France

Merci Marie

Fête des Lumières, Lyon, France
So as I’ve mentioned before, I’ve been dating here in Paris (with a little help from Tinder), and dating inevitably means breakups. So after things ended with the French guy I was seeing, a little weekend jaunt to Lyon for the Fête des Lumières could not have come at a better time. I had been planning on going to this festival, which celebrates the Feast of the Immaculate Conception of Mary (8 December), since before arriving in France, and of course waited till the last minute to decide if I really wanted to go. It ended up being an excellent decision, and my first experiences in carsharing- covoiturage in French. I rode down to Lyon Saturday afternoon with three French students, who mostly left me alone after learning that I was American and don’t speak particularly good French, but were perfectly nice and accommodating when I forgot an important check at my apartment and had to turn around (and naturally, I was already running late; I’m sure my parents are shaking their heads at that one). They dropped me off in the city right by the metro, which I took straight up to Vieux Lyon to meet my friend Niki and the people she was with. We were staying with her friend JuanJo, and the festival had brought friends of friends of friends together until we were one giant group of Americans, Colombians, Spanish, Russians, etc. all living and studying around Europe, from Paris to Lyon to Munich to Milan. It’s incredible how just being abroad can bring foreigners together, even if you’re not all from the same country.
We went to the lookout point to take in the city by night, pictured above, but the view that really took my breath away was the interior of the basilica. Perched high above Lyon, the exterior is pure white, but inside is one of the most ornate, beautifully decorated churches I’ve ever encountered. The attention to detail, as well as the touches that remind you that the church is dedicated to Mary- the blue stained glass windows, for example- is absolutely stunning. I couldn’t do much more than turn in circles, trying to take in every detail.
Unfortunately both my camera and my phone died right about then, so I have little documentation of our adventures of the first night, but I made sure my stuff was charged for Sunday night- more photos to come!

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