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City traffic

Lyon is more than just a transit station between north and south. Ingmar Schmidt, who lives in the city as a journalist, is convinced of this ?? and is a Voxan fan.

Ingmar Schmidt


Shortly before Lyon, it suddenly turns dark. In the notorious Fourvière Tunnel, the last obstacle before the cool waters of the Côte d ?? Azur, in countless hours of traffic jams, indelibly burned into the brains of hundreds of thousands of holidaymakers in France who have been making this bottleneck in the south on their way to the sun for decades with special needs. But suddenly light comes into the darkness and pulls me out of my thoughts: someone behind me dazzles. As I pull over to the right, a tie straps on a Gold Wing casually swings past me and sticks out my right leg in greeting. Then he pulls away with plenty of speed. Oh yes, France! Shorten every traffic jam on the median between the slow crawling cars without getting upset, completely legally. So: turn on the indicators, turn on the high beam … and off through the middle. The exit behind the tunnel leads right into the city center, because the mayor at the time wanted to lure tourists to Lyon when the tube was built in the 1960s? and achieved exactly the opposite. We walk a bit along the Rhône, and the magnificent bridges make it clear which place we are dealing with here: not just any French city, but the eternal number two in the country. In Roman times it was the capital of Gaul and was called Lugdunum; Asterix readers are well known. Later it played an important role as Europe’s silk metropolis for centuries, and today Lyon is considered the booming region of France. the Voxan scurrying very lightly through the morning traffic, but my sore wrists (with best regards from the hydraulic coupling) long for a break with a cup of grand crème and croissants. Klaus and I are approaching the center that stretches between the Rhône and Saône, on the »Presqu ?? Ile«, the »half-island«. Small one-way streets cross pedestrian zones, and not a single house is less than 100 years old. Behind stucco-adorned facades, the people of Lyon, who are considered very bourgeois, are evidently enjoying themselves. The city cleaning service is armed with hoses on the way to the morning toilet to bring everything to a shine. At a small square with a sidewalk cafe, we finally stop next to an ancient, mangled Harley. The Voxan Cafe Racer makes friends straight away and lives up to its name: leaving a good impression in front of a cafe. Finally take off your jacket and helmet, in the Rhône Valley it is hot and stuffy in the summer months when the mistral does not bring any cooling from the Alps. Put your sunglasses on, put them in the shade, order, lean back, switch off and just look … How every third person stops next to the Voxan, gesticulating to describe its curves and explaining to their companions who they are looking at. A guy with a goatee remarks at the next table. His leather jacket suggests that he owns the Harley. No, it really isn’t bad, I answer. The guy introduces himself as David, and he obviously knows a thing or two about motorcycles. He kneels in front of the Voxan and examines every weld seam. His Harley, he says after a while, was from 1958 and once belonged to the Mexican border police. With the young French woman, who is gibbering happily out of her two pots after pressing the start button, we thread our way into the inner-city traffic. Pizza delivery men on mopeds argue for poles at the traffic lights and absolutely want to compete. But our attention is focused on completely different things? the excellently preserved facades of the houses, especially those of the largest in the city: the town hall. It is located on the huge Place des Terreaux, which is furnished with hundreds of chairs from the surrounding cafes. A few meters further on, children have discovered that the many small water fountains in the square swell up and down again and get cool by spreading their legs place over it. At the time of the revolution, a Garçon tells us, the guillotine stood here and colored the whole square blood red on busy days. Especially when the Lyons refused to obey the new masters in Paris. The weavers were later beaten down in their struggle for better working conditions, and during the German occupation, Lyon was considered the capital of the Resistance. Directly behind the Terreaux there is a steep uphill to the Croix Rousse district. The Voxan waves through the maze of one-way streets, switchbacks and steep driveways up to the plateau. Countless stair canyons with hundreds of steps provide a view of the Rhône over and over again across several cross streets. Until 100 years ago, the Croix Rousse was the living and working area of ​​thousands of silk weavers who toiled on the hill from morning to evening in the same rhythm as the wooden monsters. Lyon had had a monopoly on the manufacture of these precious fabrics since 1536. Today the Croix Rousse is the adopted home of creative people, artists and alternatives who feel extremely comfortable in the attractive old buildings with almost four meter high wooden ceilings. But there is one here who is still working the traditional way: Monsieur Mattelon, the last silk weaver in town. The 87-year-old was the only one who kept his looms; all the neighbors simply burned their tools, which had become useless after the introduction of synthetic fibers. Together with a designer, Monsieur Mattelon creates precious fabrics for the big fashion shows of YSL, Lagerfeld and Givenchy. With the very noble pieces, he only manages a few centimeters a day. With less labor-intensive fabrics, he likes to let school classes look over the fingers while weaving. Mattelon says mischievously that he won’t stop until the machine comes to a standstill. It’s slowly getting stuffy with the leather clothes in the attic studio, and downstairs the Voxan is screaming for an outlet. No problem, after all, the Beaujolais and the Monts du Lyonnais, the Lyon mountains, are just outside Lyon. In a good quarter of an hour you can be out in the country, and finally I can turn the two-cylinder a bit. It answers that without any vibrations, but with an aggressive growl from the intake system. At first we just drift and turn randomly onto small, winding streets. Along the long ribbon we whir past centuries-old farmhouses built from the stones that are so typical of this area, the »pierres dorees«, which, when evening falls, glow almost gold in the glow of the low sun. Finally, we reach Yzeron, during the week via a sleepy village at 700 meters above sea level, on the weekend thanks to its central square with the two cafes, a focal point for bikers, cyclists, mushroom pickers, hikers, families with children. Again the Cafe Racer growls grimly, and again all heads turn to look at him in appreciation. And the corridors are already flowing, while the narrow exit from the town reflects the rumbling expressions of life of the two-cylinder. The Voxan feels at home here, the streets are narrow but in excellent condition. Little traffic and the gently rolling hills do the rest. In a wide bend, we are suddenly surprised by a broadband view: 30 kilometers away is a huge depression, the Rhône Valley, and embedded in it is Lyon. Behind it, on a clear day, you can see the Alps, like pearls on a chain, peaks after peaks. Back in the metropolis. Across the Rhône, through the Arab quarter, you have already reached the Avenue de Marechal de Saxe. We park the Voxan on one of the numerous moped parking spaces that are available all over the city. Liberte, egalite, fraternity ?? Here the scooter stands fraternally next to the Hayabusa. And the whole biker scene meets in the cafe next door. Regardless of whether you are a sports or chopper driver, they all have one thing in common: the outfit. The French motorcyclist wears jeans and a fashionable leather jacket. Leather, Gore-Tex or even Kevlar pants are completely out. And something else is noteworthy: Most mopeds are somehow converted, and completely legally, because in France there is no TuV for two-wheelers. In the accessory shops, some of which are available here, everyone can have their license plate embossed. There are innumerable variants. When I ask a seller which sign is officially allowed, he points to the largest version. And the others, the little ones? You could of course have them made, quite legally. And then drive it, completely illegally. Because anyone caught with a license plate that is too small faces a fine of around 350 francs. At least on paper. In any case, the yoghurt cups all drive around a little cigarette packet-sized label under the rear light. Happy France. We wait one or two wheelies on the biker mile, then we leave the scene and cross the Rhône again, past the houseboats, over one of the artfully illuminated bridges. Light ?? la lumière ?? has played an important role in the self-portrayal of the city since the Lumière brothers, who invented numerous innovations in the field of photography at the end of the 19th century. After dark, she changes her face thanks to an “illumination plan”, according to which more than 150 buildings, bridges and monuments are “illuminated”. The opera shines most impressively, with its deep red roof jutting into the night sky like an oversized radiant heater. Star architect Jean Nouvel put a semicircular glass dome on top of the classicist building. With an amazing effect: the red in the dome, which is visible from afar, swells up and down again and changes its intensity even depending on the number of visitors. The Lyons therefore call the opera “le poumon” ?? called the lungs because it reflects how much life there is in the city. And the counterculture meets under the arcades on the ground floor: young breakdancers practice their breakneck pirouettes on the smooth stone slabs. Stomachs growl, the horses smell the local stable, but before that, the Voxan is not spared a final public appearance. Namely in the Rue Mercière, the most famous restaurant mile in the city, a small alley at the end of which is the “Chez Moss”, famous for its fish and seafood specialties. Here, too, the Voxan attracts everyone’s attention. An elderly gentleman jumps up from his table and speaks to me. That was “his” Voxan. Then he points to individual screws and the seat holder: »Là … et là … et là aussi … !!! C ?? est moi qui ai fait ça! «He is a manufacturer and manufactured these parts. And you know what, does he mean by saying goodbye, one or two movements ?? and the motorcycle has 160 HP, no joke, it would be very easy … We sit down in the turmoil. You sit close together in the »bouchons lyonnais«, as the small restaurants are called. It’s good that Lyon has nothing at all from the streams of tourists that Paris visitors know. An American once said: “Paris is a great international city, Lyon is a great French city.” But the treasures of its 2000-year history have not gone unnoticed: UNESCO liked the largest Renaissance quarter in France so much that Lyon was named a World Heritage Site. And only Venice, Prague, St. Petersburg, Santiago de Compostella and Porto have achieved that before her. The metropolis could slowly begin to gain the attention it deserves. And when I look at my new girlfriend, who is leaning in wait on the side stand, then I am sure that I have found the right company for this city.


If you take a day or two for Lyon during a trip to France, you will discover an attractive city. The historical center
as well as numerous excellent restaurants make a visit a pleasure.

You approach Lyon via Dijon and Macon on the A 76 toll road, the Autoroute de Soleil. Behind Villfranche, about 40 kilometers from Lyon, the motorway forks. If you want to go into the city, you have to stay on the A 6 in the direction of Lyon, because the A 46 (in the direction of Lyon and Marseille) leads around the city on the »Peripherique«. On the A 6, just after the Fourvière tunnel, take the exit towards Presqu «Ile in the city, which lies between Saone and Rhône. When the sun is shining, tables and chairs in the countless cafes can be found outside in the squares or on the roadside all year round. Otherwise, spring (April to June) and late summer (September) are not as hot and humid as midsummer, but they are always very sunny and warm. In the French holiday months of July and August, the city is relatively empty? half of France romps around the Mediterranean. Even in the city center, double rooms are available from around 100 marks. For example in the Hotel du Theatre, 10, Rue de Savoie on the Place des Celestins, phone 0033-478 / 423332. There is a paid underground car park right next door. A little more secluded: the Residenz Villemanzy, a converted monastery with a view over the city in the Montee St. Sebastian, phone 0033-472 / 001900. For those who like it more rural: In the Monts du Lyonnais there are various Chambre d «hôte (private guest rooms), which are very beautifully located and usually cost less than 100 marks per double room. When visiting town for the motorcycle, it is essential to look for a guarded parking space. Public underground garages charge around two marks per hour for two-wheelers during the day, and around three marks at night between 7 p.m. and 8 a.m. Further information: Office de Tourisme, Place Bellecoure, 69002 Lyon, phone 0033-472 / 776996, or on the Internet at The motorcycle already has in France, the attractive and idiosyncratic styled motorcycles from Voxan should find their way on Germany’s roads this spring. The Cafe Racer is truly an eye-catcher: a robust, 100 hp V2 engine, little packaging and lots of great details such as the easy-to-adjust upside-down fork or the strut placed under the engine with elaborate lever deflection. A real driving machine for around 23,000 marks. A visit to the inner and old town is an absolute must. In the traboules, small covered corridors, of the Vieux Lyon (old town) you can sneak through the semi-darkness like the silk weavers a hundred years ago. In the evening, the entire city center is transformed into a single open-air restaurant. The most beautiful place: Place des Terreaux, where the opera is located next door. LiteratureLyon ekes out a shadowy existence as a travel destination, the yield of travel guides is correspondingly meager. Very good information can be found in the brochure “On the ways of the world cultural heritage”, which is sent for twelve marks by the Office de Tourisme and is completely sufficient as a city tour guide. In the MOTORRAD travel guide “France Volume 2” from the On-the-Go edition there is no Lyon story, but six reports take you to the south of the country. For 29.80 Marks (plus postage) to order at the special sale of the Motor-Presse-Verlag, phone 0711 / 182-1229. France fans swear by Michelin maps, in this case on sheet 246 at a scale of 1: 200,000 for 12.80 marks.

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