Thursday, September 8, 2016

LYON - Presqu'île

     Caught between conspicuous Americanness and a kind of stateless ghostliness, I almost never experienced Lyon as the Lyonnaise do.  Tantalizing glimpses down the narrow & lively streets of Presqu'île reflected back a vague sense that entire worlds were going unexplored.  Until one June night when a chance invitation to a garden party in the city's suburbs would ultimately bring about my sole encounter with its center.  I was living, for a few weeks, in a kind of dormitory for international students and travelers.  Self-conscious of my limited French language skills and ever at-ease with solitude, I mostly kept to myself.  So when a Spaniard across the hall named Sam asked me if I wanted to go to a party, I was surprised to hear myself reply, "...uh...yeah...Qui...sure...uh...thank you...Merci."  I ended up pinballing from the 5th arrondissement out to the suburbs back to a birthday party in Les Terreaux to a Jamaican bar to a jazz club in a vaulted ceiling basement to a sweaty discotheque on one of the very Presqu'île streets I thought I'd never set foot down.  It rained at sunrise, and I was the only soul crossing the Rhône on Pont Lafayette.  

C’est le corps de la ville que j’ausculte passionnément.

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