A Travellerspoint blog

December 2014

Majestic Traditional France - Lyon

Lights, beauty, fashion, offal and one amazing cookie!

We arrived in Lyon to another funky apartment and awesome host. We were central yet again and could walk anywhere we needed too. We explored the central area and all the amazing shops. We happened to come across a protest in full swing.

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These guys were football fans so you could tell that things were going to get intense. Needless to say we walked the other way to avoid the eventual carnage.
That evening we headed to a Bouchon for traditional Lyonnaise cuisine. We had no idea what we were in for!

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We arrived and were told all we needed to do was choose a main course. Lewis was a lot more adventurous than me and opted for the beef tongue in a spicy tomato sauce. While I went the safe route and choose chicken in cream sauce. Our options were offal filled and included liver, kidney and tripe. It was a lot of offal and not a lot else when it came to the main choices! The Bouchon had three courses. The first was numerous bowls brought to your table with a huge selection of salads and starters. Ours consisted of herrings, pig trotters, pork intestines, ears before moving to the more normal lentil, mustardy potato, bean and beetroot salads.

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At this point our mains arrived. We had just been given over 10 bowls of salad to try and consume so the thought of more food was pretty astronomical. We were in for a long night. I couldn't stomach Lewis tongue dish-partially from not being able to get over seeing the tastebuds and this massive tongue of his plate and partially from the richness of the garlic in the sauce. He had an amazing potato gratin though. My chicken was simple and tasted delicious. Desert was the same as the entree, more massive bowls of traditional food. Creme caramel, meringue floating in custard, creamed rice and wine poached pears and prunes. Yum! We both went home happy we'd tried this cuisine and more importantly that we both agreed it wasn't our favourite and so we wouldn't be rushing out to do it again.

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Lyon is know as the city of lights and as we walked around the city looking at all of the buildings lit up you could see why. They light up 325 buildings/ monuments every night but in December for one weekend they have the festival of lights and this goes to extreme with light shows and animations on the buildings. (I can't wait to go back and see this!). It was a great way to walk and digest our monstrous meal before heading back to our apartment.

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The markets are run on the riverbank near our apartment and Sunday was the best morning to get produce as it was the largest market day. The market was massive. There was so much variety and it would have been one of the best markets we have been to in all of Europe for fresh produce. It was fairly difficult to figure out what we wanted for lunch with all the choices.
After sandwiches with fresh baguette, smoked pork, lettuce and tomato we did a e-bike tour. I'd never been on an e-bike before and it was an excellent experience (I wish we had done one earlier!). We started in Croix Roux, an area which is famous for it's silk worker trade and once wasn't considered a part of Lyon.

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We ventured up the hills enjoying the amazing view over the roof-tops of old Lyon before looking over the mountains. Our e-bike did two thirds of the work for us when we climbed up the hills. It was awesome!! We saw the basilica and the TV tower that resembles a mini Eiffel tower before heading back down through the old town and stopping for a tea break. We had a few cakes, gingerbread, apple cake and praline pie. The praline pie was very sweet but another thing Lyon is known for. We continued on, stopping at the cathedral and seeing it's gothic beauty before caring on along the river to the park. It was dark when we arrived but still amazing to bike around this massive green area. We stopped at the zoo's night giraffe enclosure to see the giraffes feeding. It was amazing to watch. The baby sat staring at us while we watched mesmerised by the whole experience. We were then off again this time through a car free tunnel. This wasn't an ordinary tunnel, it had a music and light-show playing the whole way through. Apparently the show constantly changes. I veered from the path a few times as I stared at shows on the walls.

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We arrived back stopping at a second massive mural of the famous people of Lyon along the way. These mural pictures takeover the whole side of a building and are extremely life-like! They are amazing and are constantly updated. It was freezing by the time we finished our bike in the dark. I was stoked as the giraffes and the tunnel were amazing and highlights of Lyon to me.

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We explored the traboules; secret alleys /paths through buildings from back in the olden times the next day. They were so much fun to find. You basically walk through someones house to get to the street behind or in front. It was an awesome way to make you way up or down the hill.
We found the courtyard in the art museum after our missions through the traboules. The museum is housed in an old Convent and such a peaceful and stunning location, especially on the dull autumn day we visited. All I wanted to do was sit in there reading a book and thinking.

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Our last morning was visiting Les Halles de Paul Bocuse. The market was more restaurant stalls than a market. But if was awesome to look at the premium products from the area. We discovered a boulangerie on our way home. It sold the best cookies we have had in Europe so far. (Oh how I wish I had known that when were there). They were soft yet crumbly and chocolate chip with salted butter caramel in them was bitter yet sweet. My mouth waters talking about it. I am a really depressed I didn't eat the cookie straight away as I would have brought more. I can't wait to try and recreate these little beauties when I finally have my own kitchen. The chicken sandwich and chocolate bread we got from the same place were also magical. (Sadly again there are no photos of these marvels).

Lyon was what I imagined France to be. Food, fashion and a beautiful place. I was impressed and can't wait to explore more.

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Posted by chellebelle 15:48 Archived in France Tagged buildings food lights old pretty tongue airbnb offal cold! Comments (0)

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