As I mentioned previously, the Invisible City concept is all about being curious and keeping your eyes open, and having the desire to hunt out and recount the forgotten stories of your own personal environment. I'm assured that Lyon - a place that I personally have never visited - is an excellent invisible city with a very wide range of potential material!
Jan, the explorer behind the Invisible Lyon blog, has already unearthed the story behind the first "Muslim" gargoyle on the city's cathedral and found the purpose of a mysterious building, but he has plenty more ideas up his sleeve. Here I ask him three questions which reveal his own intentions and what gives Lyon its invisibility.
What is the story behind Invisible Lyon?
Jan: Having grown up in Britain, I subsequently spent many years in Germany, France and the United States. However, thanks partly to my wife and a passion for real camembert, I remain a confirmed Francophile, in spite of the fact that my kids began correcting my French from the age of 4 ("No, Daddy: it's LA chambre!"). Given that I recently moved for the twentieth time – albeit not always to a new town or city – Lyon is probably not my final destination. But for now I feel very much at home here, and see myself living in Lyon for many years to come.
Because of Lyon's geographically determined eastward expansion over the last two millennia, old buildings have by-and-large not had to make way for newer ones. As a result, you can find plenty of evidence of Lyon's Roman and Medieval past as well as fascinating modern developments at the other end of the city. Add to this a fiercely independent people, fabulous architecture and a lively artistic and cultural community, and you have the recipe for a multitude of easy-to-find and less well-known treasures that are a joy to discover and explore.
What can we expect to find on the blog in the coming months?
In the weeks and months ahead, Invisible Lyon will be reporting on, amongst other things, a building with 365 windows, Lyon's most instantly recognizable street art group, and a very dark chapter in the city's history. I'll also be explaining why it's bad news if - to bowdlerise Sarah Palin's immortal words - I can see Italy from my window.
Whilst it is not my intention to create a worldwide network of invisible city blogs, I do think it would be quite fun. If anyone has a candidate city in mind and is looking for a bit of help, please get in touch!