Monday, June 20, 2016

Vacation Lyonnaise

Saint Jean Cathedral, Vieux Lyon
Saturday.  There were no games today in Saint-Etienne.  No games in Saint-Etienne means nothing to do in Saint-Etienne.  Which means:  road trip.

This being Europe, however, road trip means "train trip."  "Chemin de fer" trip, in French, if you prefer.


So the departure is from Saint-Etienne's functional Chateaucreux station.


Where the gift shop has a replica of the official Euro 2016 mascot boy.


Off to be whisked away to the side trip destination:  France's second city, Lyon.


Arrival was at Lyon's huge Gare de Lyon Part Dieu station.


Lyon looks very French.


Part-Dieu station is well-connected with Lyon's manageable Metro system, so it was very easy to get from the inter-city station on the eastern outskirts on the city, to the Presqu'Ile section, the heart of the city that lies on a thin peninsula between the rivers Rhone and Saone.


This, I believe, is the area around the Hotel de Ville (Town Hall) Metro stop.


This might be the Hotel de Ville:


But, then again, it might not.  But this is definitely the entryway into Lyon's Musee de Beaux Arts, which is considered by many tourist guidebooks to be the most important art museum in France after the Louvre.  Definitely the most important outside Paris.


You enter the Musee de Beaux Art through the sculpture garden, which you pass through before you even pay.  Here's a familiar site:  Rodin's Adam, which we previously saw at the Rodin Museum.


The museum has an impressive collection:


It has a van Gogh:

This is Paysanne au chale vert, from when van Gogh was a little more poor and he had to be more judicious in his use of paint.  Later in his career, when he could afford to buy paint by the barrel-full, he could slather on thick as jelly on bread.


And, yes, the Musee de Beaux Art does have some Corot.  Above is Jean-Baptiste Camille Corot's La Rue des Sales a Montmartre.  (I've given up on trying to type the diacritical marks over all the French words.  Too time consuming.)  Below is a work in a similar vein by the artist Adolphe Appian, Temps gris, marais de la Burbanche:


And here's a Cezanne.

Les Peupliers.  And more Rodin:


L'Age d'airain.


And a Paul Gaugiin.  Nave nave mahana.


And, of course, a Thinker.  I'm beginning to think that you are required by French law to have your own Thinker in order to be open as an art museum.  Rodin's work was endlessly reproducible, which made him sort of the Factory-era Andy Warhol of his day, non?


I really liked this one, even though I am unfamiliar with the artist (which is, let's face it, not a shock).  This is Auguste Morisot, Paysage mauve.

Let's play a game with these next two paintings attributed to the artist Paolo Caliari:



You may have to enlarge them to see this, but the dog in the bottom left corner of each is the same dog!  I'm guessing the artist's dog.  See?



It's a handsome pup, so I don't fault the artist at all.

They also had an El Greco.


Le partage de la tunic du Christ.  And a giant Peter Paul Rubens:


Saint Dominique et Saint Francois de Assise preservant le monde de la colere du Christ.  You can tell it's a Rubens because of the fat chicks.  I keed.  I keed.  I'm a fatty myself so I can make body image jokes.

This is the museum's "flower room":


And this one, Portrait de Miss Sarah Cumberland. is from the artist George Romney.


It can't be THE George Romney, the former Governor of Michigan, Mitt's Dad, who ran against Nixon in 1968 and who was famously "brainwashed" on Vietnam?  Given that it was painted in 1780, I'm guessing "non," but still ...


This is another one that impressed me.  Huge canvas.  Une scene de deluge, by Joseph Desire Court.


Then it was off to the modern art wing.  Not all of the modern art sucked.  I liked these two from Robert Pernin:


The "modern art" wing of the Musee de Beaux Arts did have one Picasso.  Ronald Reagan used to tell the story of the definition of an optimist.  A child sees a room filled with horse[crap] and is all excited.  "There must be a pony in here somewhere," exclaimed the optimist child.  Well, the one Picasso was on loan to Mexico.  There was no pony.  Only this:


Not my thing.  So let's look at a French Bride-zilla and her gaggle of matrons of honor taking pictures in the sculpture garden:


After the Musee de Beaux Arts, it was off to Vieux Lyon, which has not one, but two, funiculars integrated into its Metro system.


We took the funicular to St. Just, to see the Roman ruins that are on the west side of town.  This is all that is left of the Roman aqueduct that fed this city.



Funicular down half-way to see the Roman ampitheater:


The ampitheater remains are more complete than the aqueduct:






Apparently they use them for the occasional concert.  Note the spires of Lyon's Cathedral of Notre Dame peeking over the top of the ruins.



Time to funicular back down to the bottom of the hill, to Vieux Lyon, to look for supper.  Lyon is the food capital of France:


At the base of the funicular station is the Cathedral of Saint Jean:


With a fountain that depicts the baptism of Christ (by Saint Jean-Baptiste) inside the fountain.


This is the tourist zone of Lyon.  So it had tourist shops, such as this candy shop that sold giant marshmallow strawberries and bananas.


The banana had the taste and texture of circus peanuts.  If circus peanuts were good.  These were great.


Down by the River Saone, this is the sculpture The Weight of Oneself.  This view includes Croats in chequys.


The view above is sans Croat.

Dinner was at the Auberge Rabalais.  Main course was a Lyonnaise sausage dish in a beaujolais sauce.  Dessert was Ile Flottante, a classic French dessert involving lots and lots of meringue.


After dinner, the lights of Lyon were growing dim.  Time to head back to Saint-Etienne.


Lyon was so much fun, with so much to do, and so much great food, one day trip would not be enough.

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