Sunday, June 09, 2013

Lyon, day two

So - next day dawned... not exactly bright and clear, but it dawned.


Set off for my first goal, the Musée des tissus et Musée des arts décoratifs.  Before that, though, I needed to find a post office.  Left the house, found the Metro again (I'd used it the night before but my lack of sense of direction is legendary), and was at the right stop for both, and the right entrance for both, in 15 minutes.  Go, me.

Then, things became a little derailed.  Walked out of the Metro exit and saw this in the Place Antonin Poncet.


Had to investigate; the colours against that grey, grey sky...


It only got better as you approached it.  Metal flowers on a grid...


Joyous thing; great shame they've put it behind a fence...


I had to wait until I got home to find out what it was; English-language Wikipedia says the artist is Jeong-hwa Cheoi, French-language Wikipedia says Choi jeong-hwa; both agree that the artist is South Korean and that the piece is called Flower Tree.  It was lovely.

ETA advice from a Korean-speaking friend is that it's Choi Jeong-hwa - more strange and beautiful things to be found by following the link.

Had the usual surreal French post office experience; multiplicity of counters but none really seeming to want to sell you stamps...

On the way out though, saw this: yes, you're in Vichy France, love.  More of that later.


I don't understand why the engraving happened like that though; surely you'd left-justify first names and right-justify surnames?  I know that's not the most important thing; but it just made me slightly sad that care hadn't been taken.

After an unfruitful stop at an art supplies shop (they had Herbin paper in the window; I called in to see if they had Herbin ink, but no) I got to the textiles museum:


The Musée des arts décoratifs closes for lunch, so the museum staff were cantering everyone through there first; and frankly, I mostly wish I hadn't bothered.  Lots and lots of slightly dusty Louis [insert regnal name here] furniture and rooms.  There was, however, one glorious room of "contemporary" silverware; amusingly, the Salvador Dali pieces were invisible to someone my height (5' 3.5") because of the strange shelving...  But some of the rest of it... Beautiful.

The Musée des textiles is utterly gobsmacking.  There's a whole room of weaving from Egypt in the 2nd-3rd centuries.  There are the most beautiful Persian carpets.  There are gorgeous Italian vestments from the 15th century.  There are several rooms of  Lyonnais silks. And the labelling is uniformly rubbish, where it's present at all...  But if you get the chance; go.  It's amazing...  I'd give you a link, but it's broken...

Coming out of there, it was time for lunch.  A very good principle discovered a decade and a half ago is "eat where the people who work nearby eat" - when it gets to noon, and all the white vans and utility vans file off at the same motorway exit, follow them... turns out it works on foot, too.  When I saw a number of people file out of the police station and go into the bistrot  next door, I had a look at the plat du jour and decided that confit de canard might be the way to go.  And it was.  Great place; confit, pommes dauphinoises et ratatouilles and a glass of good Macon for 12 Euros.


The afternoon was... different.  My next destination was somewhat more grim but no less interesting.


First reaction was that this looked like any secondary school.  Turns out that wasn't such a bad preconception; it had been a medical school in the nineteenth century and now has a lot of government agencies in it; but the architecture at the front is post-War because the Americans bombed it quite comprehensively because it was the Gestapo HQ for Lyon. Here's the view from inside the courtyard.


The museum itself is excellent.  It's all very wordy, of course; but it has a very large audiovisual element.  You can watch and listen to the survivors of the deportation talking about their experiences.  There were several secondary school parties going round at the same time, and they were obviously very aware of the history; and I was able to tag along with them to a special screening of a documentary on the Klaus Barbie trial.  Not necessarily what you want to be doing on your holiday, but the trial was going on while I was in my first year of college and we followed it quite closely in oral French sessions.  I thought I knew a lot about the trial, but actually seeing the footage of survivors giving their testimony was incredibly powerful and I was glad I'd brought tissues. As ever with French teenagers, very impressed by their total silence and attention when something really catches them; lots of irritating mucking about in the museum, total concentration during an old, slightly scratched documentary film.

Excellent day.  Bought a veal chop and some mustard on the way home...



littlelixie said...

You seem to be having a unique holiday! Never been to Lyon. That flower ball was amazing though. Thanks for sharing!

Mairead Hardy said...

I love the flower tree! The impact of it against the grey sky must have been wonderful! Another stunning textile-y place to visit is the Musee du Moyen Age in Paris. Its where they house the Cluny tapestries. Just amazing. I hope the rest of your holiday is as enjoyable.