Day trip 2: Lyon

Another day trip! This time it was to Lyon, the former capital of Gaul.


As soon as we arrived, Jessica & I jumped on the over-priced tramway (1,50 €) and headed straight to Le Centre d’Histoire de la Résistance et de la Déportation. We were there for over two hours and didn’t even hear the gas explosion. It happened just after noon, not far from Gare Part-Dieu, where we had arrived an hour earlier. We didn’t even know about it until hours later when David called to make sure we were ok.

The museum was cheap (only 2 € for students / 4 € regular price), but it was mostly plaques on the wall that took forever to read because the lighting was so bad. There were some exhibits that had no explanation as to what they were – not as confusing as Mozart’s Geburthaus in Salzburg, but still… I like to know what I’m looking at and why.

Lyon was considered the center of the resistance movement during WWII. The maquis (resistance fighters) were able to hide in and move about Lyon thanks to the three hundred traboules (tunnels) that connect buildings in the old town. The historical center is the site of the old Gestapo headquarters, where Klaus Barbie tortured thousands of prisoners (including famous maquis Jean Moulin) earning him the nickname “The Butcher of Lyon.” He was finally arrested in Bolivia in 1983, sent back to France, and sentenced to life imprisonment in 1987. The trial was actually filmed and you can watch some of the footage at the museum.

The most interesting part of the museum was the large book listing every French Jew who had been deported from France. The day before, I had finished reading Hélène Berr’s journal, and I knew exactly where to find her name. She and her parents had been deported March 27, 1944 – her 23rd birthday. She would die in April 1945 at Bergen-Belsen, shortly before the camp was liberated. Anne Frank also died that same month at Bergen-Belsen.

It was strange finding her name in the book. I can’t really explain it, but finding that one name among 76,000 was a little surreal. It somehow made her journal and her life more real for me.

After an inexpensive lunch (4,50 € student menu), we walked across the Rhône and Saône rivers to Vieux Lyon. Going back much further in history, we wandered around the two amphitheaters built over 2,000 years ago when Lyon was called Lugdunum.


Continuing up the hill in the Fourvière district, we stopped at the famous basilica to take some photos of Lyon from above. The only skyscraper is a hotel close to Gare Part-Dieu, and that nuclear power plant you can see in the background is 30 km away.


La Tour Métallique is next to the basilica. Today it just serves as a TV tower and is not open to the public. I think it looks much prettier at night with all the lights on…


This cute guy is at the entrance of the museum of miniatures in the old town. Lyon’s old town is full of pretty colors. All of the buildings were shades of pink and orange and it seemed so clean.


So Chamonix and Lyon were my big travels for the February vacation. Let’s compare the prices for these day trips, shall we?

Chamonix: 24,70 € train tickets + 38 € Aiguille du Midi + 8,80 € lunch = 71,50 €
Lyon: 21,60 € train tickets + 1,50 € tramway + 2 € museum + 4,50 € lunch = 29,60 €

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  • Justin

    Oh, I love Lyon! I hope you had a fun time. I need to make another trip back soon. I have not been since December.

  • Justin

    Oh, I love Lyon! I hope you had a fun time. I need to make another trip back soon. I have not been since December.

  • Leah

    Yay for mini trips!! I seriously need to go down and see Lyon one of these days!

  • Leah

    Yay for mini trips!! I seriously need to go down and see Lyon one of these days!

  • Zhu

    Lyon is nice! Haven’t been there in ages but used to be one of my favorite city in France. Good food too ;-)I’m currently in Nantes… nice place as well — have you ever been there?

  • Zhu

    Lyon is nice! Haven’t been there in ages but used to be one of my favorite city in France. Good food too ;-)

    I’m currently in Nantes… nice place as well — have you ever been there?

  • IslandGirl4Ever2

    Hi Jennie,WOW!! I am going to see if I can pick up that book at WH Smith this week.. I am sure it is a tear jerker… I remember reading The Diary of Anne Frank as a teen and it had a huge impact on me… Thanks for the link.. Glad you had a nice time in Lyon… Mini-trips are great.. I just took one to Poland… It was fun… We were going to go to Belgium this weekend but I’m still sick so we didn’t go… Also, if you have a chance to go to Giverny in the springtime.. GO!!! I don’t know if you’ve been already, but it’s very beautiful… Ciao, Leesa

  • IslandGirl4Ever2

    Hi Jennie,
    WOW!! I am going to see if I can pick up that book at WH Smith this week.. I am sure it is a tear jerker… I remember reading The Diary of Anne Frank as a teen and it had a huge impact on me… Thanks for the link.. Glad you had a nice time in Lyon… Mini-trips are great.. I just took one to Poland… It was fun… We were going to go to Belgium this weekend but I’m still sick so we didn’t go… Also, if you have a chance to go to Giverny in the springtime.. GO!!! I don’t know if you’ve been already, but it’s very beautiful…
    Ciao, Leesa

  • Au Soleil Levant

    Glad to hear you made it to Lyon! The Musee de la Resistance has it’s failings, but overall I liked it. We had a similar experience with name finding when my family and I were at the Museum of Judaism in Paris. They have a list of names of people from Paris who were deported just hanging out on the wall, and one was the same as my brother. Creepy. Hope the weather was nicer in Lyon than when I was there. It was freezing!

  • Au Soleil Levant

    Glad to hear you made it to Lyon! The Musee de la Resistance has it’s failings, but overall I liked it. We had a similar experience with name finding when my family and I were at the Museum of Judaism in Paris. They have a list of names of people from Paris who were deported just hanging out on the wall, and one was the same as my brother. Creepy. Hope the weather was nicer in Lyon than when I was there. It was freezing!

  • Linda

    I was so impressed with Lyon. What a beautiful city and I think it is so well run.

  • Linda

    I was so impressed with Lyon. What a beautiful city and I think it is so well run.

  • Flat Stanley in France

    I looked for the Journals of Helene Berr at WH Smith the other day but it hasn’t yet been translated into English.. C’est dommage!

  • Flat Stanley in France

    I looked for the Journals of Helene Berr at WH Smith the other day but it hasn’t yet been translated into English.. C’est dommage!

  • Lauren

    hi Jennie! i love and read your blog daily. i am so excited that you made it to Lyon. i lived there aug06-aug07 and love it. it sounds like you enjoyed it. im moving back to France to do the assistantship in sept. are you in the academie of Lyon or Grenoble? bis, Lauren

  • Lauren

    hi Jennie! i love and read your blog daily. i am so excited that you made it to Lyon. i lived there aug06-aug07 and love it. it sounds like you enjoyed it. im moving back to France to do the assistantship in sept. are you in the academie of Lyon or Grenoble? bis, Lauren

Why is Jennie no longer in France?

I created this blog in September 2006 when I moved to France from Michigan to teach English. Many of the earlier posts are about my personal life in France, dealing with culture shock, traveling in Europe and becoming fluent in French. In July 2011, I relocated to Australia to start my PhD in Applied Linguistics. Although I am no longer living in France, my research is on foreign language pedagogy and I teach French at a university so these themes appear most often on the blog. I also continue to post about traveling and being an American abroad.

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