Travel France: Lyon

One thing I’ve been noticing is super trendy here in Geneva, or rather one brand that’s super trendy, is Canada Goose. I’m walking downtown Geneva, and I could be in Toronto from the amount of Canada Goose I see everywhere. It is huge. I have two differing views on the matter. The first is that it is so awesome to see a Canadian brand do so well, not just at home but internationally. Canadians, be proud to know that your country’s products are keeping rich people warm the world over.

The other thought is: my god, it is so not cold enough for Canada Goose! Are you kidding me, Genevois. I can barely see my breath outside. I go out in a sweater and my leather jacket, no problems. I usually will throw some mittens in and never actually put them on, but it’s good to have them, just in case. This is what my village looks like today. It’s mid-December.


Just so you are all aware, this is not down-stuffed parka weather. It hasn’t actually frozen yet, not even overnight. Hence the crops which are still growing. I know it’s a Canadian thing to be all tough about the weather, but this really is ridiculous.


Enough about that. We went to Lyon the past weekend. It ended up being something of a comedy of errors. We take for granted that we are so close to all these amazing places, but maybe we took it a little too for granted. Sunday morning, we kind of lazily decided we should drive to Lyon for lunch. That was the extent of our planning. It’s only an hour and a half away: what could go wrong?

Our packing was as lazy as our planning. There was one trip back before we even left the village to grab our permits and passports, just in case. Then we were off. An hour on the road, I had a sudden suspicion.

“Did you pack the stroller?”

A long silence was my answer. Fair enough, though, X is getting big enough to walk a little bit, and we can carry him if we need to. We’ll just not do as thorough an exploration of the city as we might have.

Another suspicion.

“But you did pack his jacket, right?”

Another long lingering silence.

It wasn’t so bad. X had on a really warm sweater, which was more than enough to keep him warm (see what I’m saying about the Canada Goose?) But right there, we knew we would park, find a restaurant, and then leave. That was going to be our first excursion in Lyon. Ah well, it could be worse. We know we’ll go back.

After nearly running out of gas and several wrong turns (the interstates are impossible here – once you are on there is no getting off!), we arrived at the centre of town and actually were able to park. We initially started walking through a farmer’s market set up along the river, but with a rogue almost-two-year-old leading the way, it became very dangerous. Not just dangerous that we could lose our little boy who thinks that darting in between legs and tables is hilarious, but that he would cause a traffic jam when he came to a stop when he saw a tire on the road. So we hustled him into the streets of Lyon, which were much more quiet on this Sunday.


A little too quiet. We enjoy going to France on Sundays because EVERYTHING is shut down in Switzerland, but many stores and shops are also closed in France, so you have to be careful. We did a lot of window shopping and discovered that the shopping here is going to be so much better than in Geneva. I’m actually excited to go back to look in at all these gorgeous high-end boutiques. X was less impressed.


He was approaching meltdown, and without a stroller to throw him into, we needed to find food, fast. Lyon is the gastronomic centre of France, there’s got to be something good, right? Well, something open, anyway.

We did end up finding a gorgeous bistro, after being turned away by many for not having reservations. The place we ended up at – I’m pretty sure it was Bistro de Lyon – was beautiful. And fancy. Like, way too fancy for a toddler, although nothing was said to us.

It became clear, though, that it wasn’t the place for a toddler when we were an hour in of frantically trying to entertain X and only our salad course had come yet. It probably would have been irritating on a regular day, without X along. I guess if you’re lingering over a bottle of wine, maybe? But we weren’t. There was no wine and no lingering. Just a tired toddler getting closer and closer to tears. Ugh. After another hour, we eventually just had to leave, even though we weren’t finished. It sucked, but we didn’t really have a choice. So, the point of this whole tale is that Lyon is probably amazing, but I’m coming back without kids next time!

On our way home, we ran into some extreme fog – we have to drive through the mountains, and they sit heavily inside the clouds. It’s kind of crazy – I haven’t experienced that kind of white out since driving through Alberta blizzards, but it makes no difference if your highs are on or not. You are just surrounded by such cottony nothingness. It took us a lot longer to get home than expected. But we survived our first trip to Lyon. Next time though … I’m planning ahead.


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