The Trip to Lyon
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Posted 27 June 2011

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The 11th International F. Scott Fitzgerald Conference in Lyon, July 4-9, 2011

See the Fitzgerald Conference in Lyon on our Flickr Photo Gallery

Scott Fitzgerald's visit to Lyon was a brief one, as remembered long after the events by Hemingway. Yet the Rhône-Alpes region left its mark on the Fitzgeralds' lives, as it certainly did on members of the Fitzgerald Society who attended the Eleventh International F. Scott Fitzgerald Conference held in Lyon, France, from 4 July  to 9 July 2011. Lyon 3 University and its downtown campus hosted the conference, with a full-day of academic sessions, a

or at least heard of, nearby Aix-les-Bains since Scott mentions it briefly in Tender Is the Night. The conference directors organized a cruise on the lake of Annecy, an especially beautiful way to view the area, which also enabled us to view the Fitzgeralds' hotels on the shore. We then explored the old town dominated by its medieval castle. A stopover in Aix-les-Bains on the way back to Lyon enabled us to follow in the nostalgic and romantic steps of all the successive visitors who, ever since Roman times, have come to stay in the small Alpine town famous for its thermal baths, whether it be romantic poet Lamartine, the Bonaparte family, Queen Victoria, George the First from Greece or Pierpont Morgan. Its Roman, Belle Epoque and Art Déco sites are proofs of its long tradition as a relaxing and fashionable place.

After the conference, some attendees prolonged their French visit with stays in Paris, which was easy thanks to the numerous (more than twenty) daily fast-train connections (two hours by TGV train). The South is another easy destination from Lyon: Marseille and Montpellier for instance are a 1h45min TGV ride away.

visit to the “Institut Lumière”, home of Auguste and Louis Lumière, who shot the first film there.

Together with its suburbs and satellite towns, Lyon forms the second-largest metropolitan area in

France after Paris. A UNESCO WorldHeritage Site since 1998, with its Roman, Renaissance and Silk districts, Lyon, “the capital of Gaul” and “silk capital of the world,” will appeal to those who delight in historical sights. For those with more earthly concerns, we should remember that Lyon is known as the French capital of gastronomy, due, in part, to the presence of many of France's most famous chefs but also to the fact that two of France's best-known wine-growing areas are located nearby: the Beaujolais and the Côtes du Rhône. Conference attendees were offered the possibility of an afternoon visit to the Beaujolais vineyards or the enjoyable “bouchons,” those very traditional, typical Lyon restaurants.

A full-day bus excursion took attendees to Annecy and Aix-Les-Bains, charming Alpine towns less than two hours away, by expressway, from Lyon. Although they journeyed there at a dark timein their lives, the Fitzgeralds did enjoy Annecy and its beautiful lake in 1931. They also probably visited,

The Lumiere brothers