté de la cathédrale did the job with un sandwich parisien (jambon-fromage). Après plus de cinq heures of walking, sitting in the shade for a bit was rather desirable.
Après avoir mangé, we went inside la cathédrale, which was blasting out (polar-region-fresh) cold air: it was like going into a deep freeze. Since it was trop froid, we didn’t hang around for long.
We then explored le quartier Vieux-Lyon avant d’aller voir ‘La Fresque des Lyonnais’. Le pont that we wanted to cross was fermé, as a film was being shot (j’ai déjà oublié le nom), so we had to take un autre chemin.
Having déjà vu ‘Le Mur des Canuts’, heureusement, ‘La Fresque des Lyonnais’ didn’t disappoint. Our fresco tour concluded with the ‘bibliothèque de la cité’ mural.
We then decided to boire un verre at Café (de la) fontaine next to la fontaine Bartholdi, avant d’aller aux halles. The indoor market (les halles) was huge; though beaucoup de stalls had already closed for the day (it was, after all, presque 19:00) there were still some open, y compris quelques restaurants/cafés. We also decided to explore le Part-Dieu shopping centre avant de partir; it was absolument énorme complete with some magasins qui existent en Angleterre! By the time notre train est arrivé à Colmar, we were feeling assez (read: très) fatiguée, mais cette journée valait la peine!
Thursday was by aucun means a rest day: j’ai fait une randonnée d’environ 13km dans les Vosges, with Laurence (G.). J’ai pris le train jusqu’à Wihr-au-Val, and from there Laurence drove us to Wasserbourg, the starting point for notre randonnée. En route, we drove through a grenouille zone: small plastic fences are set up at the side of la route to prevent frogs trying to cross the road and getting squashed (instead, they are carried across the road by volunteers à la fin de la journée). We got un peu perdue on our walk, due to some dodgy signposting, but apart from that tout allait bien. We saw un ancien abri allemand; ils sont partout dans les Vosges and were built during la première guerre mondiale.
Vers le sommet du Petit Ballon, we saw an old French trench. Depuis le sommet you could see for miles: la vallée de Munster, la ville de Guebwiller et le Grand Ballon, to name just a few choses that on pouvait voir.
On Friday j’ai pas fait grand-chose, which was actually rather nice. At this point I should probably expliquer pourquoi I’ve been having so much fun this week: les élèves de terminale had their speaking exams, and therefore all language classes were cancelled, a seemingly fitting thing to do pour les Français.
Hier, je suis allée à Ribeauvillé; for once, I wasn’t toute seule dans le bus and there were beaucoup de touristes. Chrissy et moi ont fait une randonnée; premièrement we saw the (very secluded!) restored monastery, hidden dans la forêt. We had a look in la chapelle and a wander around the outside avant de continuer our walk.
Ensuite, we took le chemin vers les trois châteaux (but only spent time at one of them cette fois).
Il faisait beau, so we climbed to the top of le deuxième château for une vue panoramique of the Alsatian plain, avant de manger our picnic dans le château.
Après our walk, we had une glace (une boule kiwi, une boule pomme vert pour moi) dans le soleil before j’ai pris le bus back to Colmar.
Aujourd’hui, je suis allée au cinéma to see En Équilibre; un film assez triste, about un homme involved in an accident whilst shooting a film. C’était assez bien (not as good as La Famille Bélier though!) even if some scenes were utterly ridiculous: quelle femme rides a horse wearing high heels? After the film, je suis allée au centre-ville to see les marchés de Pâques pour la dernière fois (and get myself a chocolate marshmallow teacake, having had no success au marché Place St-Joseph hier). I then spent un peu de temps in the park reading my (new) book (Le Dernier Jour d’un condamné, by Victor Hugo, chosen primarily for the fact it is a mere 100 pages long) before hayfever got the better of me et j’ai décidé to return to mon appartement.
This time (well, sooner) next week, je serai chez moi en Angleterre avec mes proches (having left a fair few lovely people behind here in Alsace).