26 February 2010

i know it's a cliché

Vacations are great, and we've had a fantastic time on this one, but I really think the best part is going home.

Au revoir, snowy mountains! Until next year.

21 February 2010

up in a mountain lodge

Freshly-baked bread and a cup of chocolat chaud.

I don't ski, but I can appreciate the gloriousness of the mountains in the Alps.

I wonder if this is what my father dreamed of, when he was young.

Wish I could share this view with him.

17 February 2010

hint of spring

No, this is not what Lyon looks like today.

These photos are from the beginning of the year, when we had a few snow storms that crippled the city's bus system.

But today, the air feels less severe. Why, it's 9°C outside! Balmy!

I don't expect the temperature to stay this high, but I think the coldest part of the year is over.

I must say I did enjoy experiencing true winter for the first time in three years. Now I'm just looking forward to the arrival of spring. I've already bought a bright pink sweater (in demure and classy 3/4 sleeves!) that's waiting patiently for me in the closet. I do need to find a pair of shoes, though, since all I have are some Ugg boots and Birkenstock sandals.

Ballet shoes, anyone?

10 February 2010

the fleas

Yes, the fleas.

But I don't mind having these fleas around.

In fact, I adore them. I recently found some at Les Puces du Canal in Villeurbanne.

I went with a friend, armed with a tape measure and stash of cash. I also brought my checkbook just in case, although I didn't expect to buy anything big (we don't have that much space in our apartment) or expensive (we're really not an "exquisite antique" kind of family).

This market is visually and structurally divided into several parts. One is the open-air section (Zone d'Exposition Extérieure) where the merchandise is less "bourgeois", but this is where you might find a real bargain. Another is the arcade area (La Halle) where you start seeing things with price tags bearing two zeros.

The warehouse section (La Hangar) is occupied by vendors selling more upscale -- and bigger -- things, and you can literally spend thousands of euros here. There is also a seperate building (l'Annexe) where only furniture vendors are situated. Unfortunately, or perhaps fortunately, we ran out of time and didn't get to go inside.

It's fun to walk around, just looking and taking it all in. I love picking something up in my hand and wondering who it used to belong to and how it was used in that person's home. I love to think about the history hidden in its drawers and between its pages. Would this tea cup be sad if it had to leave France and go to the U.S. with me? How many children begged their parents to read this book?

There are some vendors here who sell things that are not vintage or antique, but merchandise that appeal to vintage- and antique-lovers. Some sell antique replicas that are more affordable. Others sell things they make with vintage material, such as pillows covered with old tea towels and linens.

This booth belonged to a lady by the name of Catherine Durr, located in La Hangar (in the aisle F or its neighborhood, I think, but I can be wrong -- I forgot to take notes).

These dreamy cards and table-top objects are made by Madame Durr herself.  She also carries artistic objects that her husband makes.   

I got to her booth after I had already spent enough money for the day, and I didn't have the courage to ask about her price range. I wouldn't be surprised if it were a little bit on the higher end, but her creations are all really, truly beautiful.

She was very gracious and accommodating when I asked for her permission to take photographs. Here they are, Madame, and I hope to come and visit you soon again.  

Here are two of the things that I very happily brought home that day: a serving spoon that I negotiated down from 25€ to 10€, and a rusted-all-over license plate that I'm sure belonged to a short lady with curly hair who was a horrible driver. It was 30€, but I bought a game board (initially 25€) with it from the same vendor and paid 40€ for the two items.

You can possibly get to this market by public transportation, but I highly recommend driving. The bigger the car, the better, because you never know what you'll find.

09 February 2010

out of tune

I really ought to get my piano tuned.

07 February 2010

lyon on a sunny winter day

Crossing the Saône over to Vieux Lyon, I stopped on the bridge and looked at the façade of the buildings lining the river.

I think they're smiling, those buildings.

05 February 2010

kitty, kitty

According to the sign posted on the wall by it, this little alley way used to be an open sewer. It actually has a name (La ruelle Punaise) and it leads to Montée Saint-Bartélémy, toward Fourvière.

I love its "Les Misérables" look and was seriously tempted to walk up through it, but alas, felt clumsy in my thick winter coat, carrying my purse as well as the camera bag.

I want to come back when it's a bit warmer and walk all the way up to the Basilica from here. The funiculaire is not running until May, so why not?