Londoner in Lyon: cailloux, Croix-Rousse et canuts


With the work mound increasing and deadlines for our guide looming, my free time will be narrowing after my weekend in Vichy. What is great about this work experience is that not everything is necessarily sitting in front of your computer screen, but outside finding inspiration and chatting to people – probably what I find most attractive about a career in journalism.

Last week before going to Vichy I had another trip to a local market in Croix-Rousse. For market standards I had arrived rather late – around 1pm – and a lot of vendors were already starting to pack up their stalls. One benefit was some last minute bargins – I managed to get a load of nectarines for 1 euro. They were pretty ripe and needed eating straight away, but it was a pretty good deal.


Whilst in the area I decided to find Le Gros Caillou (literally the large stone/rock) which one of my fellow project members had written an article on. Its name gives away the whole package, though there are several intriguing theories about the stone’s origin. Some tourists might hear from locals that it is the remnants of an ice-age glacier, others will be told by guides that it was the heart of a bailiff which turned by stone – everyone would want to avenge a bailiff after all. It was in fact discovered by tunnel workers in 1890 when construction started for the first funicular train in Lyon.


Whilst Le Gros Caillou may not be the most attractive of sights, it has become the symbol of the Croix-Rousse district and marks the beginning of Parcours des Voraces, a winding and picturesque path ending up in Place des Terreaux. It was during this route that I found my favourite traboule (passageway) so far as well as lots of intriguing street art.


Our team also had a tour of famous Croix-Rousse silk workshop. Lyonnais silk is well-known not only in France but is in fact the global capital for silk. Whilst this is not necessarily my thing, it was very interesting to see traditional silk production on a highly complex machine which takes years of intense training to operate. I was merely impressed by the amount of discipline and patience a silk-weaver must have – an expert weaver will weave about 30cm a day and is not paid a lot.

For my latest article about the Guignol puppet I had managed to arrange an interview with a museum and boutique owner. He was a great help and gave me free entry – I hope I have some nice touches now  to add to the interview I did with two puppeteers last week.


Le Gros Caillou: Croix-Rousse, at the end of Boulevard de la Croix-Rousse, 1er arrondissement Lyon



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