Our experience in Lyon, France

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In September 2015, we lived in Lyon France.

Lyon is a city of 500,000 people with many places to live, but the most central and lively is Presqu’ile, or peninsula – a sliver of land between the Rhone and Saone rivers, with restaurants, theaters, shops, museums, and cafes all within walking distance.

More Intoxicating than Paris

A feature article in the October, 2014 issue of International Living magazine says French people in general prefer living in Lyon to Paris! “Situated at the confluence of the Saone and Rhone rivers in east-central France, [Lyon] has an intoxicating languid feeling that Paris just doesn’t have.”

Reading this article convinced me Lyon needed to be our home for our month of memories in France and nearby Switzerland. Alicia’s read of the article sealed the deal.

To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all. – Oscar wilde

Our Palace in Lyon

Knowing that our great friends would join us for a week, mid-month, I searched for a two-bedroom apartment with two baths. Given most of the apartments in the Presqu’ile are in 18-19th century buildings, finding a two bath unit was almost impossible – very expensive and truthfully, not as well located nor as nice.

aptLocation and style won, and we chose a one bath but with a separate toilet room with small sink adjacent to the shower/bathroom. Sharing the bathroom was fine as we worked out morning and evening shower schedules.

The apartment was a block from the Place Bellecour, a vast public square the size of a city block, where festivals and exhibits are held throughout the year. It was very modern and the beds were comfy. I was able to secure a month’s rental for 2500€, a 17% discount from the monthly rate and 35% over the weekly rate. Our car, a Hyundai SUV from EuropCar sourced directly, cost $489.

Parking was an initial concern. However, since we were renting for a month, I was able to negotiate with the owner to “sell” us their annual parking pass for 100€, a 50% discount, (and still providing them sufficient funds to park in public lots when they needed to bring us weekly clean towels and sheets as well as conduct their regular shopping etc. trips from their home in the “suburbs”). The parking lot was two just blocks from the apartment and convenient. Otherwise, public parking would have been at least 100€ per week.

Exploring Our Neighborhood

alleyThe early September weather was delightful: upper 70s during the day and almost chilly at night. At first we explored the area adjacent to our apartment, walking everywhere. We found high-end shopping, a bakery, a restaurant alley offering a variety of cuisines, a Carrefour light grocery store, and a Nicholas wine store. I introduced myself at the wine store using my best French (Je m’apelle Michael) and we were off and running – because the guy, a Michael too, spoke English.

I explained what I like in red, and he matched me up with an 18€ bottle of Bordeaux on sale for 12€. When I asked for a Chardonnay for Alicia, Michael grinned and pointed me to a 5€ bottle he said was outstanding. Both were great and I felt like I had a new best friend for the month.