Sagan brought home a head cold earlier this week, but she quickly got over it. The bug got passed on to me, unfortunately. Although I tried to pretend I was fine yesterday, today it’s got me down for the count.
The weather was gorgeous outside and despite the signs of an oncoming illness, I wanted to visit the Roman amphitheater and the adjacent museum at the top of the hill. We strolled through Le Marché Saint Antoine before crossing the Saône River via the Pont Bonaparte bridge.
It was all (literally) uphill from there. The view alone was worth the effort. Today I can’t tell if my body is sore from the one mile climb or from the cold virus.
The ferris wheel (which we haven’t been on yet) is located in Place Bellecour, the largest “clear” square in Europe (no trees or obstacles) and the third largest square in France. The statue there of Louis XIV on his horse is not the original from 1715; that one was destroyed during the Revolution. In fact, a guillotine was erected in 1792, sort of changing the mood of the place, I bet. Our apartment building is just to the left of this area, about a block in from the river. We could also see the French Alps in the distance but this didn’t show up in my photos.
We made it up to the Gallo-Roman ruins and the kids still had the energy to run and climb about the maze of stone walls. Comparing this amphitheater to the theater we saw last weekend in Orange, it looked smaller. But it was said to hold up to 10,000 people which is about the same as the Orange theater. This was an amphitheater, so the seats would have gone all the way around. The largest Roman amphitheater was the Colosseum in Rome which held up to 50,000 sports fans. The “sport” was mainly gory, bloody fighting. To the death. Gee, sorry I’m a few thousand years late to see all of that.
The sun was bright, we were all thirsty and there wasn’t much shade, so we headed indoors to the Musees Gallo Romains.
Public restrooms seem more like an after thought in France than a required convenience, even at a huge museum. After what happened yesterday, I think their solution to this problem is: If there is no water around for people to drink, then they won’t have to go!
Seriously, there was no water fountain, no vending machine for water- and there were no cups to use for getting water out of the bathroom sink tap. I could feel my lips cracking as I told the kids we wouldn’t be here long. The poor things were red-faced and sweaty, and I half-way wanted them to cause a big scene so perhaps the museum clerks would pity us and “voila!” come up with a plastic cup. But the kids were docile and understanding. I’d learned my lesson and made a mental note to go buy some water bottles.
After that rather unpleasant start, we lumbered down a corridor that was built at a pitch and had the look of a cavernous, underground parking garage.
There was a lot to see. I forgot how thirsty I was. Many (but not all) of the descriptions had an English translation included. I realized we wouldn’t be leaving here quickly.
Sagan watched a video explaining some of the Greek myths (it was in French, so I guess that’s what it was).
After seeing the Gallo-Roman part of the museum, another section appeared before us. It was called Le Musée Des Confluences, which translates into The Museum Of the Junctions. Um, right. After some searching (and more translating) I found this explanation:
Museum of science and society, the Confluence Museum aims to account for the connections between science and society in emphasizing the plurality and diversity of each other.
The definition is still a bit cryptic but, wow! There was some interesting stuff in here! The collection included hundreds of animal, rock and plant specimens, a replica of the Mar’s rover, early scientific instruments, a dinosaur and much more. I was overwhelmed again. I thought the preserved snakes on this glowing shelf would make an interesting photograph…
When the liquid in these tubes started looking attractive to me, I knew it was time for us to go. We would have to come back at a later date and remember to bring the water bottles, and leave the head cold behind.