I lived in Lyon for an academic year. The city itself is marvelous, with fascinating history and culture (center of French resistance in WWII, was a roman colony in 43bc, contains UNESCO world heritage sites, credited as the French capital of gastronomy, best French football team!!), but its geography is perfect for those inclined to travel. 2 hours from Paris, 2 hours from Nice and the coast, 2 hours from Switzerland, 3 hours from Italy. The third largest city in France, Lyon has a prime location south-east of Paris, just west of the French Alps.
Studying abroad (and taking courses in a foreign tongue) was not an easy task but I cherish the time I spent, the things I saw, memories made, miles traversed. I will say to any Americans hesitant to visit France that I for one NEVER received any hostile behavior or comments because of my nationality. I was always upfront with those I met – none of this “oh no I’m not American, I’m Canadian!” business – and because I was honest and open, people were respectful and just as open. You’ll always find rude people in Paris, but that has more to do with tourism than anything. So don’t hesitate! A word of advice – just try to speak some French. It’s the trying that matters, people take it to heart. I can’t tell you how many Americans I saw bark at French waiters, “PIZZA?!?!” … (headdesk) Also, keep in mind that “customer service” does not translate. Generally speaking, the French place more value on the employee than the customer. Think about it: amazing benefits, the store closes at lunch & on Sundays.. don’t take it personally. Their priorities are different.
So go! And enjoy the pastries while you can. I miss the smell of fresh-baked croissants in the subway..over 7 years ago