Exploring Lyon


The smellier the cheese, the better it tastes!


The Miners study abroad program took a trip to spend a day in the city of Lyon with other students from our IFALPES school. This is the second biggest city in France and is very different from other places we have visited. We were able to see a big street market for antiques, visit a variety of shops with cheese or pastries, enjoy a cultural festival, explore two beautiful religious establishments, and check out some Roman ruins.

A focal point of the city is two religious buildings that are in eyesight of each other. The photo 1Cathedral Saint Jean is at the bottom of a steep hill, nestled in with the rest of the city. The Basilica of Fourvière graces the top of a cliff in a very spectacular way. The climb up to Fourvière was intense but worth the visit. The basilica has beautiful mosaics, and since it is at the top of a large hill, it gives one the chance to get really familiar with the layout of the city because the views are spectacular. Our tour guide spoke only French, but the longer I am on this trip the more I understand. He explained some interesting information about the basilica’s architecture and art. Later during our visit of Lyon, we walked though the narrow streets with interesting shops in what seemed like complex medieval mazes. We got to see and hear the inside scoop on the city—tagging along with a local guide leads to the best surprises.

The longer I stay in France the more amazed I am about the gorgeous churches. I was able to hear a mass in French at the Fourvière Basilica. I was stunned by all of the mosaics, paintings, and even just the floor plan of the basilica.

IMG_5560Walking across the Roman ruins of an ancient amphitheater is truly remarkable. Step on the stones, climb on to center stage, hike up to the very back, and imagine the grand Roman productions that took place there. Those Romans knew what they were doing with architecture and planning because our group tested how one could simply talk at center stage and others can hear what is being said fairly high up into the amphitheater. The aisles and seats in the amphitheater have clearly stood the test of time for centuries. I can only imagine seeing a stage production and hearing people sing in this ancient ruin back in the day.

What has been wonderful about this whole study abroad excursion is that there is structure but at some points we have some time to explore on our own. Ashley and I partnered up to walk around Lyon. While on a journey back to the bus to take the group back to Annecy, we were side tracked by a huge cultural festival. People from all over the world dressed up in their finest and truly painted a picture of how diverse Lyon is. Many beautiful faces and costumes with dynamic music were parading through the streets. Various art objects, food, and goods were onIMG_5633 display to reveal a colorful feast for the eyes. My particular favorite was the Chinese dragon diving through the crowds and some women dressed up in huge gowns.

All in all, Lyon was a great sample of yet another diverse city in France with excellent food, culture, architecture, and museums. It was a perfect Saturday well spent, away from language class in school. Getting French taught on site, using local dialect and slang, leads to great leaps of learning. It is an excellent aid to the grammar lessons at IFALPES and very beneficial.

Here are links to the IFALPES school we attended and to the IFALPES Facebook page that has all kinds of fun anecdotes.