Full Circle on V-E Day

This morning, we decided to visit the Musée Miniature et Cinéma in Vieux Lyon. We had three reasons for going there:

  • Our friend Karen had recommended it
  • It was on the Lyon Card
  • It was open today, V-E Day!

It was a nice day, so we walked there; our route gave us a nice view of Port Bonaparte and the Basilica of Notre Dame of Fourviere (which we hope to visit before we leave Lyon).

The museum itself is quite interesting; the basement has reproductions of several movie sets from the film Perfume: The Story of a Murderer, and the next few floors are filled with props, miniatures, and models from various movies (mostly real, a few replicas), leaning heavily towards SF and action movies.

The top two stories are devoted to miniatures, many of which were created by the museum’s founder, Dan Ohlmann. The detail is amazing!

I would’ve stayed longer but we had a tour in the afternoon and we didn’t want to be late. After yesterday’s very long lunch experience, we wanted to eat near the starting point at the Jacquard statue at Place de la Croix-Rousse so we could rush there if the meal ran long. We set out for the metro to take us up the hill – just before we got to the station, I saw a Paul bakery restaurant and suggested we eat there. We were enjoying our food five minutes later. We ate a leisurely lunch because we wanted to, not because we were forced into it, and we still had plenty of time to get to Croix-Rousse.

So much time, in fact, that we stayed on the metro one extra stop so we could visit another of Karen’s recommendations, Mur des Canuts.

We walked back to the Jacquard statue and met our friends Desi and Chris who were joining us on our WWII and Resistance tour. I’d scheduled the tour to fit the guide’s availability and our tour plans – I hadn’t realized that we were taking the tour on V-E Day until we got to Lyon!

Our guide, Clémence, took us on almost the same path as we’d followed on Saturday, but the emphasis of the tour was completely different. She started by telling us about Marshall Petain and Vichy France, the Occupation, and the three main groups which were the nucleus of the Resistance. Those groups didn’t want to cooperate, but De Gaulle sent Jean Moulin from London back into France to get them to work together and to lead the Resistance. He was captured by the Germans at the funicular station at Croix-Rousse. President Macron was in Lyon today to honor Moulin at a V-E Day ceremony at Montluc Prison, where Moulin was tortured, but died without giving up any secrets.

She told us about many other Resistance figures, about life in Lyon during the war, some of the actions that the Resistance took, and much more. We stopped outside the building where the Gestapo rounded up 86 Jews one day in 1943 – it was the office of the Lyon Jewish Community, and as Jews arrived to do their legal business, the Gestapo took them.

They arrested 86 Jews and deported 80. Three of those 80 survived. May the memory of all of them be for a blessing.

She told us how Klaus Barbie, the Butcher of Lyon, was finally tracked down and extradited to France; he probably would have been sentenced to death, but the death penalty had been abolished a few years before his capture. The Minister of Justice at the time, Robert Badinter, led the effort to abolish the death penalty – his father Simon was one of the Jews rounded up here and later murdered in a death camp. Life is strange.

After the tour, we went back to the hotel for a welcome cocktail party to mark the official commencement of our Lyon tour – there was enough wine and nosh that we didn’t want dinner. We took a walk to burn off a few of the calories; after a while, ice cream seemed like a good idea. I found La Fabrique Givrée online; when we got there, I realized that it was next door to the Musée Miniature et Cinéma where we’d started the day!

Pont Bonaparte looked different in the evening light.