Monday, November 16, 2015

Lyon me*

The last stop on our trip - I swear blogging it has taken longer than it did in real time - was an overnight stopover in Lyon. Traffic and the Millau detour meant we didn't arrive until early evening, but we still had time for a quick walk around the Old Town's narrow, cobbled and touristy streets before dinner.

Lyon is at the confluence of two rivers. This one is the Sâone

In front of a wild horse fountain by the town hall

At certain intervals, steam came through the horses' nostrils, which was pretty cool
Lyon's been on the list for a long time. Everyone seems to like it. One evening and a morning is really not enough, but we had our priorities straight - food. Lyon is often known as the culinary capital of France, and when we're talking France, that's saying a lot. It is particularly known for its bouchons, bistros serving traditional Lyonnaise cuisine, often heavy on the offal. On our first evening, however, we opted to dine chez Paul Bocuse, the legendary Lyonnais chef who has held three Michelin stars for over 50 years. Well, sort of. Nice as that would have been, a three-star restaurant wasn't quite in the plan (or budget). Instead, we dined at one of his brasseries, Le Nord. Food and service weren't quite three star of course, but still a pleasant meal, and we can now say we've dined at a Paul Bocuse establishment at least!

Jules in front of a couple of bouchons in the Old Town
In the morning, it was raining (as I said, the rain followed us around for the whole trip), but that didn't stop us taking Lyon's nifty little funicular up the hillside, where we accidentally but fortuitously got off at the Roman arena. It was still rigged up with a stage and lighting for the annual summer theatre that takes place there - it must be a cool experience, sitting in an ancient theatre with a great view of the city. It was pretty miserable and deserted when we were there though!

My allergy to ironing letting me down again here

View of the theatre and the city
From there, it was a short walk to the Notre Dame Basilica, where we had been intending to go all along. This 19th-century church was as lavishly decorated as the one in Albi, just much newer, brighter and more sparkly. And way more crowded. It was pretty much as noisy and bustling as a nightclub in there, which is never my favourite experience. Pretty though.

The rain had stopped by the time we came out of the basilica, and we were treated to some lovely views over the city.

The domed building in the middle is the Opera House, to the right of the town hall

Looking across the Sâone to the peninsula between the two rivers

I don't know where this was, but I liked the blurred look (I cropped a finger out of the top right-hand corner)
We couldn't leave Lyon without a stop at one of those bouchons I mentioned above. We picked a place that co-ordinated with my outfit and settled in for a three-course lunch. Jules had tripe, which I was even brave enough to try (okay, although it looks pretty gross) and I had the Lyon speciality of pike quenelle. I'd always seen quenelle described as a sort of dumpling, and so I had imagined something quite small. Turned out it was quite big and dense, and covered in a yummy crab (or maybe lobster?) sauce. Delish in any case.

My generously-sized quenelle

As well as food, Lyon is famous for its festival of lights, which always takes place around my birthday. So who knows, maybe one year I'll be back to see all the things we no doubt missed on our very brief stop in Lyon!

*I even like puns that make no sense. Lean on me? No?


  1. This could be a new blogging challenge: can you get to the end of the year putting a pun in every blog post title? (I'll try it if you do!)

    I love Lyon. It's like Paris without all the excesses of Paris. And for me the only place that might compete in terms of food is Bourgogne (which also has a beautiful basilica on the top of a hill ... is that a coincidence?).

    1. I have already failed the challenge, since I have a few posts cued up without puny titles :(

      Bourgogne is a place? I thought it was a region 🙄

    2. The place with the basilica is a town called Vézelay, but it's pretty small, so I figured it was fair to include the whole of the region in comparison with Lyon!

  2. I was at a freezing works last week and believe me, if you saw how tripe is obtained and prepared you'd never even think about it except in your nightmares!

    1. Ugh, well I'm not champing at the bit to eat it again in any case. Don't say anything about sausages though!


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