Friday, June 1, 2012

More on Lyon, France

Saturday was a big day for us - we were determined to see (and taste) as much of Lyon as we could.

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I was up at 6am to stroll the streets, camera in hand. As with any city at that time of morning, there were a few rather drunk people still finishing up their evenings - I stuck to the main streets just to be safe.

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Detail on the Palais du Justice

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Opéra de Lyon

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Closest thing I got to a chandelier

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Tom Cruise would be disappointed with all the empty bottles on the steps of this Church of Scientology.

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Once the sun was well and truly up I kicked my bestie out of her bed and we hit the streets.

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We crossed a bridge into Presqu'île, the city centre, located on the peninsula formed between the Rhône and Saône Rivers.

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We did lots of street wandering, stopping for coffee and cake, before heading to the Musée des Tissus (Fabric Museum) where I spent a few hours.

Unfortunately no photos allowed inside, but here is the very nice courtyard between the Museum and the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, located next door.

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I would go back to the Museum for the embroidery alone. My favourites were the 200 year old clothes from France - the embellishments were so intricate and beautiful it almost brought tears to my eyes.

I couldn't get over how much smaller everyone was all those years ago. I would struggle to fit in the men's clothes that were on display and wouldn't have a chance with the ladies' gear. I blame the hormones in the chicken.

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Yarn shop seen near the Musée

Lunch was at Georges Brasserie (as recommended by Sara Louise) - it gets two thumbs up from us.

The afternoon was some retail therapy (it's so nice to shop without children in tow). After three shirts and a watch I was very happy.

We headed home via the Cathedral of St Jean, which is only open to the public in the afternoons.

Although it was finished in the 1460s, if you walk around the side you can see the ruins of the 6th century church on which it was built.

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Inside it is lovely and gothic with plenty of stone encrusted vaults and stained glass.

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The astronomical clock in the north transept

We made it back to our apartment to drop off our shopping and have a wee rest before our hike up to the Croix-Rousse quarter.

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Croix-Rousse is on the steep slopes north of the city centre and has an arty, bohemian vibe. History wise, it was a centre for silk weaving - unfortunately we didn't get the chance to visit the Maison des Canuts (Silk-weavers' House) for a run down on the industry.

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We got a good work out heading up all the stairs and were rewarded with lovely views once we got there.

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Speaking of the canuts, the silk-weavers had a undercity network of secret passages through which they could transport silk in rainy weather. Called the traboules, the secret streets were also used by the French Resistance.

We traversed some traboules which ran through apartment blocks into secret courtyards between streets. None of the ones we used went underground and were accessed by doors in the street like this:

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Where we came out (with interesting pub sign).

After taking in the views and ambiance up in Croix-Rousse it was time to head back down again for our dinner.

When in Lyon you should try to eat at a bouchon restaurant.

Bouchons are bistros that specialise in hearty, homelike food. And offal. I'm not so crazy about offal, but we muddled through.

Diners are seated next to each other on long tables (we had a French family on one side of us and a Taiwanese couple on the other) and you eat together.

The entrée consisted of 10 different dishes in large bowls that we all shared.

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Chez Paul. We liked it. 

I'm going to boast now: I actually ate jellied veal feet and some ox tongue salad. The former was as bad as it sounds, but the later was very, very yummy. Although I did have to cut off the tongue bristles which put a damper on my buzz. There were other vegetarian and non-offal options too, so we didn't go hungry.

Main course you ordered from the menu (offal or not) and desserts were brought out in large serves for the whole table, just like the entrées.

Don't forget to try the cervelle de canut (silk-weavers' brains) for your cheese course (it's only fromage blanc with chives, garlic and salt. Very tasty.)

The food was lovely although not as good as the meal the night before. It's the atmosphere and group dining that makes the bouchon experience so different. Talking with your neighbours and banter with the staff is great fun and makes for a night to remember.

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We walked home via the Hôtel de Ville, very happy after our two pots of beaujolais and another lovely day in Lyon.

16 comments:

  1. I do like that pub sign, someone there has a good sense of humor. You are a brave taster. I don't know if I would have tasted tongue that I had to cut the britles off of first...I really need to go visit Lyon, your photos have me tempted. We have always just driven through on our way somewhere else up north.

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  2. Oh, you are a brave girl eating offal! I tried eel recently and was presently surprised at how much I loved it! Not sure I would be so eager to try ox tongue or jellied feet! Love the pub sign- wonder if it'd work in Melbourne!

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  3. I cook beef tongue at home and like it sliced for sandwiches. The kitchen should have skinned the tongue before serving it to you... after cooking, it easily peels away.
    There's a restaurant in Geneva, Switz.(at least years ago there was) where everyone eats together at long tables. It was fun to eat there...it was always very crowded.
    I've been to Lyon, but just for a quick trip for lunch. I enjoyed your travelogue with pics...thanks!

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  4. ah, my favorite salad ever was at the Brasserie Georges...the lardons salad of frisee with a poached egg on top. I still dream of it!

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  5. I just realised I missed your birthday. By.. a lot :D
    Well, you can never have too many birthday wishes, right? :D

    Happy Birthday, K :)

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  6. Thanks for that. A warning would have been nice. Sounds like a great restaurant though.
    Great pub sign and love the photos, you do take such beautiful photos.

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  7. I am full of envy, I want so badly to go to Lyon and visit the Musée du Tissu. I now know that there is so much more to Lyon, thank you for the beautiful pictures and the food recommendations!

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  8. I can tell from your two lovely posts that my one night in Lyon is definitely not going to be enough this July. Oh well, reason to go back!

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    1. Exactly. There is always a reason to come back!

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  9. Kirsty - we were in Lyon last October (which feels like a hundred million years ago now!) and we LOVED it.
    What I love even more though, is re-experiencing this gorgeous city through your eyes. You have such an artistic way of looking at things and documenting your travels in such a stylish way. I love how you notice details that 99% of people would never even notice.
    Gorgeous!
    x

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  10. How will we ever get our 'France Fix' when you return to Australie?! I love it that you visit all the places that I would, and that food is so high on your priority list, as it would be for me! Very brave of you to tackle the offal though. Beautiful photos and stories. Thanks for working so hard to share the detail of your travels. We love it ;)

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  11. G will be so proud of you when I tell him you ate jellied veal feet and ox tongue! x

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  12. What an awesome blog you have Kirsty....it really is fun going through your posts...I am enjoying it immensely...hugs Khris

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  13. So long since I went to Provence, how lush it looks, like sun and fresh vegetables - my favorite things

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  14. Your photos are really stunning!!!!! I am planning to stay 4 days in Lyon but I guess it's not enough? What do you think?

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    1. I guess it depends on what you want to see and how much time you want to do it! I think you could see plenty in four days, if you make sure you do a bit of planning to make the most of your time. We had three days managed to fit in a ton! Good luck and enjoy your trip.

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Hi there, I love getting comments, so let her rip! I do my very best to reply (by email) so please make sure your account is set up to show email, so that I can get back to you. Cheers, Kirsty

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