Les Enfants en Lyon

We loved having the Donahues visit us in Lyon! We saw a whole new side of the city through their eyes. Mainly – playgrounds!!!

There are so many of them, pretty much every few blocks which kept all of us very happy. My nephew Owen, 3, spoke English to his new friends and they spoke French back to him and it seemed like they completely understood one another. Max, 8, and Lucy, 5, got translation assistance from Téa. One girl, intrigued by Max’s full camouflage outfit, wanted to know, “Why is he wearing that?” Whether she was questioning his fashion sense or wondering if he was a child soldier we’ll never know.

We also took a few rides on a carousel in honor of Gramma, who loves them…

And enjoyed the rocks and pools along the river, which up until now we had only strolled past…

Here’s a classic Lyonnaise tourist shot of Lucy and Téa from the cathedral overlooking the city…

IMG_0043Anytime he wasn’t playing, sleeping or eating a baguette, Max was reading. As a reading specialist, it makes me so happy to see my nephew open up a book anytime, anywhere…

Kristen found a totally charming apartment with a terrace overlooking French rooftops on AirB&B.

The kids were thrilled because the family had TONS of toys. I told Kristen, who is a bit of a minimalist like me, that as tempting as it would be for her, she was not to sort, organize or get rid of any of them!  We agreed the children might have been happy spending the entire week inside the apartment. This got us laughing – why go through the hassle and expense of traveling all the way to France for vacation? I suggested an AirB&B in Boston for their next trip, but Micah said, why go that far? They could rent a house in Amesbury, next to Newburyport, and Kristen thought of refining their search for houses with TOYS as the top filter.

Ray, Téa and I loved visiting with thin-crust pizza from a Neapolitan restaurant we found in their neighborhood and cooking in a more lived-in house, where we could lounge around the table and the kids could hop down to play right after we ate. Something profound that Owen said with a laugh after enjoying a strawberry for dessert: “I take a bite and my mouth does the rest.” Pretty much sums up life in Lyon!

One benefit of going to Europe instead of staying closer to home was the kids were jet lagged and thus on a great vacation sleeping schedule. They went to bed after 11 and woke up after 11, too. Kristen and Micah enjoyed morning coffee by themselves for the first time since Max was born! I was so glad for them that they got to sleep in on vacation which pretty much defines a vacation when you are the parents of little kids. Téa babysat one night so they could go out to dinner and I insisted the kids eat more baguettes and cheese with us one afternoon so Kristen and Micah could enjoy a romantic meal at one of those great lunch places I keep talking about.

The only restaurant we all went out to eat at together was Live Station, a casual place with a totally Brooklyn vibe on the same block as our apartment. Lingering over our delicious lunch while the kids were sitting on a couch next to our table playing a quiet video game, the adults wondered why there aren’t more restaurants like this. This is no Chuck E. Cheese or Friendly’s. (Sorry, Scott, I know you love that place, but you are the only adult I know who does!)  My brother-in-law, Chris, will love Live Station, too, so it basically satisfies every age category from 0 to 50+.  Great food, great drinks, great atmosphere. Perhaps they can begin a trend and bring this concept to the U.S.

Kristen and Micah decided the only way they were going to enjoy Paris was to find a second stroller for Lucy, so Ray and Micah tried looking on the French version of Craig’s List. No luck there, so I went with Micah to that wonderful Target of Lyon, Le Grand Carrefour, to purchase a pousette – with Winnie the Pooh decals and quotes in English all over it. Lucy got to test it out on a day trip they took to Annecy. The car rental story requires a blog of its own, but let’s just say I hope the Donahues don’t own a Volvo station wagon that they got for “free” from Avis when the car they had rented from Enterprise was no longer available and Micah dropped it off at what he thinks was a legitimate return spot…

They are off to Paris for a few days before facing less-fun jet lag, but we are missing them and feeling so grateful they came to Lyon. Their visit brought back happy memories of our last sabbatical in Trento when Luca was Max’s age and Téa just a bit older than Lucy. Kristen has a way of bringing out my silly, slightly jaded sense of humor, so I am missing laughing in Lyon with  my sweet soeur already.

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2 thoughts on “Les Enfants en Lyon

  1. I had tears in my eyes as I read this – a mother’s joy at hearing her children (and grandchildren) enjoying each other, discovering new places and appreciating the magic of a carousel ride. I love your blog, Taryn. Thank you for shortening the distance between us. I love you. Mom

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