LIGHTS!

I love fireworks and Christmas lights!  So when a friend said let’s go to Lyon for the Festival of Lights on Dec 8, 9, 10, I jumped.  But.  It’s not really Christmas.  There are nicely lighted streets.  And a light show on the cathedral like we saw at Chartres, and Orleans.  But most of the rest are art installations. 2016-12-09-20-20-21 Beautiful!  But not Christmas.  And that makes sense because the festival roots are a thanks to Mary for saving the town from a plague.  The residents put lights/candles in the windows.  This was normally in September but I think about 20-30 years ago, someone had the bright idea to move it to December… darker… timing for Christmas didn’t hurt.  One restaurant said that in 2013 they served over 3,500 dinners in one evening!  Yup.  Good for tourism.

The crowds are huge!  But they have crowd control down well.  And after the attacks of Nov 13 and Nice, they have cordoned off the entire downtown!  You get shuffled to the check point – just like cattle going on the cattle cars…  And there were police cars parked at all major intersections – no way was a truck going to drive in like in Nice.  The only time I was a bit unsettled was when we were directed around tiny streets to end up in front of the Cathedral for the light show.  I looked around and thought this would be a great place to be trampled if the crowd freaked.  I quickly put that thought out of my mind, watched, enjoyed and got out as soon as I could.

2016-12-09-13-14-09My first time in Lyons, I was introduced to the Bouchon….  2016-12-09-18-49-57The typical Lyonnais café/restaurant.  And had the most interesting and tasty food – honey cheese!  And pistachio sausage with potato sauce.  Something called pimatele or near that – again cheese and potatoes and sausage.  Miam Miam.

 

However, nothing rivals London as Queen of 2016-12-14-18-14-55Christmas Lights2016-12-14-17-00-41!  I went over for a day and evening just for the lights.  I recall as a child enjoying the lights in Regent Street – they were huge chandeliers.  This year – angles with wings!  And lights everywhere I turned on all the small posh streets.  Loved it!

Travel Agency Is Me

I think I may be staying in today.  It’s somewhat miserable day – at least the start is.  Who knows? It may turn beautiful in a moment.

But for now, I sit comfortably.  And think ahead a bit apprehensively.

After the busy summer which culminated in my great niece’s visit, I was exhausted.  And slip in there a trip to London, a major effort to coordinate an exhibit hall for the American Church in Paris, and a 4 day stay in London….  Whew.

This past week I have finally felt rested enough to do things again.  Added to my list of medieval sites in Paris that I have visited.  Spent hours in the musee des arts et métiers – science, mechanics, engineering.  Walked places there were new. Saw the American exhibit at L’Orangerie – with American Gothic by Grant Wood even!

And planned.

Going to Budapest in November for 4 days.  This will be my first eastern European visit.  Check – plane, hotel, bus to CDG.  Have to figure out what to do when I get there, but there’s time for that.

Off to Normandy for two nights – to see the Bayeux Tapestry again and visit the D-Day beaches. When I was last there as a kid of 10, I don’t think there was much more than a parking lots.  Now many museums.  We are going on a van tour.  Check – train, hotel, tour.  And staying on Halloween.  Last year I was in Dublin on Halloween.  The Irish actually had a lot of decorations.  Will let you know about the French.

And off to the south of France over Thanksgiving.  Monteplier.  Check – train, car rental…  still debating AirBNB or hotel.

Even to Lyon for an overnight in December to experience the Christmas Light show which is said to be spectacular.

And now suddenly I am trying to fit in another trip to Vaux-le-Vicomte this week!  I went last year on a bus tour.  Well, not a tour but on a bus.  They drive you there and then after lunch to Fontainbleu.   V-l-V is a gorgeous chateau with fabulous grounds and I have wanted to spend more time there.  Just discovered a simple way of getting there but the shuttle bus trips end on November 2.  Yikes.  Have to fit this in to an already busy week.  Thursday I am supposed to be off to Normandy for the day with a French friend.

Organizing skills are essential for living here.

Feels like a boring post – just a list of sightseeing opportunities.  But I feel quite accomplished.  And whenever I can actually book a trip on the train SNCF, or Air France, or even Eurostar, I am excited.  Last year I had so many problems with using a credit card on line.  OK.  Back to the couch to rest up for the rest of this week (the sun is still not out!)