Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Another Day in Lyon

The real reason I wanted to see Lyon was from what I'd read in our DK Eyewitness Travel Guide. Like many of France's great cities, the Romans at one stage influenced their growth in trade, culture and architecture. Lyon has its fair share of Roman influence.
Originally a hill fort of the Gauls, the Romans settled the area in 42BC. I read where the Gauls named it Lugdunum and because of its position on two main rivers, it became a prime centre for trade.

Lyon is also known for its Gastronomic delights and that's maybe why Sue agreed that Lyon should be on our travel wish list. I'm not sure which we discovered first - after all it was 2009. For the purpose of this post lets say we visited the Roman ruins in the Fourviere Hill region first.
It was the two Roman Theatres I wanted to see and when I did I discovered that Leonard Cohen was to give a concert at the larger theatre in a few days time. Unfortunately we would be on our way back to Paris.

Setting up for the Leonard Cohen concert in Lyon.
I spent some time wandering, climbing and just sucking in the history of the place, being totally in awe of what was. But time was creeping on and Sue was waiting for me to return to where she was waiting. I was excited and wanted to share what I had seen. It was time for her to experience the culinary delights of Lyon. We had no idea where we would enjoy lunch and had not booked anything in advance but luck was on our side.
The doors were closed on the bike shop so I drooled on the window at this magnificent classic bike with its wooden rims. It was directly across from the Bouchon where were lucked upon.
Sue speaking now...
I'm not sure that luck was on our side, but I was certainly on the case! While Leon was fantasizing on the bike shop window, I was reading the menu of the bouchon opposite. Sounded great, so we decided to try our luck there. On entering, we asked for a table for two, and were met with a long, slow consideration of both of us from the waiter. He finally asked if we would be happy to share a table. We assured him we would. He showed us to a table for four at which sat an older couple half way through their meal. They were very polite and pleasant in welcoming us to the table, so that was OK. He spoke a little English, which he said he learned at school and his wife, no English at all. They would have been late 60s maybe. But definitely old school. The table next to us had a group of four American people who were happy to make themselves known to other English speakers. They wanted to know our secret, as apparently many others had tried to get into this busy restaurant while they were there and had all been turned away. They had apparently booked many weeks in advance as the place was well known. We didn't know the secret, drat! as I'm sure it is something that would be a handy skill on occasion! 
Anyhow, we had a lovely meal and a great time, conversing with the people both at our table, and those at the table beside ours. The French couple were on their way from Brittany I think, to visit with their son in the south,as they had just been delivered of a third grand child. We didn't get to choose our meal as food just materialized in front of us. Must have been a lunchtime deal, although it didn't say so any where, and that's not what seemed to happen with our US friends at the next table. It was a little odd as I recall. In fact there was a moment of awkwardness when we were given an amazing plate each of a mix of chocolate desserts and next door were given fromage blanc! They objected very strenuously and were eventually given a complimentary chocolate dessert to share. The bill in the end was about half what we expected. All in all yet another fabulous experience. Lyon is not my favorite city in France, but I would happily return to this bouchon!
I wish we could tell you more about this Bouchon's location but alas, I've tried in vain with Google Earth. Maybe one of our readers can help.
The following day we needed to catch the TGV from Lyon for our week back in Paris before returning back home in Melbourne. This was our longest trip to France starting from Senlis, Chantilly and onto the Loire and Burgundy. Along the way we met some lovely people - people that we keep in touch to this day.
Join us next Wednesday while we spend a week living in an apartment in the 11 em of Paris.


  1. Lyon sounds a really good and interesting place to visit. I think we need a camper car and a couple of years off to visit all the places I want to see. To add to that we have two sets of friends that I have bought in Portugal so we need to visit there as well :-) The shingles is still bugging me but we went out to lunch today and met friends as the restaurant. Four courses with wine included €11 each :-)) I have learnt what I can eat and what burns me so think I am on the mend slowly. Keep well Diane

    1. Glad to hear you are improving Diane.
      When we return, can we take you to the same restaurant - our shout!

    2. Only a pleasure, the food is fantastic :-)) See you soon.

  2. Lyon is a city which, for some reason or other, Niall and I have never visited [even though we know--in theory-- that it would be well worth it] Thanks so much for a great 'taste' of the place :-)

  3. I do not know Lyon at all, so it is nice to discover it through your eyes.

    1. We leave Lyon for Paris in the next Wednesdays in France post. I've actually warmed to Lyon more by writing about it. Where we stayed was a little grubby and there were some not so nice elements outside the old part. I guess that applies to all big cities.

  4. From the photo of the restaurant it seems to be "Les Adrets" which is located at 30 Rue De Boeuf, Lyon and is shown on Google Maps although there is unfortunately no direct "street view" available. As we always spend our French holidays in Brittany it is nice to see other areas of France via your travels. All the best. Ray

    1. Thanks Ray - it was a great lunch.
      We are yet to visit Brittany, but Sue has it on her list.

  5. Your meal sounds delicious.

    For us lyon is a place we pass on the autoroute to somewhere else - the Alps, the south or the Auvergne.

    You've shown us some of what the city has to offer and I'd travel almost any distance for a Leonard Cohen concert!


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