The Countryside of Lyon and Learning About My French Host Family

The Countryside of Lyon and Learning About My French Host Family

by Ella Russell, Greenheart Travel High School student in France

I had misunderstood the vacation length. It is actually around three weeks for those in the high school premier class in France, because they have to do the Bac Blanc, which seems slightly like the PSAT, but more important. So I stayed with my host uncle (Rachid) and his family for a week, and for the week after that, I rejoined my host family at the house of my host mom’s sister’s family (still in Lyon, but in the city).

Looking back on it now, during the stay with Rachid, although we didn’t do a great amount of sightseeing (which is what I was hoping for), it was still fun. A lot of time was spent watching TV with my host cousins, but as I usually watch TV for a specific movie (usually on Netflix), I discovered new movies that I had never heard of before.

It was interesting to see that while there are the news shows of course, and several French series, French made films and series are heavily contested on TV by the American and English shows, especially compared to America, where it is far more of an effort to find popular French series or films.

Also, throughout my visit, we went to the grandmother’s house (on the side of the mother), and I met more cousins and aunts. I already knew that the family was Muslim, but during one visit, I saw the grandparents praying. I had seen praying in Islam before from videos, but it was the first time I had seen that in person.


Sunday, was the day when we did the sightseeing. The parents took me to see the Fouviere Basilica, apparently one of the most famous landmarks of Lyon. It was very grandiose. There were many statues throughout the Basilica, the walls were decorated with stained glass and tapestries, and above the chandeliers even the ceiling had several decorations.

church in lyon

There was also what I am pretty sure was holy water, which I dipped my hand into. I took several photos. After the Basilica, we visited roman ruins of an arena nearby, which looked like a popular place for picnics.

We also went to the Cinema, a trampoline park, basically the same as it is in the US, and nearby the house, there is a park that we went to several times when the kids had stayed at home for the day and the mother wanted them to get more sunshine.


As for the family themselves, I had a better relationship with the parents, than the kids. Rachid was the most curious about English, often asking me the English translations of words or phrases in French, and I managed to have a rather lengthy debate with Djamila (my host aunt) about religion vs atheism. I was initially worried that she would take offense, but she was glad that I was curious.


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