25 January, 2010

In the mouth of the lion.

I went back to Lyon, back to the haven that is my girlfriend's downtown apartment. I needed a taste of city life again, to trade my mudboots for heels, to stride past the warm glow of cafes open late, the shimmer of tight jeans on transvestites, the intricate, soaring cathedrals, picking my way across pavement speckled with dog excrement.
The city with all its edges requires a ready sharpness. You never know when you'll see the flash of a grin through the haze, you need your equally clever throwaway line unsheathed and ready for that slim interactive second with a stranger, so much briefer than what occurs in the countryside.
The scale shifts.
I just wish I could better capture those ephemeral city congruences, the way Matt Stuart can. The photos below are his.
If you live in London or plan to visit in February, catch his show (details at his site). Otherwise, check out many more of this gifted--and patient--photographer's images at his eponymous website.


  1. I have never been to Lyon but I hear their cuisine is very good and it is a pretty city.
    Did you read David Lebovitz's blog about Lyon's chocolates?
    I read a long time ago that several french mayors who tried to have people pick up after their pooch were not elected back. I wish they would have public announcements in theaters and TV. Such a beautiful country but disappointing by the laziness and lack of courtesy of its people. Time to bring back well placed pride!

  2. After your blog, I read Cynthia's blog. Guess where she went?
    Here is the article about Bernachon chocolates
    http://www.davidlebovitz.com/archives/2006/01/two_great_taste.html and David's blog
    If you want a good laugh, you have to buy "the sweet life in Paris". I discovered David through Jennifer of "Chez Loulou".

  3. I like Lyon. It has its down and dirty side, as any large city will, and it doesn't have the jaw-dropping grandeur that Paris can have, but it is wonderful for a good wander, with lots of unique little shops once you get off the main shopping avenues, which are, as they have become even in Paris, rather anonymous. I have written about it before, with reviews, you could look at if you're interested.

    I quite like Richard Seve's chocolates (see previous Lyon post). The new experience this time was an appetizer of foie gras served three ways--including as a savory ice cream! Quite the treat. This was at Christian Tetedoie, who is a Meilleur Ouvrier de France (a very high accolade) and who has a Michelin star.

  4. As for dog poo, I had time to anylyze and discuss with others WHY. In lovely Amsterdam, there is also a plethora of turds. And yet the Dutch have a deserved reputation for being cleaning maniacs. So WHY? Here's one theory: for many Europeans, the concept of one's own space stops at the doorway of one's house. Remember income taxes go up to some 65% here, depending on income level and country. The assumption becomes that this is the city/state's responsibility.

    I think this does explain some of it, even if it doesn't justify it.

    And I have actually seen people clean up after their dogs, for which I want to kiss them with gratitude, as they are a shamefully small minority. I developed excellent auto-pilot dog poo radar while I was in Amsterdam, which I had to put back into practice in Lyon over the weekend. Paris has spent a LOT more money on its clean-up crews the past few years, and you don't really see it that much in most areas.

  5. I know Paris has been good about creating jobs for poo pickers. But still, that is just so gross. When I see drivers throw trash and cigarettes out their window, I find it so offensive, and people who are not using their turn signals... that is simply a lack of courtesy and respect towards other people. Selfish "me, me, me first, I don't care about you" attitude.
    Foie gras ice cream? I envy you. I have to go to work in 1 hour but will check out the chocolate and past postings later.
    In Las Vegas (the Bellagio and Cesar's palace) have 2 "meilleurs ouvriers de France").


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