I know you are all wondering, “What is a traboule??” Well, I’m going to tell you!
Just not right now.
After our exciting(?) adventure with transportation on Friday the 13th (see previous post), we arrived in Lyon around 2 am. During off season months, which it just so happens to be, transportation in much of the south of France is limited at best. So, we lugged our suitcases about 3/4 of a mile through the below freezing weather. But, hey! Who’s complaining?! We finally made it to Lyon despite our superstitious bad luck.
The next day, Brianna and I made a list of “must do’s” for us to hit. But first, of course, we had to eat. Despite Lyon being known as a famous culinary center, not much was open that Saturday morning. So, when we found an empty, cute little café that was open, we decided to try our luck, and boy, our luck had shifted from the day before. The café owner knew perfect English (which is always a relief), and Brianna had, “the best apple juice of [her] life.” We also tried what the owner called a “flan,” and no, it is not the gooey, pudding-like dessert that may come to mind. It is more of a quiche, minus the crust. But either way, it was really good! And it was the perfect amount to fuel our busy day ahead.
From there, we decided to check out Cinema and Miniature Museum. I have never seen a museum quite like this one. They had everything from an animatronic alien (from the movie “Alien”) to the latex makeup masks applied to popular actors’ faces! The “miniature” aspect of the museum came at the end with rooms filled with the smallest replicas of move scenes. Brianna and I truly enjoyed peeping into little boxes set in the walls that were even smaller than dollhouses. The amount of precision and detail that went into the creation of the sets was mind-blowing.
My favorite part of our trip came next. We went on a walking tour, with a live, English-speaking guide, of Lyon where we got to bond with some fellow Americans (an older married couple visiting from Ohio). We visited our first (of many to come) cathedral in Europe, and learned about the rich history of the city. The cathedral, dedicated to Saint John the Baptist, housed an astrological clock from the 14th century (which apparently stopped working the previous summer… just in “time” for our arrival…). We also learned about the mysterious traboules that you’ve been dying to hear about. These hidden passageways lead travelers from one street to another in between buildings. These traboules were initially used by the inhabitants of Lyon to quickly get to the river and to their jobs at the textile mills the city was known for. They also receive credit for serving as a form of protection from the invading Germans during WWll!
Every time, before we entered a traboule, our tour guide would turn to us and ask, “Would you like to traboule?”
Following the tour, we finished our day with taking the funicular (a type of train that transports you up a large hill) to the top of Fourviere in order to visit the beautiful Basilica of Notre Dame. The basilica combined with the breathtaking view was the perfect ending to a great day of exploring.
Before heading out to the bus (very early, might I add), we stopped to get a praline pastry, what the city of Lyon is known for. To our surprise, the pralines were pink! Apparently, this is the traditional color of the sugar coating applied to the pralines. Boy, was it good! I maaaayyyy have gotten another for the trip home. When in France, you know?
So all in all, I would consider my first weekend trip a success. Of course there were some hiccups, but when isn’t there? Oh! Plus… it SNOWED! (Something you don’t see in Florida just any day!)