A meal suggestion

Thanks for the suggestion auto correct, but Crab Alfredo Fetus is not what we made for supper. I’m aware that this suggestion was prompted by my incorrect attempt to spell fettuccine but I still can’t imagine fetus being used that often to warrant it a suggestion.

France 2019: Around Lyon

It’s time for another gallery of one of our stops in France. This one is a smaller one as we did not spend too much in Lyon. Once we got rested up in Orléans after our flights, we made our way to Le Mans to check out the Le Mans Racing Museum. There will be a separate gallery for that stop as there are a lot of pictures from there (if you’re a car guy you’ll like that gallery) but that will come at a later date. We didn’t spend the night in Le Mans though, once we finished up at the museum we hit the road toward Lyon.

When we rolled into Lyon, it was already getting dark but it was not overly late. Heading into the core of the city we were greeted with this glowing sculpture of, well, a lion.

We checked into our hotel for the night and decided to do what we did in Orleans which was go for an evening walk around the core of the town. We headed down to the edge of the Rhone River and walked wherever the night would take us. It ended up taking us to a restaurant and then bars. Lots of bars.

Just a couple of pictures of a castle, or church, or hotel in the distance that caught my eye.

Just a neat little art installation we stumbled upon. Not entirely sure why it was fenced off.

And this is the last picture that ended up on my phone from that night. I know we wandered around a lot from bar to bar and gave up on the picture taking shortly thereafter. Honestly it was probably for the best, the night got hazy after the first few bars and getting lost on the way back to the hotel was an adventure on its own. Before our bar hopping began, we sat down at a restaurant to have a meal (and a drink of course). While we were eating, we saw an advertisement for a soccer game in Ligue 1 (the top French soccer league) between Lyon and Nice. We realized that the game would be held in Lyon and it would be the next night! In that moment we made the decision to not hit the road the next morning and extend our Lyon stay by one extra night just to catch the game.

To get the full experience we hopped on the tram to get to the stadium, which didn’t prove to be difficult to find as all we had to do was follow the fans. The atmosphere was filled with excitement, there was spontaneous yelling and chanting on the tram and the walk to the stadium.

The Groupama Stadium can hold about 60,000 people and is home to Olympique Lyonnais, the Lyon soccer team in Ligue 1. Construction started in 2012 and the home team played their first game in January of 2016.

As we decided to catch the game last minute, our seats were not the best but we didn’t care as we simply wanted to see the game.

No European soccer game would be complete without hooligans of course. Here you can see the shirtless group which were ranting and raving the whole time. While the temperature was around freezing, I think that they were amply filled with beer and kept their body temperatures up by all the dancing and jumping they were doing.

Eventually we were treated to a bit of a show when the flares came out by the rowdy bunch.

A lot of flares.

So much flares that the stadium started to fill up with some heavy smoke.

We took a couple of videos during this spectacle and I thought I’d share one. This particular one did some justice to the antics of the hooligans.

The stadium became engulfed in smoke so much that after the half time delay there was about another 15 (or possibly 30) minute delay just to let the smoke clear out.

As Lyon was leading 1-0 in the half, they had a chance to nearly lock in their win with a penalty shot by Moussa Dembélé around the 25th minute. I decided to record it as I expected the stadium would erupt with cheers if he made the shot. My cellphone audio didn’t really capture the audio well enough but the crowd did go wild, even with the stadium only half full it was great to hear the celebration live.

Here’s a little bit of a zoomed in picture of the Nice goalie. You can see a bunch of debris on the pitch that the Lyon hooligans threw at the keeper. No one looked to be bothered by this so I imagine it’s a fairly common occurrence.

France prides itself on fine food, there is no doubt about that. However, I’m not a major foodie so I didn’t take much pictures of all the places we ate at. However I did take a snap of this breakfast we had to nurse a bit of a hangover as it definitely hit the spot. Not only that, but given the generous portions the price was more than reasonable at this little mom and pop restaurant.

When we hit the road I couldn’t help myself to take a picture of this unique building. Well after we came back home to Canada I did a little research as to what this building was and it turns out that it’s the Musée des Confluences. If we had a bit more time on our hands we may have made a pit stop there as well as from this site I came across shows that the interior is just as interesting as the exterior.

Our second and third nights in France carried on over the exciting feeling we had our first night in Orleans. I hope you enjoy some of the sights (and in this case sounds) of our stop there.

Ugh one of those day

Went over the girlfriend’s house to help break some ice in the yard so the melting snow can flow away from the house. I think I did more damage than good when I used her shovel… Not sure if it was a weak handle or if I’m getting stronger by playing video games and sitting on my ass.

France 2019: Around Orléans

As a continuation of my previous post and gallery of the Aeroscopia Museum in Toulouse, I’d like to share a few pictures from the first stop my friend and I made when we visited France. While we flew directly to Paris, we did not spend any time there on this leg of the trip. The plan was to get our rental car at the airport and hit the road south to Marseille. We had some destinations along the way that we both agreed to make a stop at but overall we did not stick to a regular schedule, we just went with what we decided to do in the heat of the moment. Shortly after hitting the road, all that travel caught up to us though and we set our GPS to Orléans to spend the night.

This was the very first picture I took in France after we stopped in Orléans (well, I guess you could count my picture of the Eiffel Tower from the airplane window but I won’t). It’s nothing fancy, just the view from my room’s balcony at the Hotel Mercure overlooking the Loire River. It looks a bit depressing, but to be fair it was overcast all day with some rain and it was late November with fall starting to set in. The pictures on Google Maps during the summer look much better.

As we drove into the town, we noticed that there was a massive Gothic cathedral not too far from the hotel we were staying at. So we decided to take a stroll around the core of the city and went to visit it. The Orleans Cathedral (also known as the Cathedral of the Holy Cross of Orléans) is generally acknowledged to be well over 700 years old, though there have been many reconstructions over time due to damage during wars and structural issues. The site where it sits has been designated for a church as early as 375 BC and prior incarnations of the church existed on the same spot. When we eventually made it to Notre-Dame in Paris many days later, my first thought was that it seemed smaller than the Orléans Cathedral, though my friend disagreed. A quick wiki check on my phone showed that indeed I was correct. Notre-Dame sits at a daunting 226’ tall at the peak of the towers and an even 300’ at the spire prior to its partial destruction in the fire of 2019. But it is in fact overshadowed by the Orleans Cathedral which sits at a massive 289’ tall at the towers and a dizzying 374’ at the top of the spire.

Both inside and out, the cathedral is a beautiful example of Gothic architecture. With such a massive building made of stone and little material with noise suppression, you could hear your own footsteps echo as you wandered throughout it.

Colossal pillars and ornate stained glass windows are at every turn and can make you feel fairly small.

Even during daytime, the lighting gives an eerie atmosphere to certain corners of the cathedral. Pictured above is the Altar of the Virgin with some seriously eerie vibes.

My photo does not do this painting justice at all. This piece was absolutely massive, if I recall it was around 20’ wide and 30’ or so tall.

What massive Gothic cathedral would be complete without a massive pipe organ? The exquisite instrument that sits above was installed in 1846 by world renowned organ builder Cavaillé-Coll.

Once we finished wandering inside the cathedral, we decided to continue walking around town a bit. I recall I took this shot simply because around this time it came back to me just how much I appreciate and love European style towns. The historic style resonates with me rather than modern strip malls, office buildings and suburban houses with white picket fences. I love the quaint little shops in the heart of the town over big box stores and massive parking lots. While France is quite modern, it can still feel like Europe hundreds of years ago due to the architecture styling alone.

Perhaps this picture captures the essence a bit better. Cobblestone roads with tram tracks running along them and the massive Gothic cathedral in the distance. I have no issues with western metropolises either though, but sometimes it’s nice to get out of the urban jungle made of glass and concrete skyscrapers.

During our stroll, we stumbled upon the Joan of Arc Center. At first we thought, due to its old style, this may have been her birth place (since neither of us are really up with our French history) but it’s not. It’s a museum that houses all sorts of cultural relics and text regarding her life and times. She was in Orléans plenty of times and visited the cathedral and was housed in a place similar to this building during the Siege of Orléans, but she was actually born in a smaller village known then as Domrémy.

As I had mentioned, it was late November when we visited and in a town square not far from the cathedral, a sort of Christmas fair and market was in the process of being set up. It would have been great to see this in the midst of December, almost something out of a fairy tale given the setting. However, we had to hit the road the next morning to make sure we make all of our stops. Spending just an evening wandering around Orleans was a great first night in France and after less than a day I was already loving it there. That’s all for now, I’ve got plenty of more pictures from this trip so more galleries will follow at a later date.