Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Le Tour de France: Lyon

Tuesday, July 1
During the drive from Provence to Lyon, I realized it would have been smarter to drop off the rental car in Avignon, and take the TGV from there. I think it would have been faster and cost less. Lesson learned. Luckily, the traffic into the city was not bad, and we found Hotel Saint Pierre des Terreaux. Dan almost got a ticket while I was dropping off the luggage in the room! He was parked in a 30-minute loading zone, and apparently a special sticker is needed. At least that was his interpretation of what the meter maid said (Dan doesn't speak French). I'm glad I made him stay with the car! Anyway after leaving our luggage at the hotel, we returned the car at Lyon-Perrache train station, and I was so relieved to be rid of it. We walked back toward the hotel and checked out some plazas and shops. We got ice cream since it was so hot out.


Basilique de Fourvière 

After a little rest, we had dinner at Daniel & Denise in the old town. Dan's entree included beef nose, which was like crunchy cartilage. He liked it. We also tried the quenelle, a fishy blob with a creamy sauce that apparently is a specialty of the area. Dinner was delicious, but we were both super full! So we walked along the Saône River, lots of young people hanging out on the quai. We saw the Hôtel de Ville lit up at night, also checked out the opera house, where there was a jazz performance. Then we saw the Basilique de Fourvière and la Tour d'Argent lit up too.



Hanging out on the quai

Hôtel de Ville

Lyon at night

Wednesday, July 2
The first morning of our trip where breakfast wasn't included, we had become very spoiled! We walked across the Rhône River to Bernachon, one of the top reasons for our visit to Lyon. After selecting several pastries, we realized there was nowhere to sit outside because of the rain. So we went next door to the cafe where I got a café crème, then we ordered the same pastries again, haha! (It worked out though, because we ate the to-go ones the following morning for breakfast.) Then we bought a large quantity of chocolate to take home. Dan asked if I thought it was enough, and said maybe we should get more, but I thought he was joking. Sad, because we definitely did not buy enough. Waahh!


Chocolate for breakfast 

Then we walked to les Halles Paul Bocuse, a large enclosed food mall. On the way we saw a man from dinner the night before! Also stopped to look in a key shop, since Dan's niece collects keys. Unfortunately because we don't speak French, we could not communicate that we wanted to buy an old key. The locksmith seemed confused as to why we did not have the lock, or key specifications. Les Halles was a bit like the Ferry Plaza at home, but with lots more food. Mmm, everything looked so enticing. We looked at each and every stall, and eventually we were ready for lunch, so we ate at one of the more crowded spots, which was very tasty. The people next to us were speaking French, one of them was a very skinny woman. She cleaned her plate at lunch. How do French women stay so thin? Dan says maybe that was the only meal she ate all week. I wonder.

Lunch at Les Halles de Lyon Paul Bocuse

The rain had stopped, and we walked back to the hotel and dropped off our chocolates and pastries. Then we did some shopping (it was sale season all over France -- les soldes), and walked up the hill to see Basilique de Fourvière, the basilica church dedicated to Mary. I found the exterior unattractive, but the interior is palatial, with many beautiful mosaics. There were nice views too. We walked over to see the Roman amphitheater ruins, but it had just closed. So we walked down the hill through some gardens, then through the old town. 


Basilique de Fourvière

View of Cathédrale Saint-Jean

We went to Archange for dinner, which a couple we met in Beaune had recommended, and we saw them when we walked in! Funny. It was their last night in Lyon, and it was their favorite restaurant in the city. Dinner was delicious, I had duck à l'Orange, and my dessert was soooo yummy. Amazing chocolate ganache with hazelnut ice cream. Yum yum yum. Before they left, the couple gave us a lunch recommendation for the next day.


Chocolate dessert

Thursday, July 3
We packed up and left our luggage at the hotel, then walked to the square by the Hôtel de Ville and sat at an outdoor table. I ordered an espresso, Dan got an orange juice, and we ate our Bernachon pastries from the previous day. We saw another field trip, I think the students were doing a scavenger hunt. Just like at home. We walked to the Saône and took a boat ride down the river. It was only 2€ and took us to the shopping mall in a modern area. The apartment buildings reminded me of Copenhagen.

Boat ride on the Saône

On a boat

Reminiscent of Copenhagen

Then we took the funicular up to see the Theatres Romains de Fourviere, where we saw another field trip. It was so hot, but Dan enjoyed reading the signage about the ruins. I enjoyed that they are used for the original intent, with Nuits de Fourvière performances in both amphitheaters during the summer.

French field trip to Theatres Romains de Fourviere

Dan checking out Theatres Romains de Fourviere

Theatres Romains de Fourviere

Then we saw the treasury at Cathédrale Saint-Jean-Baptiste de Lyon. The interior of the church is being restored. The treasury featured relics, chalices and fancy vestments (priest robes) from long, long ago. I enjoyed seeing the old photographs of Lyon.

 Cathédrale Saint-Jean

Then we walked to Jeremy Galvan, the restaurant that was recommended to us. It looked fancy, and we decided to go for it. So glad we did, it was one of the best meals of the trip. Also very reasonably priced, three courses -- entree, plat, dessert sampler with coffee, plus two amuse bouche for 24€, tax and service included. I don't think we could get that at home.



Lyon is known for its food, and we ate very well during our stay! After lunch, we walked back to the hotel to pick up our luggage. Took a taxi to Part-Dieu train station, and then we were on the TGV to Paris!

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