Lyon's Sidewalk Ballet

When visiting Lyon France a few years ago I was most impressed with number of people on the streets.  It reminded me of Jane Jacob's concept sidewalk ballet, where everyone dances around each other in a random but animated dance-like fashion. I hope these images capture some of the spontaneity, surprises and sense of place that is Lyon. 

Every picture tells a story.  You can't help but wonder what is the story of the three seniors on the bench or what about the boy and man on the next bench?

Great streets are full of surprises.  We found this band busking late one afternoon and you could just feel everyone stop and enjoy the moment. 

Caught this family heading out directly from their home onto a busy sidewalk, bikes and all. North Americans could never imagine living on a busy urban street with young kids, but in Lyon is was quite common to see kids on the bustling sidewalks.  This is the sidewalk ballet Jane Jacobs talked about. I was lucky to happen upon this! 

I wonder what he is writing about.  The streets of Lyon were full of people each with their own charm and character. I could spend hours watching the ballet unfold in front of me. 

Watch your step? Yes more than once we had to be careful to watch our step.  Loved this carousel in the middle of the sidewalk/plaza. It made you feel like everyday life is a carnival? Happy Streets / Happy Living?

This was on a Sunday afternoon.  Just the right number of people to make people watching interesting. Also was intrigued by the reflection of the old building in the new. What a great way to link the past and the present. 

I couldn't help but think this foursome wasn't talking about their golf game! 

I like the narrative of the people walking into and out of this street ballet, while the guy smiles on the phone in his own world.  Also something poetic about the arm gestures of the characters. 

This wonderful playground is located in the middle of downtown on one of the plazas.  If we want more families to live downtown in North America we must  build plazas and pocket parks like this, not ones that have nothing to see or do!  This was too much fun for everyone!

Rush hour in Lyon. Indeed this is what the pedestrian mall looked like at about 5 pm as everyone seems to converge on the street for a wonderful finale to the sidewalk ballet. 

I expect that there is a sidewalk ballet in almost every city.  I'd l love to hear about the sidewalk ballet in your city.  Send me some pics.