It was Sunday. The sun was smiling happily on us, and the afternoon light was bright and crisp.
I realized it had been a while since the last time I stepped outside just to walk around and look at things.
I had a few hours to spend alone, so I grabbed my camera and headed out.
I love the area between the hill of Croix Rousse and Presqu'île, where the 1er and 4eme arrondissements meet and the slope toward the hill starts.
This area, I've been told, used to be much seedier and was frequented by questionable characters. But that meant the rent was cheap, and cheap rent attracted poor artists who needed big spaces to paint, sculpt, and otherwise create their stuff.
That history explains the many galleries and art studios we see in this quartier today. The vibe is funky and bohemian. I don't quite stick out walking around in my Birkenstocks here, like I do in the 6eme (where high heels and brand-name handbags rule).
Rust, cracks, peeling paint, crooked doorways -- I love them all. I just need to remember to look down every few meters, just to make sure I'm not stepping on something horrible on the sidewalk.
My understanding is that traboules are open to public if the entry is not locked. I still feel as if I'm trespassing, but I have to admit: that feeling kind of contributes to the sense of fun when I'm exploring the old sections of Lyon.
There are many fabulous trompe l'oeil murals in Lyon. This one, perhaps the most famous of all, is called La Fresque des Lyonnais. I don't know anyone on this wall except Paul Bocuse, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry and the Lumière Brothers. There are a couple of benches facing the mural, and it's the perfect spot to sit and take a five-minute break before I continue my walk.
Just by the mural, I cross the Saône on Passerelle Saint Vincent. Lyon has many bridges crossing its two rivers, every one of them having different history and unique character. Passerelle Saint Vincent is one of my favorite -- I like suspension bridges and foot bridges; this one is both.
Whenver I walk on this bridge, I stop to take in the view toward North/West. I don't venture out much further that way from this point, so this view to me signifies an unchartered territory, a mystery. I also like how the river bends when I look in that direction. Elsewhere in the city, both rivers are pretty much straight, but here, the Saône turns quickly to the right and disappears, as if beckoning me to follow it.
Ah, yes, mystery. An adventure.
But not today. My two-hour sabbatical is ending soon and I must head home. I see people fishing and think to myself, hmmm, fish for dinner tonight.
No, the fish isn't from the rivers around here.
And that's probably a good thing.