France train travel

Normally I would not kiss and tell, but when in Lyon

Normally I would not kiss and tell, but there was nothing normal about my hour in Lyon, France. One thing I certainly did not expect is to have a story to tell from a one hour layover at the Part Dieu train station in Lyon, France.

I wanted to see a little bit of Lyon outside the train station today. I needed to walk a bit after sitting on the train from Clermont-Ferrand for 2.5 hours. Across the street was a large city library and a shopping mall. I chose to check out the library, rolling my two suitcases.

Obviously, it is a French thing!

The library presented my second visit inside a public toilet in France. I actually have a phobia about public toilets and an above average ability to hold my bowel movements until I reach home, or in the case of travel, return to my hotel room.

Breakfast was coffee, water and a liter of orange juice to wash down my bread and salad.

If you read my previous novella on my last day in Clermont-Ferrand:

Necessary to improvise in France today,

then you will understand the significance of this sign in the Lyon Part Dieu library toilet.

toilet paper

Have you taken the toilet paper?

The first sign I saw in the Lyon bathroom would assist in making this sign more clear, but like so often in U.S. library bathrooms, a homeless guy was bathing at the sink and I did not want to snap camera photos in the space. The other sign when first entering the bathroom stated in English to be sure to take toilet paper with you into the stall. The sign was posted over a dispenser containing a large toilet paper roll. There was no toilet paper inside the toilet stall. But the improvised water bidet strategy would have worked again, if necessary. There was a sink in the toilet stall. This time I had a good wad of toilet paper in my hand before closing the door.

French Kiss

Back at the train station I was waiting to see what track the train to Geneva was departing from. My experience from the two Air France flights and the Lyon train station is gate and track information is a last minute call.

I was sitting on a metal bar, low to the floor, outside the train ticket room, along with several other people. There were about 20 minutes until my train was scheduled to depart for Geneva, Switzerland. The track was not yet posted, so I was hanging out people watching when a group of around eight young women approached me. A couple of them started chattering to me in French and I said, “I only speak English.”

“No problem” one of them says, and then a couple of the ladies started speaking simultaneously to me in English, saying “She is getting married and it is French tradition to sell candy to get money for the bride.”

The woman getting married was apparent to me since she was the only one dressed in an outfit, while the other ladies had on normal clothes.

On the train to Lyon I had counted the coins remaining from my 60 euros in change I brought to Europe. I had 2.17 EUR in coins in my pocket. Since I was about to board a train for Switzerland and my other two destinations before getting back to the states are Denmark and the UK, all countries with different currencies than Euro, I told the bride-to-be that she could have all my change. I deposited my coins in the cup she held out and she offered me a piece of candy from her bag.

When I said I did not want the candy, her friends then yelled out, “You must accept a kiss!”

Now that was an offer I could not refuse.

When in Lyon, France…

French Kiss

I could not have had a more merveilleuse adieu to end my week in France.


  • Ric Garrido October 3, 2015

    I realized after publishing that French kiss has a different connotation for American readers. In Lyon our French kiss was the typical kiss each cheek, which I saw many times this week as a customary greeting among friends.

  • […] on a train for six hours from Clermont-Ferrand, France, read a bit of an Anne Rice book The Mummy, kissed a French girl in Lyon and I was ready to walk around Geneva and get blood flowing through my […]

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