12 of 12 for December 2010

16 Dec

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On the weekend of the 12th, I was up in Lyon with a few other assistants to see the annual Fête des lumières, or Festival of Lights. Since we were out past midnight on the 11th, I took this shot of a colourful light installation around 1am on the 12th as we walked back to our host’s apartment.

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After a very restful sleep, we woke up late in the morning. Our host (who is also an English assistant, in Lyon) had a really nice apartment, complete with a variety of artwork provided by the French subletter.

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Fellow Toulon assistant Vanessa and I headed to Lyon’s Christmas market to experience the local holiday atmosphere. Being a chestnut fanatic, she couldn’t resist some hot wine with chestnut flavour.

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The Christmas market was really bustling with people.

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Since we hadn’t eaten dinner at a restaurant in France for a couple months, we agreed that we would look for a reasonably priced place to experience a Lyonnais meal that evening. We scoped out the picturesque Rue Mercière to find a suitable restaurant.

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Seeking shelter from the cold, we went inside the Eglise Saint-Nizier and discovered this nice candle display on the altar. As per tradition during the festival, the Lyonnais light candles in recognition of the Virgin Mary, whose protection they prayed for during the plague of 1643.

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Inside the church was also this “hands-on” display (pun intended) where visitors express their thanks to Mary and write prayers on their hand outlines.

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Continually seeking shelter from the winter weather outside, we found refuge in a small, infinitely charming café where we got cheap hot drinks and shared a mouth-watering tartine with chèvre cheese and thyme.

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We swiftly scuttled over to FNAC, a big entertainment / book store. We used the display iPads to check our e-mail until the store closed.

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Although the festival officially ended on the 11th, a lot of the illuminations were still up on the 12th. I’m not sure if the Palais de la Bourse is always lit up like this or if it was just for the festival.

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We finally rendez-voused with our host, Maggie, and headed off to a Lyonnais restaurant for a delicious dinner. Our table was at the very back of the restaurant, essentially inside the kitchen. Saucisson chaud in a beaujolais sauce was the main course, followed by a very tasty fondant au chocolat. Only the French know how to eat so well.

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Since it’s very difficult to see major English-language films in Toulon without French dubbing, I promised myself before going to Lyon that I would take advantage of their version originale screenings. Maggie accompanied me to see the new Narnia movie, Voyage of the Dawn Treader (in 3-D). It wasn’t quite as solid as the first two films, but it restored some of the vibrancy and optimism of the first installment, and I quite liked the ending.

I took the above picture during one of the previews. My next 12 of 12 will be in – you guessed it – 2011.

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