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Trip Report A quick trip or The Lyon in Winter

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I'd planned this 11 months ago, finding a decent price for a center-city hotel and frequent flyer tickets. When the Festival of Lights got cancelled after the Paris attacks, Lyon would still be a decent enough place to visit, even without the light show/party.

Getting here was mostly simple. A Boston-to-Paris flight on Delta was surprisingly good: the lie-flat seats are comfortale (though unfortunately the winter flight is a single-aisle 757, which makes it problematic for the window-set dweller to exit), dinner was an excellent confit of chicken served expeditiously, and the cabin crew were attentive. The flight arrived in Paris at 5:40am (11:40pm Boston time); I took a day room at the Novotel at CDG (85 euros) for 6 hours, then took the 2pm TGV (train) from CDG direct to Lyon, arriving at 4pm, well-rested. Only hiccup in the whole process was the crazy-long line at immigration (45 minutes in the regular line, or 50 minutes in the Priority lane).

Today was a fantastic day of exploring Lyon. After walking around the place for a couple of hours yesterday after arriving, I gave my feet a break and took advantage of the bike system here. It's the shared bike system that's found in a lot of cities, and it's especially well-entrenched in Lyon. It's cheap (1.50euro/day), bike stations are everywhere, the city is largely flat, and most important of all it's comfortable (safety-wise) riding a bike downtown. Most streets have lanes marked for bikes, and motor vehicles are well-accustomed to sharing the road with bikes.

The weather is being cooperative: sunny skies, and mild for this time of year -- low 40s in the morning, 50s in the afternoon.

I headed over to the Christmas Market in the morning, and it was well worth the trip. Probably 150 temporary shops selling all sorts of stuff -- artisinal gifts, local cheeses and sausages, everything you could imagine and then some. Even a pair of shops selling Quebecois stuff -- maple syrup, Molson's beer, and Habitant soup.

Ham and cheese on a crusty baguette made a perfect lunch. For that matter, it's probably a perfect dinner and breakfast, too. Hamburgers are the fashionable food item these days, and several casual-but-high-end places have opened up. I headed over to one of them, Les Frangins, for dinner, and it did not disappoint, not at all. Ambiance is sort of grunge-chic, and the burgers are worth a major detour.

Another full day tomorrow (touring the city in a group on electric bikes!), then off to Hong Kong on Wednesday,

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