Malevolence

Entrance to 6ème's mairie

6ème has a reputation of being a nice arrondissement of Lyon. Like any area of a city, 6ème has its better parts and worse. When we moved here four years ago, I picked it based on research; the location had all we thought we would need.

6ème’s reputation reached further than we expected. An electrician involved in our house build knew of 6ème and joked that it was a nice area so he should charge us more.

On Monday, two men attempted to burgle our apartment while I was home.

The attempt was not the first incident in this building and our neighbours tell us this is not isolated to this building. Nearby buildings are also suffering increasingly from theft and vandalism.

Like any area, 6ème has better parts with buildings showing off carved façades and pretty squares. In particular I think of Brotteaux and towards the parc de la tête d’or; areas that sustain luxury car resellers and fancy boutique stores.

Brotteaux, Lyon, at night
Brotteaux, Lyon, at night
Entrance to 6ème's mairie
Entrance to 6ème’s mairie

The two men who tried to break into our home were opportunistic. The circumstances that led to them singling out our apartment are clear to us and unfortunate. I do not think they began their day considering entering another’s home but they did not set out that morning as saints either.

Numerous postboxes in our building were forced open or destroyed. What they were looking for I am not sure. What is of particular value in most people’s postboxes?

Our building is old, poorly maintained, and far from being considered a better part of 6ème. The residents are not wealthy or well to do. Our street has multiple laundrettes, a tattoo parlor has recently opened nearby, and graffiti provides a visual backdrop.

Woman walking near graffiti in 6ème, Lyon
Woman walking near graffiti in 6ème, Lyon
Tabac hoarding covered in graffiti
Tabac hoarding covered in graffiti
Man skateboarding along the street at night.
Man skateboarding along the street at night.

I should have called the police there and then.

Up until the last moment, I thought it a mistake. The actions of error or farce, not malevolence. Until the last moment I expected the situation to dissolve.

I was however ready. I knew I would have no opportunity to flee, so fight was my only option. The intruders would block my exit.

Recycling

Being out of the apartment at odd hours shows you a different city.

Our early morning runs reveal an activity I suspect most are unaware of. Bins are systematically checked by organised groups. Those involved are often well dressed men, frequently dragging a wheeled shopping bag, who work their way through bins left out on the street for collection. When sighted, they shroud their activity but often too late to go unnoticed. The streets are long and a runner approaches quickly and treads quietly.

I expected them to extract cashable items, such as broken electrics or reusable items, but they do not. I do not know what they are fetching.

Police

The two men suddenly gave up and ran back down the stairs.

Since then we had our first interaction with the national police. A new experience for us and one that I would like not to need again. A dossier will be created, a reference number assigned, and a record kept. Another statistic augmented.

Frozen Once Again

Thick ice formed over the water.

2017 started with a wave of glacial weather passing over Lyon. This time I did not get a change to see if ice was floating down the river but we did go to the local park.

The biggest city park in Lyon is called parc de la tête d’or and within the park is a sizeable lake. This winter the lake froze from edge to edge. Small patches of open water remained where circulation pipes kept the water moving vigorously enough but elsewhere a few centimetres of ice formed.

Ice in parc de la tête d'or.
Ice in parc de la tête d’or.
Thick ice formed over the water.
Thick ice formed over the water.
The lake is frozen edge to edge.
The lake is frozen edge to edge.

Bubbles of Warmth at the Market

During the coldest days the number of market stalls was reduced as venders chose to stay away. Of the stalls that did appear, many had surrounded themselves in plastic sheet. Inside powerful heaters pumped out warm air creating a bubble of warmth for the staff and customers.

Reduce number of stalls. Many covered in a bubble of plastic.
Reduced number of market stalls. Many covered in a bubble of plastic.
Inside a market stall. Heater just visible on the left.
Inside a market stall. Heater just visible on the left.

The glacial temperatures have gone now and I am grateful.

Ice covers the pavements.
Ice covers the pavements.

Photos from Fête des Lumières

Crowds fill the streets of Lyon during the Fête des Lumières.

Lyon’s Fête des Lumières, festival of lights, returned this week. For the last few years I have filmed the exhibits and shared the films here. This year I tried something a little different.

Heightened security had cancelled the festival last year; so 2016 saw a reduced three day schedule with more check points. I was relieved that the increased security did not diminish our experience.

This year I wanted show more of the crowds that flow through the city streets. The number of people moving around the centre is impressive.

Crowds move through the streets of Lyon.
Crowds move through the streets of Lyon.
Crowds fill the streets of Lyon during the Fête des Lumières.
Crowds fill the streets of Lyon during the Fête des Lumières.
Cafes attempt to attract passing festival traffic.
Cafes attempt to attract passing festival traffic.

Place des Terreaux

Crowds are funnelled towards Place des Terreaux.
Crowds are funnelled towards Place des Terreaux.
Large projector shines out in Place des Terreaux
Large projector shines out in Place des Terreaux
A projector shines out in Place des Terreaux
A projector shines out in Place des Terreaux
A projector shines out in Place des Terreaux
A projector shines out in Place des Terreaux
The Owl is projected onto the buildings of Place des Terreaux.
The Owl is projected onto the buildings of Place des Terreaux.

Place de la Republique

An illumination in Place de la Republique.
An illumination in Place de la Republique.
Lanterns spans rue de la Republique. in Lyon.
Lanterns spans rue de la Republique. in Lyon.

Place des Jacobins

A man photographs the illumination at Place des Jacobins in Lyon.
A man photographs the illumination at Place des Jacobins in Lyon.

Odds and Ends

Detail of a Christmas decoration in Lyon.
Detail of a Christmas decoration in Lyon.
Lights shine out over the River Rhône.
Lights shine out over the River Rhône.
Red light illuminates a street wall in Lyon.
Red light illuminates a street wall in Lyon.

Autumn Colours in Lyon’s Park

Autumn in Lyon's parc de la tête d'or

This will be our final Autumn in Lyon. With that in mind, we made sure to take our opportunity to see the autumnal display. Since taking these photos, most of the trees have lost their leaves and are braced for the coming winter months.

Autumn in Lyon's parc de la tête d'or
Autumn in Lyon’s parc de la tête d’or
Autumn in Lyon's parc de la tête d'or
Autumn in Lyon’s parc de la tête d’or
Autumn in Lyon's parc de la tête d'or
Autumn in Lyon’s parc de la tête d’or
Autumn in Lyon's parc de la tête d'or
Autumn in Lyon’s parc de la tête d’or
Autumn in Lyon's parc de la tête d'or
Autumn in Lyon’s parc de la tête d’or
Autumn in Lyon's parc de la tête d'or
Autumn in Lyon’s parc de la tête d’or

Sudden Failure of Joby GorillaPod Original

Side view of the broken Joby GorillaPod Original

I was about to film a clip as we boarded the high speed train that would take us from Lyon to Lille when my GorillaPod Original tripod broke. The top segment popped off as I was adjusting the position of the camera.

Broken GorillaPod Original tripod
Broken GorillaPod Original tripod

Popping the segment back on did not fix the tripod. Once restored, the segment had lost its grip and no longer resisted the weight of the camera. The design and purpose of the tripod was undermined.

Being less than a year old and thanks to living under European Union product warrantees, a replacement is in the post as I type this – without cost or quibble – direct from Amazon. I was relieved that I had bought from directly from Amazon; their handling of problems is what makes me continue buying from them.

As an aside, I have yet to have Amazon.fr deliver on the estimated date. The support is good but shipping requires patience.

Joby then Amazon

I first contacted Joby using their info@joby.com address and got a quick reply saying to contact another company in France. I had not dealt with this company before. It was a public holiday and the middle of the French holiday season. My heart sank at the idea of dealing with an unknown local French distributor. Rather than follow this run around, I contacted the organisation who sold me the item, Amazon.fr.

It transpires I am lucky. The failure happened while I was holding my camera and nothing more than the tripod broke. My camera was left unharmed. Reading reviews from others suffering this problem, many have trusted their camera to the GorillaPod only to watch it break and for their camera to fall catastrophically to the ground.

Filming and Night Photos

During our days in Lille, I borrowed Megan’s tripod. I discovered that my camera particularly benefits from a tripod when filming and when taking photos at night. Handheld filming is awkward and the mini-tripod makes sweeps and smooth motion easier. At night the tripod helps stabilise the camera for sharper photos.

Learning this, I am pleased to have a replacement on the way. I am however unnerved and wonder what alternatives exist incase this problem recurs. Are there other trustworthy flexible tripods?

Moving Platforms

The narrow stairs and often tiny elevators in French apartments make moving a harrowing task.

Summer is here and our apartment building is in flux. Our floor has largely emptied out. It seems the academic cycle is causing a refresh of tenants in our building.

A moving platform outside the apartment front door.
A moving platform outside the apartment front door.

Moving platforms are a great solution. I have mentioned them before but continue to be enthralled each time I see them in use.

I took some footage of one moving platform and the resulting No more stairs – apartment moves made easy with a moving platform short film is available on my YouTube channel.

First Flight

The parents waited anxiously calling to their little one. Over the next minutes the calls increased back and forth, then a hop, leap, and flutter.

A little chick was learning to fly outside our window. We were lucky to be in the right place and right time to watch.

Little bird prepares to fly.
Little bird prepares to fly.
Little bird waits before learning to fly.
Little bird waits before learning to fly.
Parent beckons its little one over.
Parent beckons its little one over.

Pérouges – Medieval Hilltop Town

Pérouges, France

Our schedules have been overwhelming this year and looking ahead there may not be a pause for some time to come. Our commitment to continue travelling and doing new things needed a boost, so this last weekend we went to Pérouges.

Pérouges fitted the bill nicely. Visiting the town is a day trip from Lyon. From Part Dieu train station the journey took thirty minutes on a regular commuter TER train. The destination station is Meximieux – Pérouges.

From Meximieux to Pérouges

Meximieux is the closest stop with a train station. To reach Pérouges from the station, a short walk of either 20 minutes or 40 minutes awaits. One route is more direct but less scenic. I recommend the scenic route as it wanders through countryside and you pass by an attractive lake.

Pérouges in the distance.
Pérouges in the distance.
Countryside on the way to Pérouges.
Countryside on the way to Pérouges.
Lake on the way to Pérouges.
Lake on the way to Pérouges.
Path leading towards Pérouges.
Path leading towards Pérouges.
Pérouges beyond a field.
Pérouges beyond a field.

Pérouges

Pérouges feels deliberately suspended in the medieval period. The town is clearly maintained as a tourist destination. The buildings are restored and maintained; the construction style makes use of the thousands of small rocks that litter fields all around.

Pérouges
Pérouges
Pérouges
Pérouges
Pérouges
Pérouges
Pérouges
Pérouges
Pérouges
Pérouges