Life in Lyon

A collection of posts relating to things I’ve done, found, and experienced in France’s gastronomic capital. Ever since I arrived, I have loved Lyon. I spent many hours this year pondered over the difference between travel abroad and living abroad, and I came to the conclusion that long stays abroad are equally as fascinating as long term travels. This year, I…

  1. Discovered that when they say Lyon is hills, they mean that Lyon is hills
  2. Visited many museums for free during the journées européens du patrimoine
  3. Attended a photography art opening
  4. Found an art display in a church
  5. Bought fresh bread and pastries from the bakery…many, many times
  6. Found out that eating cake for breakfast is socially acceptable
  7. Snapped blurred shots of Lyon at dusk
  8. Ate at many Lyonnais restaurants
  9. Went to a salon de chocolat called Chocogou
  10. Experienced my first French grèves (strikes)
  11. Attended a raclette party to celebrate the beginning of winter
  12. Celebrated Christmas and New Year’s abroad
  13. Ate a ton of galettes des rois during the month of January
  14. Celebrated the Chandeleur with crêpes
  15. Attended another a crêpe party
  16. Bought many clothes during the winter sales
  17. Walked up and down the hills by going through the traboules de Lyon
  18. Café hopped, no matter what temperature it was outside
  19. Found lots of lion statues
  20. Watched the sun set over the rivers during long walks
  21. Ate a million bugnes during the month before Mardi Gras
  22. Bought and eaten food at markets all over Lyon (and wandered the book market also!)
  23. Stumbled across a model casting at the Part Dieu mall
  24. Played practical jokes on April Fool’s Day (also celebrated in France)
  25. Found cherry blossoms in a park
  26. Frolicked in the Parc de Gerland
  27. Climbed the prettiest staircase in Lyon
  28. Found the Fort de Bron
  29. Biked around the Parc de la Tête d’Or and visited the zoo
  30. Watched people garden in the Jardins Ouvriers/Familiaux
  31. Marveled at some of the coolest wall murals in Lyon
  32. Ate lots of chocolate around Easter time

15 thoughts on “Life in Lyon

  1. kim says:

    I currently live in California and would like to travel to France. I’ve heard it is difficult to move there. How did you do it? Do you work for a French or American company?

    • minhzie says:

      Hi Kim, thanks for getting in touch. Living abroad is always a little more difficult than traveling abroad because getting the visa and the right to stay is more difficult. For me, since I had a fixed length stay, it was a bit easier. Additionally, my unversity helped me find my internship and helped me through the visa process. I work for an American company, but this past year it was bought out by the French. Let me know if you have any more questions. Good luck with your travels!

  2. kim says:

    thank you for your response!

  3. kim says:

    I’ve been researching some sites about France on the internet. I have to be honest, most of the sites say some very negative things about France and the French in general. Would you say that they are difficult to deal with, difficult to get to know, and rude?

    • minhzie says:

      Hi Kim, sorry for the delayed response. I was in the middle of moving home when you asked me this. I think it’s hard to meet people anywhere in the world. The language barrier certainly complicates matters, and of course there’s the inevitable cultural barrier. In my honest opinion, all stereotypes come from somewhere. With specifics to the French, well yeah, I met some people who were rude, difficult, unfriendly, but I think you’ll meet those people everywhere! It was really hard for me at first just because I knew NO ONE in Lyon. But with time and patience (lots of it!) met some amazing people who I will never forget. People who gave me a glimpse of their culture and taught me many things that I would never have learned if I hadn’t moved abroad. And if you go to Lyon, I’ll give you some of my friends’ emails.

      Were you planning to go LIVE in France or just vacation there? that could change a lot…

      If you want more specifics, let me know and I’d be happy to talk to you by email. Take care!

  4. Ujwala Samant says:

    Hi, you have made me so homesick for Lyon. We moved there unsure because we had heard (from the Parisians, Bordelais and my Breton inlaws) that the Lyonnais were snobby. We rented an apartment on rue Auguste Comte and spent five wonderful years there. The cafe owner would keep an eye on our 10 year old when he returned from school, he learned independence in a safe city. We miss the bouchons, the Guingettes, the Tapis rouge, the chocolats from David Grillet (rue Victor Hugo near Place Carnot) fete de la lumiere, and the marches….our neighbours were wonderful and because I travelled a lot for work, always made my husband and son feel welcome. We still receive emails and letters from our friends. Can’t wait to return there…

  5. Ujwala Samant says:

    Oh and I forgot, as you said, the stereotypes about the French are no different to people anywhere in the world, especially if you don’t speak the language. I’m Indian, my husband is French and we met in Syracuse, NY. Speaking English did not win me any friends when I first landed in the US. After having lived in 5 countries, I think it is a better idea to form your own opinions and go anywhere with an open mind. And people will come to you and invite you in.

  6. Pinay Flying High says:

    I am headed to Lyon next month and this list gave me a lot of ideas on what to see and do there. I am traveling alone, would you say that Lyon is a pretty safe city for a solo woman traveler? Any areas that I must steer away from? 🙂

  7. It warms my heart that someone else has the same feelings of living/traveling abroad. I have the travel-bug too, but I’m finding living in Nice to be oddly difficult. I was looking for insight on the matter when I searched on Google, “living abroad and traveling abroad” and found your post. Thank you! I’m so happy to see you’re still traveling– it’s a bit encouraging to me right now! Let me know if you’re near Nice or back in the states — I go to school in MD. (Small world sometimes, right?) I would like to check a lot of your goals off of my list too. Bon voyage!

    • minhzie says:

      Hi Stephanie! So nice to hear from another American who has lived/is living in France! The travel bug hit me pretty bad so I decided to make a whole year out of it 🙂 I know it can be difficult living in a foreign country (so many different rules and customs in France, no?!) but I hope you enjoy every bit of your time there. It passes by too quickly! How much longer do you have in Nice?

      Unfortunately I’ve been back in the states since the middle of 2011, but I do miss Nice! I spent a weekend there during Carnival 2011 and it was so much fun. Confetti was flying around everywhere! and where do you go to school in MD?? I’m in Baltimore now !

      Best of luck with your travels and hopefully we will run into each other in the future !

      Gros bisous–

  8. Lara says:

    Hi Everyone,

    Minh, thanks for the great blog, I found it very interesting and useful.

    I moved to Lyon just a few week ago with my French husband (I am from Australia) and will be staying here for about 8 months before heading back Down Under.

    As I do not speak French I am finding it is challenging to be out and about on my own. However, I have not experienced any rudeness or patronizing behaviour from the French. Even though Lyon is not as touristic as Paris tourists still come here and Lyonnais are aware that not everyone speaks French here. I try to make some effort obviously and there are always young people who have some basic knowledge of English to help me out. Lyonnais are slightly coldish with strangers and even kids, which may look snobbish to some, but at the same time they are very polite.

    I am looking forward to my Lyon adventure and hopefully I will find it just as interesting as you, Minh.

    Best wishes

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