Paris & Lyon: A Photoessay


5 December 2016 by Olivia Kwok

In the planning of a four month visit to Europe, France was at the bottom of the to-hit list. It was the least intriguing of them all, in comparison to, Italy or Austria, for example. Unexpectedly, it also turned out to be the country I ended up spending the most time in – 28 days of city life, the wilderness, and even a taste of Provence. I thank my friends who welcomed me to stay; otherwise I would never have known the pleasures of old town Lyon, mediterranean Marseille, and charming Arles. This photoessay shares my impressions of Paris and Lyon. My thoughts of these two places are far from concluded, but it has been a delightful introduction nonetheless.

Found no romance in this city. Instead; cat calls, watchful eyes on the subway, buskers not welcomed -  move out of the way, disengage. Walking longer in these streets however, almost compels one to feel otherwise.

Turn a bend, come face to face with architectonic marvels. Highly impractical at most times, but reason is in the details. This, dimmed by a city seemingly tethered and on edge, comes into stark contrast through the view finder.

And I would like to imagine that I am not the only one whose spirits are lifted by small pleasures in these grim Parisian times.


Lyon is a well kept secret. Surprises in every corner, and the most appropriate pockets of light in places least expected.

The city's best offerings: 
Brain warp from the exquisite sights and plenty of head room to navigate in silence.

Watching the Lyonnaise skies in the middle of summer, the mind wonders and a thought surfaces. Would it be at all possible to know a shadow as well as we think we do with light? What happens at the end of a chase for ambition?

There are a number of ways to feel about these two cities, it could almost be schizophrenic. While they rest on opposite ends of the spectrum, one could not do without the other. How do we tell yin from yang if either did not exist on the same plane?