Salut tout le monde!
Eleanor has helpfully suggested that my blog should be in french…so apologies to those of you who don't read french if I make it a little bilingual at times!!
Having arrived in Lyon on Tuesday I am now well settled in to my lovely flat in Bellecour, right in the centre of the Presqu'ile (which is the name for the central part of Lyon between the rivers Saone and Rhone). I even went to Ikea on the tram on thursday and am consequently now equipped with bedclothes, desk lamp and other such useful items. Sally has been here for the last two days as well and we've discovered some of the touristy things in Lyon including a rather OTT victorian marian shrine on top of the hill above the cathedral (called la Fourvière), but we have also discovered the market :D. I am gradually getting my bearings on the metro system and soon I will have access to the city's bike network as well, so getting around will be extremely easy. I now have a bank account, so although I don't yet have a french mobile nor a flat contract, I feel like i've made some good progress…
Well, first things first I should introduce you to my flat and to my flatmates who are, so far, my only Lyonnais friends, and who are all as mad as I am (thank goodness for that!)
The flat is the entire second floor of a big old french terrace (with 6 floors) at the corner of a big main road and a little side street full of little restaurants and cafés. Below are a patissier (of which more later), and a big bookshop-cum-stationers. Very useful. We've got tall windows and high ceilings throughout, a big airy kitchen, 6 bedrooms, two bathrooms, two WCs, utility room, broom cupboard/excess furniture deposit place and big living room. The only disadvantage is that we're in a rather noisy spot but it's worth it for the location, and I'm lucky enough to have the only bedroom that doesn't face a road :D.
Mylène, Jérémie and Antonia are all French though none of them originally from Lyon, and they are all at the "ENS" (école nationale supérieur) studying "Lettres Modernes" (=MML). They are the ones we have to thank for choosing this wonderful and enormous flat.
Gareth is from Darlington originally, read french and spanish at newcastle, and this is his fourth year in france, where he studies and simultaneously holds down three or four part time jobs, in private schools and in an irish pub in the old town. He's about to write a dissertation on tony blair, if he doesn't get offered too many other jobs first…
Max is a medic from heidelburg university (but from Munich originally) on an erasmus placement. He plays saxophone and clarinet, has brought the kitchen sink with him in a van (he even brought his drill, just in case it might prove useful) and is currently somewhere in the french countryside canoeing with 6 german girls…!
Lastly, there's Gigi, or Lune, Mylène's little cat. She is very small and gets extremely playful in the early afternoon, but is scared stiff of Gareth's workbag (for no apparent reason)…photos will follow at some point, I'm sure!
Right now, I'm in the kitchen. The brass band were playing in the square about 50 yards from our front door until about half an hour ago –apparently they play for two hours every saturday!-but now that they've stopped, Antonia is doing some harp practice. In true french style, although it's 7pm, no one is even thinking about cooking dinner yet, and we're not too hungry as we had brownies/meringues only an hour ago, from the chocolatier/patissier directly underneath our flat. Mmmm.
My job begins on October 2nd…until then, I've got time to try to get into as many choirs, dance classes, etc, as I can find! More news soon…Thanks to those of you who've emailed/messaged me, hope you're all well and enjoying the end of the vac/the beginning of a new year!