ECTRIMS, the Basilica and Paul Bocuse

City of Lyon

Thursday, Oct 11

Emily is a medical editor working at the ECTRIMS conference, an annual event where doctors,

30-story Orange Man at the ECTRIMS conference

researchers,vpharmaceutical firms and others gather to discuss the newest research on the treatment of people with

Multiple Sclerosis. ECTRIMS is in Chicago next year. Not quite as exciting as France, but Chicago’s nice.

I’m on my own for the next few days which is very unusual and very liberating. There’s a certain freedom to exploring an unknown city by myself that I enjoy very much. After 38 years of marriage, Tom and I travel very well together, but I’m enjoying my solitude.

I took a cab to the shopping part of town. The streets are closed to vehicles so people are walking around everywhere. I very rarely buy

The Lyon Basilica

anything on vacation – not even a souvenir. But I found two stores with large discounts. I bought a beautiful black sweater with silver threads and a rain jacket that I looked for in Denver but couldn’t find before I left. A woman from Russia ran the store with the jacket. I especially loved the stacking dolls from Russia that she had in the shop. You open the doll and there’s a smaller version inside it. You open that one and there’s an even smaller one inside. This goes on until you have a row of dolls from large to miniature.

After shopping, I took a taxi up to the top of a large, very steep,

hill where the Basilica is. The church takes up all of the top of the hill. It isn’t possible to walk around to the front that faces the city because it’s on the edge of a sharp drop. The interior is covered in scaffolding but I was still able to take

Mary at the alter of the Basilica

some photos – without a flash. My new camera does a great job in low-light situations. I

took some of the exterior, too. It’s a beautiful building standing guard over the city. On the other side of the courtyard, in front of the

Mural inside the Basilica

Basilica, is a Jewish temple.

Lyon is a flat city which makes it easy to walk around. I didn’t see people jogging in the city, but I saw many joggers running up that huge hill to the Basilica. I guess there’s no challenge in running on flat ground. Emily is a runner and

she said it’s not fun running in the city while trying to navigate the crowds and having to stop when the light is red, and the traffic is crazy; if you don’t watch out they will run you down.


Later that night we went to “Le Sud” [The South] restaurant. The chef/owner is the world-renowned

Paul Bocuse. I had heard of Paul Bocuse but didn’t know his restaurant was in Lyon. Emily and Linda had Ossobuco, a veal dish with

The Basilica

risotto that they liked very much. Since we were in a nice restaurant, I decided to be brave and ordered something completely different, a Moroccan dish – chicken tajine with lemon and couscous on the side. I’ve seen tajine dishes, usually lamb, on the Food

Network but I’ve never eaten it and didn’t know what to expect. Unfortunately, the very first bite tasted just like Pinesol smells.

Completely disgusting! Emily and Linda laughed at me. “How could something taste like Pinesol smells?” I don’t know so I gave Linda a piece to try. She gagged and said I was right. Emily declined to be our third taste tester – smart woman. The couscous was good as well as the broth so I ate that and the carrots and squash I could identify. I think the Pinesol vegetable was something they did to the lemon.

Until next time,

Susan L Stewart

We’re off to France!

To all,

A Paris apartment house. Notice the graffiti.

On Monday, October 8, our daughter, Emily, and I got on a British Airways plane to France. Emily is a medical editor for a company that puts on medical conferences. She, and a writer, Linda, are covering ECTRIMS, a large, international, conference on Multiple Sclerosis in Lyon, France.

When the conference is over, she and I are going to take the train to Paris where Tom (father/husband) will be joining us. We’ll spend time in Paris exploring as many of the things the city offers as we will have the energy for. Emily flies home on the 19th and Tom and I are taking the train down to Avignon, Provence for a few days.

In addition to loving to travel and seeing new places, I’m a full-time artist and I think France and Italy are two of the countries every artist should visit. While I haven’t been to Italy yet, I’m very excited to experience France. While Emily is working, I plan to sit in an outdoor café and sketch. I’m also going to visit all of the museums I can find.

Emily and Tom will gladly go with me to a museum but I never feel comfortable sitting and sketching while they’re sitting there, bored. Vincent Van Gogh is my favorite artist and he spent a large part of his short life (he died at age 37) in Paris and Provence. I feel like I’m on an artist’s pilgrimage. There are many places in France that were meaningful to Van Gogh that I want to see. So, for now I am organizing my life, trying to figure out what to take for a 2-1/2 week vacation while keeping in mind that the international flight baggage weight is limited to 51 pounds. I’m also taking a sketchbook, watercolors and watercolor paper. When I recover from jet lag, I’m looking forward to exploring museum after museum.

Until next time,

Susan L Stewart