Watercolor cow by flowarte

One month in France, week two

The first thing I noticed in Lyon was the sky. The trace of airplanes that flew by a few moments before.

Sky highway

We arrived early after a short train ride in which I fell asleep. I can never not fall asleep on a train. It’s my favorite mode of transportation. The soft lull and the silence. The huge windows, the scenery that changes. That feeling of “how things were” vs. the modern TGV comforts. Plus, when I look at my watch and it’s 8:22, departure time on my ticket and the train begins to move, that’s what my dreams are made of.

I love to walk the streets in a new city if I’m there only for the day, I don’t feel the need to go into a museum or visit touristy places.

Lyon, France

Lyon France2

Downtown seems somewhat luxurious. Beautiful boutiques with super expensive items. Eye candy everywhere. We had coffee at Le Grand Café des Négociants and we remembered that sometimes French customer service is still very French. It doesn’t matter how sumptuous a place is, they can always ruin your experience by kicking you out when they feel like it with a subtle “Peut-je vous encaisser monseiurdame?” before you even finish your coffee.

On an aside note: coffee shops in France keep their distinction, either by having a terrace where you can shamelessly people-watch or by combining brasserie-coffeeshop-restaurant, they co-exist with Starbucks just fine, but this time around I’ve seen more North American style coffee shops including name and menu completely in English which is a bit of a pity.

We did stop at the Musée de l’Imprimerie et de la communication graphique. The museum was in renovation and unfortunately the Andy Warhol exhibit begins later in the month but it was fascinating to read and see about the most amazing invention: the printing press. Yup, even more amazing than the smart phone, in my humble opinion.

Vintage product labels
Lovely vintage labels, the kind you pin obsessively on your Pinterest boards

Typography

Typography in France

While Montreal is still buried in snow, here magnolias and tulips are in full bloom:

And of course, bookshops.

 

bookshop2.jpg

You can see the bookseller behind the window. No computer, a life of reading. So satisfying to see.

Finally, I have come to terms that I am not an Urban Sketcher. It takes me a while to summon the courage to open my book and draw and it doesn’t help that I’m with a travel companion who wants to move, move, move all the time. So in the evening I decided to try a bit of direct watercolor (without preliminary sketch) painting.

If you are ever considering becoming a plant-based eater and you still wonder if it’s worth it. I urge you to draw an animal and observe it closely. This dignified cow with her beautiful eyes just made me tear up while I was painting it. Surely it’s not longer in this world.

 

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