I left my job, family and country around two years ago to continue my study. I have never travelled to Europe by myself before and I was a little scared. I was to arrive in Amsterdam and then to continue to Lyon. The weather was still warm for early September. Carrying my luggage to my hostel, I couldn’t believe I was in France.
Lyon is a gorgeous city in the Rhône-Alpes region of France. The city has two main rivers, the Rhône and Saône. Its Vieux Lyon, or old city, is one of the most amazing ones I have ever been. Not only that it is filled with restaurants, it also has a lively vibe. There are shops filled with colourful sweet barrels, museums and the occasional street arts.
The first time I explored Lyon, I was with my friends from my masters programme. We didn’t know each other and what better way to get to know someone that to explore a city. With only a map between the five of us, we set our foot in Vieux Lyon starting from the famous Bellecour. We enjoyed the warm late summer weather, felt the cobbled stone on our feet and amazed by the beauty of the city.
One of my favourite places in Lyon is the Fourvière Hill where the famous basilica is situated. You can see this basilica from the city of Lyon, showing off its gold statue from afar. To go up the hill, there is a funicular. It’s a pretty amazing basilica with gorgeous view of Lyon. The area around the surrounding is somehow peaceful and calm, I remember seeing children playing and old people walking in the street.
We came down from the hill by walking. Through the back of the basilica there is a lovely trail. We actually didn’t expect anything but we stumbled upon a small path leading to a Roman theater. It’s an impressive one too. Free to enter, we went inside to see this amazing theater. I am a big fan of the Roman architecture, you can see that this theater has been well preserved.
The rest of my first days in Lyon was spent well in its old town and also lazing around in an impressive park called Parc de la Tête d’Or. This huge park boasts not only its nature but also the wildlife.
Lyon is not only a city with an amazing old city and gorgeous basilica. It’s a city that bonded my friends and I. It’s a city where a bunch of strangers met for the first time, perhaps feeling a little lost and alone like I did. It’s definitely the city where I began my European adventure.
For the past months, I have returned to Lyon twice. The first one was to watch a concert of a great Italian pianist, Ludovico Einaudi, with a good friend of mine. Then, a few days ago I went there to defend my final thesis. Before I defended my final work, me and my two friends spent our time eating the best ice cream in the old city. After the defense, me and a few more friends enjoyed the Lyonais summer weather by eating at a rather posh restaurant and walking around the city. It was such an amazing moment in an amazing city with some amazing friends.
I realized that as hard as my masters was, as many assignments I did, as challenging my thesis was, still the hardest thing to do is to say goodbye. And I did my first set of goodbye in Lyon this week, to two of my very good friends. I spilled tears, I didn’t want to take my train, I really had a crazy imagination that somehow we were stuck in Lyon forever.
However, I am beyond happy that Lyon could be the city that could witness my memories with my friends. The place that bonded me with them and the place where I had to let go of them too. Anyway, if we move beyond my melancholic mood here, Lyon is definitely a place you should visit when coming to France. I love the fact that it is a big city but not as crowded as Paris, but just as charming.
Have you been to Lyon? If not, would you consider visiting it?