Dan Misener: The Lyon Year

We didn’t plan to visit Lyon on our trip to France: technically this was because we had a “no revisiting places one or the other of us has already been” (with an exception for Paris). Lisa had passed through Lyon on the train at one point, so it got ruled out. 

But Lyon was halfway between Skinny Home and Tiny Home, so it made for a logical waypoint between the two. And so we went. And we liked it so much that we went back again on the swing back to Paris.

Both Lisa and I felt immediately comfortable in Lyon: our Uber driver, Jonathan, was an excellent ambassador for the city, and in a 20 minute ride from the train station to our apartment he gave us a short course in the city. 

Our other ambassador was my friend Dan Misener.

In 2012 Dan and his partner Jenna spent a year in Lyon, a posting announced here:

So, why France? Why Lyon?

First off, we’re moving to France to learn French. Right now, my French isn’t great, but it’s halfway passable. I can order food and get directions, but I’m can’t have deep conversations about philosophy and literature. Jenna’s French is much better than mine, but we could both stand to improve. We figure immersion will help, and where better to immerse ourselves?

We chose Lyon for a few reasons. First, because it’s not Paris, and thus, we can afford to live there. It’s the third largest city in France, and feels not too big, and not too small. Plus, it’s la capitale gastronomique française, so chances are we’ll eat well.

Lyon is decently well-connected to other parts of Europe by rail and air, and we’re really hoping it’ll be a good home base for a bit of travel.

As someone with a quiet I-want-to-live-in-Europe-for-a-time obsession, I was an enthusiastic reader of Dan’s blog posts from there onward about Lyon, and so once we got settled I emailed him for advice about where and what in the city; he quickly responded with a well-hyperlinked guide that included a coffee place, thus earning him a place in my Pantheon of most helpful friends.

I resolved to revisit Dan’s writings about Lyon upon my return, but the current stripped-down-to-basics state of Misener.org made gathering them all together a challenge, so for posterity and personal reference I present the posts here:

There’s a lot unwritten about Dan and Jenna’s year in Lyon; it’s just those 8 posts. But the spirit they set off in continues to resonate:

The past few years of my life have become very comfortable. The same city. The same apartment. The same job. There’s nothing wrong with comfortable, of course, but increasingly, I feel the need to shake things up. To do something that makes me feel uncomfortable. To get outside of the ordinary.

Words to live by.