The Franklin Pierce Dance in France 2010 program began when nine excited students and my assistant, Paige stepped off the plane at Lyon-St. Exupèry on September 13th. They were weary from travel, but excited all the same to begin their adventure en France. After settling in their residence and resting a bit, we had dinner chez moi and then went to Vieux Lyon to view the city and its rivers and lights from Fourvrière hill.
Over the next few days we absolutely dove into our life in Lyon with performances every night and walking tours to become familiar with the city and its neighborhoods.
On Thursday we took a little break and traveled by train to the ancient city of Arles,
a little over two hours to the south. Our exploration of this
lovely city included the winding, cobbled
streets, the Roman amphitheatre and the baths, along with museums that celebrated the work of Van Gogh and the many artists who have loved this city and its special light over so many years.
A “surprise” event was a “safari” into the Camarque
(the wild, open landscape southwest of Arles) where little white horses and the black French toros run free, rice is grown, and egrets, cranes, and flamingos fly.
We rode in an old Dodge truck with the top cut off that our “Guardian” (a French cowboy) guide told us was left behind after WWII. It was certainly very old, and did, in fact, break down! But we were rescued by a second truck that came to pull the first one back to the rice farm, and we
enjoyed a little "apero" of the local, spicy rosé before heading back to Arles.
Before leaving on Saturday to return to Lyon, we went to
the huge, colorful, and lively marché that went on for the entire length of several streets. Loaded with the colorful produce of the Mediterranean climate, it also offered regionally produced clothing, linens, soaps, and herbs along with all manner of imported clothing, hats, shoes, etc. Many of us were happy to sleep on the train ride “home” to Lyon.