Monday, March 1, 2010

The Au Pair Winter Holiday, Week 1

In France, the middle of February is well known. An abundance of roses start to surface in florist shops, carefully crafted chocolate assortments are sold, suddenly you’ll see posters with red hearts and the word “love” plastered everywhere, restaurants in town formulate price-fixed couple’s menus, and the French being known for their amour, well, they leave town. While the French may be serious about being lovers, they are more serious about skiing during their winter holiday; and during the two weeks they have off beginning the same time as lent, skiing is exactly what they do.

There are two types of French people: Ones who take their vacation to the French Alps during the first week of vacation, and ones who take their vacation during the second week. My host-family went first. I decided to go the second week, except not to the mountains. With the fresh snow brought on by the storm before they left, I figured that our neighborhood would suffice as a perfectly adequate bunny-hill, if my desire for skiing suddenly emerged (It didn’t). So, I politely declined their invitation to join them in the Alps, and instead, agreed to watch over the house while trying to appear regretful about missing them, especially Cecile.

When the children are away, the au pair will play (And as I write this from my Corsican apartment, overlooking the Mediterranean in Adjaccio, I‘d say that I did it pretty well). However, the week they were gone, I took advantage of the calm atmosphere without kids or routine and set out to explore Lyon. That same week, my ____(insert definition for someone you’ve been dating for the last nine months but haven’t committed to the proverbial relationship title)___, Trevor arrived in Lyon. The plan was to relax a few days and discover the city’s charm before departing for vacation the second week, to somewhere that involved above-zero-temperatures… And that is exactly what we did.

Being that Lyon is the second largest metropolitan area in France (after Paris, of course), we were expecting a required week to see all of the sights. A good 3 days later, we had conquered the highlights of the city, and even some that weren’t mentioned in guidebooks.

The week that included:

Seeing all of the major sites, from Place de Bellecour, to Notre Dame de Fourviere...

There were date nights in the city that included seeing the new Valentine's Day movie in Voice Original...

And admiring the city's lights...
There was walking... lots and lots of walking...

And climbing up the hill to Fourviere, because the tram wasn't in service and well, what else did we have to do?!

Sneaking into museums... and then sneaking pictures inside of the museums

People watching and culture comparing...
And of course, snow... which actually formed some beautiful backdrops for photos.
There were good times, good laughs, and good company, that were followed by far-from-perfect situations and arguments as pungent as French cheese. But we conquered and by the end of the week, boarded a plane to Corsica (more on that trip, later). Trevor was able to see for himself, the setting of my new life and I was able to see that Lyon is actually, well, somewhat pleasant. It’s a far stretch from Parisian life and definitely not what I expected of a “metropolitan” city, but in respect, it has its ostentatious charm.
  • I'm sitting on an island that overlooks the Mediterranean
  • The sun is out
  • Everything ran smoothly the week that the host-family was away
  • Traveling during the off-season
  • My family... I miss them a lot.


  1. i'm so happy that trevor got to come out and see your new digs, it must have been great to have a familiar face around, despite the stinky arguments :). WHEW so glad you managed to escape from your charges for a while when they went to the alps! thank god! but i bet you're up at night crying because you miss cecile desperately, right? right. oh lauren, when you come back here we are definitely hanging out k?!? stay warm you!

  2. I can't wait to hear more about Corsica! I'm so glad Trevor came to visit and you guys got to explore!
    Now, you teased me with an online chat, then went to get the door. Come back!

  3. I'm glad you had a nice couple of weeks without the kids! My dad went to Corsica a few years ago and really loved it. You and Trevor are cute together ;)

  4. GORGEOUS PICTURES!!!!!!! and i love the "insert title for someone youve been seeing 9 months" part ahahhaha been there done that! get on him and make it official girl! he's cute too!

    i would love to travel and see those older builing and sculptures and EVERYTHING i am so jealous. glad you had a blast!!

  5. Awww!
    You and Trevor look so cute together!
    I´m sure you two had a blast :)
    Have a great week, girl!
    Brazilian XOXO´s,