Secret Passageways

Hundreds of covered alleyways called traboules burrow through Lyon’s older neighborhoods and harbor relics from across the centuries.


Ever wonder what lives in the Saône? Holy f#$k, THIS does. Honestly, I was kind of rooting for the sea monster. It put up a valiant fight.

Candy Cushions

A sweet Lyonnais specialty: the Cuisson de Lyon, from Voisin chocolatier. The Cuisson de Lyon is a little candy that looks like a cushion (“cuisson” = “cushion,” en français) and consists of Curaçao-flavored chocolate ganache coated in marzipan. It’s very soft and very rich. Originated at Voisin in 1960, the shape meant to echo the…

Just call me “sir.”

Receiving emails addressed to “Monsieur” will never get old. I am in fact a woman named Jillian (Jill). Both of these spellings are rather unusual and ambiguous in France, and apparently more masculine than feminine. I’ve met French people with whom I’d previously only communicated via email who have admitted to me, “I actually thought…

French Tact

The following is loosely translated from French: Me: So, what else do you want to ask the American [pen pal] class? 10-year old French student: Are you fat? Me: That’s not a very nice question- and it’s also a stereotype. French student: Write it, write it! Me: They’re going to think French students are very…

Cultural Tells

These mannerisms are like little poker tells – they would shout, “BONJOUUUUUUUR!” if I saw them outside of France.