adventures of a francophile: winter in Lyon

joyeuses fetesBonjour and bonne année from France! I’m back in Lyon, less like a tourist this time than ever, though you wouldn’t know it from all my picture-taking. I flew in three days after Christmas when the rush of the holidays had quieted, but the airports still played Christmas carols; perfect timing as leftovers from the most wonderful time of the year abound in Lyon.

I’ve been here less than a week and already it’s a double-life: though I’m struggling with the washing machine and triple locks to Florent’s apartment, wondering still why the French insist on separating les toilettes from la salle de bains, and making grocery lists–learning what it would be like to actually live here–at the same time I’m still captivated by the beauty of France like I’ve never seen it before; giddy at the sight of fog over the rivers, snow flurries at night, the giant sparkly ferris wheel at Place de Bellecour.

It’s a new beauty, Lyon in January: cold and clear and exhilarating. It’s fierce wind, red-cheeked, under the covers, chocolat chaud, don’t-forget-your-scarf France. chinese lanterns snow


rhone belle vue I’ve been able to spend a good amount of time just exploring toute seule, while Florent works during the day. All those who wander are not lost, but I definitely have been. Getting lost, that is. One day in particular, and as romantic a notion as it might seem, it has rather taught me to never again set out without a map/phone service/some sort of plan of action.

Still, being anonymous in a sea of foreign accents is, for me at least, a feeling of complete freedom, which, combined with refreshing January air, just might be the perfect cure for winter ennui. Lyon en hiver

Otherwise it’s been a happily busy week.

Monday I met Florent’s parents for the first time. His mom gave me a Christmas present and a pair of slippers to wear inside, setting the tone for the evening: cozy, comfortable, welcoming. We ate a classic French winter meal together in the kitchen, foie gras fait maison, mashed potatoes and stew…and a homemade buche de noël for dessert that Florent and I happily took home as leftovers and devoured while watching L’Arnacœur. IMG_6753

On Tuesday, Spencer & Camille and friends visited from the South. It was a great time, crazy to be able to meet up with my not-so-little-brother in the middle of France. We shopped, ate pizza–only Spencer and I able to share the frustration of having to saw at the crust with a fork and knife (what with politesse and all)– and walked around Le Vieux Lyon.

I love France, and I know Spence does too, but I couldn’t agree more when he said: “you know, being here makes you appreciate our country. We have water fountains; public bathrooms. Don’t the French realize that people have to drink water and poop?”

Precisely. saone

Wednesday, New Year’s Eve, I got to meet some of Florent’s friends at a dinner party, leading me to again appreciate the connections that learning a language can bring about: who knew that memorizing verb conjugations would lead to so many new things.

Hosts Thibaut and Alice brought the food out in little courses and we ate like New Year’s Eve royalty: prosciutto and chèvre and escargots and blini with salmon and crab, mojitos, and, of course, champagne. If 2015 goes anything like that meal tasted…it’s gonna be a good year.

des reflets

ferris wheel2

jaune et bleu



Wishing you a happy new year or bonne année,




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