Shrugging on coats, we laced up our shoes, scooped up three dog leashes and headed for the door. La meute (the pack) do their absolute best to restrain from barking, to avoid waking up the entire building at 7.30 am on a Saturday morning in Lyon. With little ‘shhh’ reminders, I can see the effort they are making to stay calm, so eager to please us but fizzing with excitement for a morning walk. I am blissfully in love with this city, a passion that has spanned unrelenting for more than two decades and I am ethereal as I float down the staircase to the front door. Hauling open the huge carved wooden door we are slapped by the sounds of the city. Already very much awake even for a weekend, we find cyclists pedal along furiously, traffic signals interchange and street cleaners open water valves and spray arcs of water out onto the street.
There is a leisure to pedestrian movement for a this Saturday morning and even the rhythmic joggers are fluidly effortless in their elegant sport ensembles. The perfectly coordinated, stylish neck scarf and expensive sunglasses, so chic as they bound past. Close to us on our right is the imposing river rhone, impossibly wide and strong, it slices through the city on its trajectory to the south. We turn to our left and we head for the smaller, romantically weaving river Soane, where there is a delightful morning food market. Our family is spending a long weekend staying on la presqu’ile, the peninsula at the heart of the city, swathed in immaculate, sublimely elegant stores, vibrant restaurants and cafés, parks and monuments. With the delicious promise of possibility that stretches outward from such an early hour, my husband and I revel in the morning walk in this brand new sparkling daylight.
Crossing the enormous Place Bellecour, we nip around the corner to the Rue du Plat, idling to leche -vitrine (literally translated means to ‘lick the showcase glass’, but is the french expression for window shopping) before heading to the riverbank.
The Soane river glitters, and the slight chill in the air makes for appreciation of the rays upon us. As my husband says, ‘the time of year when the sun is still your friend’.
I peel off towards the marketplace as my husband continues to walk the dogs in a more quiet spot.
This river market setting is my favourite place to be on earth. There are no words required and no vocabulary could encapsulate this gift to our eyes, ears and nose.
After passing a half hour strolling and absorbing such beautiful sights, I head to our meeting place on La Passerelle du Palais du Justice. The vibrant market gains more and more attention as shoppers appear and now it is my turn to stand back and watch it all from the modern suspension bridge. I spy my husband still strolling peacefully at water level below. A man who is passionate for boats of any kind, for oceans, rivers, engineering and history, he is in his element in such an environment.
I enjoy the time to look out at many of Lyon’s treasures across the Soane, in Vieux Lyon, old Lyon, that will be my afternoon promenade to look forward to. And to my reader, that will be another posting, deservingly so for its own riches. My husband and La Meute have returned to street level and turn onto the bridge. There is always a magic in seeing the joy on old Chausson’s face whenever he finds again his Maman. I am sure my expression is quite similar, my happiness is the same.