C’est la vie

Lyon, the city of lights, a city of gastronomy, a city of history, one of the biggest cities in France. Also the place where I lived during my last trainee period working in the Elkem business area of silicones!

Photo description: A panoramic view of Lyon.

This blog post was written by Benedicte Eikeland Nilssen, second year trainee just finished her third and last trainee period in Elkem.

At the point where the two rivers Rhône and Saône meets, you will find one of the largest French cities, Lyon. It is located in the region of Rhône-Alpes southeast in France. If you go up a hill on a sunny day, you will actually be able to see the Mont Blanc. A beautiful sight! The city is home for approximately 500 000 people, and the place where I lived for a six months period while I was working at Bluestar Silicones. The head quarter is in Lyon, while the production sites and R&D facilities are located a little south/east of Lyon in places named Roussillon and Saint Fons. Living in Lyon required some travelling time to work, but how does it matter when I had the pulsing life of Lyon just right outside my front door. :)

The building painting located in the area Croix-Rousse, la Fresque des Lyonnais, literally gives a good picture of some of what Lyon is known for and can offer. It is a painting including several more or less known people and characters connected to Lyon. To mention some: the book character Little Prince with his creator and author Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, the Lumière brothers who contributed in the invention of the first cinema, and the famous chef Paul Bocuse. Named after the chef himself the world cooking competition Bocuse d’Or is arranged Lyon. Yes, Lyon is well known for its gastronomy! I actually saw a cheese with the shape of France.

Two walls of “la Fresque des Lyonnaise”. Taking a close look and you can get an eye of the character The Little Prince, and the Lumière brothers who contributed in the invention of the cinema. 

Boulangerie in the old town selling typical pastries with pralines (left), exclusive cheese in les Halles de Lyon Paul Bocuse (middle), picture from a typical food marked (right).

During my stay, I explored some French delicacies, of course. At the Fête de la Chandeleur, more commonly named the Crêpe day, I joined in for making crêpes during lunchtime. Lunch in general was a great time to explore French food, while improving my French with some card games. We had several other such play-and-eat lunches, indoor as outdoor. Chinese and Norwegian lunches were also arranged. The food was not as interesting as the French tart, but wearing a Chinese costume do something with the atmosphere, see how people appreciated the waffles with brown cheese, and actually sit and knit when it was other temperatures outside than what I am used to from Norway, are all moments I will not forget.

Bring-and-eat lunch was a perfect opportunity to taste various French delicacies (left), and the lunch for the Crêpe day (right).

Picnic followed by some playing of the Finnish game Mölkky – seems to be the game for the Scandinavians! ;)

Norwegian lunch with waffles, brown cheese, salmon, and presentation of the bunad, and Chinese all-you-can-eat lunch while wearing Chinese costume.

In addition to food, Lyon serves a lot of history. Several areas are being classified as UNESCO World Heritage sites, among them the Croix-Rousse, Fourvière with the beautiful Basilica of Notre-Dame de Fourvière, and Vieux Lyon (Old Lyon). Taking a Sunday stroll in the old streets of Vieux Lyon, or get a private guided tour in the traboules (corridors through buildings that link two streets together, a typical architectural feature of Lyons’s historical buildings) were both very appreciated after a week of work.

Traboules in Vieux Lyon (Old Lyon), and the Basilica of Notre-Dame de Fourvière.

Or to mention other things: being invited to an evening with eat and being taught about French cheese, enjoy French music, feel the electric atmosphere during the EURO 2016, having our own Le tour de France after work, in general get to know the people and the culture, has been such a real adventure. I got a little lost in the moments, and just enjoyed all of them! :)

The herbs de Provence that I got as a present from my colleagues is now placed in my Norwegian kitchen, contributing to keep up some of that French feeling.

Au revoir!