Valentine’s Day in Lyon

Tyler and I spent a lovely Valentine’s weekend in Lyon, France (despite both catching colds from the freezing weather). In terms of gifts to one another, we’re more in the camp of “don’t buy things, buy experiences.” For us, this usually means travel.

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Opting to maximize our vacation time and minimize cost, we left Paris at 6AM Saturday morning and returned around 1AM Monday morning. It was a straight 2-hour train ride, most of which I spent completely passed out on Tyler’s lap (I may have overdosed on the cough syrup). We stayed in a gorgeous two-bedroom loft with huge windows overlooking downtown Lyon. At only 55 EUR per night through airbnb, it was quite a steal.

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Dress: Sandro

I found the perfect Valentine’s dress during the winter sales in France. I love the ready-to-wear lines in Paris, some of my favorites being Sandro, Maje, Claudie Pierlot, and Zadig & Voltaire. We get some of these brands in the States, but the selection is so much better in France. In Paris, especially at stores like Printemps, clothing is displayed like artwork in a museum. Sandro is a winner for me with their simple, lacy, and elegant designs. Perfect tea dresses. With so many pretty things to buy here, budgeting sure is difficult!

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Speaking of beautiful things, Tyler took me to see a live organ performance of Mendelssohn at the Basilica of Notre-Dame de Fourvière. We rode the tram up to this church on top of the hill, which also overlooked the city of Lyon. I spent the entire concert admiring the intricate details of the church walls. I’m certain my mom would have shed a tear from the beauty of the music and interior design. Many of the churches in France offer free organ performances, and we plan to visit more of them back in Paris.

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Entrance to the Botanical Gardens

We also spent a nice afternoon at the grand Parc de la Tête d’Or, which is Lyon’s version of Central Park. It has a large greenhouse and botanical garden, which I’m sure are much prettier during warmer parts of the year. There is also a carousel (there are sooo many carousels in France), a lake where you can rent rowboats, cafes, and even a zoo. I think we achieved ~27,000 steps that day just walking around and exploring the city.

I found Lyon to be less hectic and much less crowded than Paris. It was refreshing to be in a place where we had a lot of breathing room to walk around and enjoy the city. Tyler’s high school french teacher is from Lyon, so we had plenty of nice recommendations from Madame Worthington. The meals we had were impeccable (and dare I say it, maybe even better than Parisian food).

Looking forward to venturing out to the countryside of southern France this summer. So many more places to explore…