symbol with Quebec City
|I recently had occasion to spend ten days in
France’s second city, Lyon. It was a big surprise as the city is
clean, colorful and filled with ancient churches, art and museums.
Some famous people lived there many years ago including Andre Marie
Ampere the self-taught physicist who defined a way to measure the
flow of electrical current. The AMP laid the foundation for the
science of electromagnetism.
Also in Lyon,
there was a new art form created when the Lumiere brothers built the
first film cameras and projected the world’s first moving picture on
a 99 X 79 foot screen at the 1900 World’s Fair in Paris. Their home
is now a museum open to the public. They made their fortune selling
dry photographic plates and cameras as early as the 1870’s. This was
done in a city known for its manufacture of silk. Obviously there
were other ways to become rich.
But the best way to tell you about this colorful city is
to describe how almost 100 buildings have drawings of life sized characters
painted on one or more side. It is a method to fool the eye called Trompe
In the south end of town there are over 20 such buildings,
a museum and guides available to explain each one.
This is me taking a non-existent book from a painting of
The bikes and my wife are real. The postman and painter
||This is the summer that Lyon and Quebec are
sharing a 400th birthday. There are 69 bears and lions sculpted and
set in parks, and gardens. They are life-sized, very colorful and
will be sold at a public auction next month. They give color to a
city that really doesn’t need it. Lyon is a large, clean and
artistic city that more people should visit, especially if you want
to taste France’s best food offerings. There are some of the best
restaurants available at popular prices. Some go back to the 19th
century where they still make their own brand of beer.
If its candy or especially chocolate you crave,
you’ll certainly be satiated with the huge array of chocolate shops.
But pastry too should be on your want list. There are pastry shop
and the best bread shops on every corner.
The city is built on the banks and beside two fast
flowing rivers, the Saone and the Rhone. There are bicycles at major
spots around the city for you to rent. They can be returned at any
other destination. They are solid, easily found and very
inexpensive. It’s an idea that other cities have now added and it
might be a great idea to stop the belching of pollution on the
streets of North America.
At a recent art competition a beautiful bouquet of
flowers was created. It was colorful, could withstand the weather
changes and it might bring color to a popular corner near the best
restaurant in town. Despite some opposition, the city bought it and
had it permanently installed near a waterfall. It drew my attention
at first glance.
Nearby is a wonderful reminder of the 3rd most popular
book ever printed. Near the bouquet of flowers and the city’s main square
there is a statue of Antoine de Saint-Exupery with aviator goggles and
standing behind him is his 1942 creation The Little Prince. Saint-Exupery
was born in Lyon and the city fathers honor him with a poignant statue. He
lived in Quebec City and New York for a while. The book considered a
children’s story for adults has only been outsold by The Bible and Karl
Marx’s Das Kapital. Saint-Exupery did in an airplane crash in 1944. Pieces
of his plane can be seen at the Air Museum, Le Bourget, just outside of
Paris. Le Bourget can be remembered as the landing spot of Charles Lindbergh
after his flight from New York to Paris non-stop.
The Little Prince & author
You can see many of these buildings from the open-air tour
|Dedicated toTony Garnier, the artist.
Other things to put on your ‘must see’ list include
the Cathedral, St Jean, the basilica Notre Dame de Fourviere atop
the city which is gigantic, the Museum of the Resistence with
pictures of the resistance hero Jean Moulin who did at the hands of
the Nazis, Place Bellecoeur the town center with a monument of Louis
XIV in the center. Also the the Opera, and Musee des Beaux Arts the
Roman Theatres dating back to 15 BC with room for 10,ooo patrons and
the Museum de la Civilization Gallo-Roman.
If you go to Lyon by TGV this fast train (320 kph)
gets you there from Paris in 2 hours. When you arrive at Part Dieu
station you will be in a modern business district. Look for the tall
building that comes to a point. It’s called Le Crayon or the pencil.
There’s a funicular to take you to the city high
point and back.
At the base there are many mansions reminding one
that this was once a banking center. There is a modern subway that
moves automatically without a driver and street trolleys that allow
you to see the city in comfort and silence.
Here’s a full
sized 5-story wall painting.
I was luck enough eat is two of the city’s best
restaurants and to meet titled members who are ancestors of the once
powerful ruling class. I will devote an entire article to some of them in a
future article, entitled The Real Rose.
Arnie Greenberg at: