Les Traboules de Lyon. Photo d'Anrew Fuchs.

The Traboules in Lyon. Photo by Andrew Fuchs.

In the image above, you see a small sign in yellow and blue with an arrow pointing to the right. This small sign is found just north of the center of Lyon; however, this is not the only one of its kind. There are many of them that form a path the leads through Lyon’s secret passage system called The Traboules. The Traboules date back to the Renaissance when they were used as places of refuge. By following The Traboules, it is possible to cross the entire city without being seen; therefore they were very useful during the Second World War when people had to hide during attacks and invasions.

When I was in Lyon, I located the first sign in the north of town, however, I was unable to find the entrance to the first Traboule. Therefore, I decided to look for other clues to where they might be in the city, but after having found no entryways to The Traboules, even though there were many signs, I found myself at the top of a large hill. To the right, I noticed the final sign on the wall that read « The Traboules are closed after 17 :30 ». I checked my watch that read 6 :30 pm. Then I realized my error, I had mixed up the time 17 :30 with the time 7 :30 pm. I felt incredibly stupid, I had walked for more than an hour, but The Traboules had been closed since 5 :30 pm.

Finally, I turned around to walk back down the stairs when I saw what was awaiting me, an incredible sunset. Even though I hadn’t found what I was looking for, I have discovered something else just as magnificent. This moment reflects many others that manifest in my French life where I can’t find what I’m looking for, but instead, I find something even better. I believe that this is truly a magical aspect of France, the ability to unearth small gems of culture by chance that are not always evident, like the view from the top of the hill in Fourvière. Lastly, this anecdote reminds me that I should trust my instincts because they will always lead me towards in a spontaneous direction that is from time to time incredible.

Le crépuscule à Lyon. Photo d'Andrew Fuchs.

Sunset in Lyon. Photo by Andrew Fuchs.

-Andrew Fuchs