Speaking French Badly
Trip Start Jun 27, 2009
9Trip End Ongoing
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Where I stayed
Chez Mme Coron
I realise now just how much French has exited my brain since studying it at school and Uni. I'm afraid I'm really not very good at speaking or understanding it! My written comprehension is still quite good and I know enough to order food and ask for directions, but if someone starts up a conversation with me i get that glazed over look in my eyes and then it's all over. *sigh* Perhaps my big dream of becoming fluent in French is somewhat unachievable. But, i won't give up hope just yet - perhaps after a little more than a week in France things will start to come back... maybe...
Anyway, i have experienced so much in the last week that I won't cover it all here. But here's a brief overview:
- Reached the premature conclusion that Lyon is far more beautiful than Paris (because you know, i've seen so much of Paris...)
- Arrived at Mme Coron's fabulous apartment on Quai Saint-Vincent, which is in a building that was once a convent
- Started French classes and met some really great people
- Acheived my one goal for my time in Lyon - hired a bicycle through the Velo-V system (there are stations all over the city so you can pick them up and drop them off wherever you like)
- Rode up the hill of Croix-Russe, where all of the Lyonnais weavers used to live for a spectacular view of Lyon, including Vieux Lyon, la Fourviere, and the Saone RIver
- Went to an open-air jazz concert at the Opera de Lyon and drank a Communard (the local Beaujoulais wine with cassis liqueur)
- Explored the centre of town, Place Bellecour and Vieux Lyon (the 'old town' - wonderful and the Europe of my imagination) with my classmates Sayaka, Alec and Julius, and Mathilde, a french girl who is studying to become a language teacher
- Sampled some confectionery that translated into English is called 'Pillows of Lyon'
- Dined on Ratatouille
- Went swimming with my school friends in a pool alongside the Rhone where men are only allowed to wear speedos or tight boxers (no boardies), for hygiene supposedly, your bags get searched when you go in, there are male staff (security?) in the female changerooms, and you must take a shower and wade through a foot pool before going out into the swimming pools
- Ate Tomates Provencale for dinner with Mme Coron
- Went out to a Lebanese shisha bar, then an 'Aussie Bar' where I introduced my friends to Coopers and Bundy, then a Karaoke bar until a quite a silly hour given I had to get up at 7 the next morning
- Lunched at a bouchon, the traditional cafe of Lyon that specialises in pig parts, checkered tablecloths, Beaujolais wine and entertaining waiters
- Took the Funiculaire (slightly pissy after half a bottle of beaujolais and a few free cocktails) up the steep hill to Basilique Notre-Dame de Fourviere, tried to find the Theatres Romains and then got completely lost on foot, by bus and bike around and north of la Fourviere
- Arrived late for dinner (Courgette a la Creme and Ravioles - more Lyonnais specialities) with Mme Coron and her friend and realised that I had completed misunderstood Mme's plans for the evening so on a whim joined them for an outdoor modern dance / opera called Didon & Enee at the Roman Theatre (I got to see it after all!) and only just managed to stay awake after the previous night's festivities. The finale of the opera was dramatically accompanied by the arrival of a storm
- Picnic in the Parc de Tete d'Or where we got told off by the Municipal Police for swimming in the lake and drinking beer in public - oops!
- Drinks and salsa with my school friends - I danced with a guy who was the best leader I have ever met (thanks to him I actually managed to dance a pretty good salsa! - or maybe it was cha-cha, I'm not really sure...)
And that was my experience in Lyon. I miss it and my friends there already. What a wonderful way to spend the first week of my trip.