Thursday, May 31, 2012

Living it up in Lyon, France

Well, 'living it up' might be a little optimistic for a 38 year old mother-of-four. I did my best.

Before I go any further: Warning Marg - this post involves food. Look away now.

Friday night my bestie and I left the kids with the mister and took the TGV (fast train) up to Lyon.

Guess which one I went for? Thank you darling husband.

Lyon lies over the top of two rivers (the Rhône and the Saône) which meet just below the old town centre.

We stayed in a small apartment in the old town, at the foot of Fourvière Hill. It was a great location and we were able to walk to everything we wanted to see.


When we arrived on Friday we quickly stashed our bags and then headed up Fourvière Hill to see the church and the view.

There were some stairs involved. A lot of stairs. We felt the burn. But knowing we were spending the next 6 mealtimes in the gastronomical capital of France we embraced the pain.

Not even half way up the stairs.

The Basilica of Notre-Dame de Fourvière is on the top of the hill and she's a beauty.


The detail on the outside of the building is stunning:


Inside there's not a great deal to see as refurbishments are underway:


Just a few mosaics were unscaffolded to enjoy:


Joan of Arc on the wall

But you can see she's going to be very pretty when she's done:


Back outside there are fantastic views over the city:


By this stage we were well and truly hungry and headed down the hill through the gardens:


And into the old town for a quick apero before finding our restaurant.

Did you know there are over 1000 restaurants in Lyon? Isn't that amazing? (and awesome.)

I made reservations for our main meals (dinners and Saturday lunch) because even with all those venues the good ones still book out (especially on Saturdays). Check out Tripadvisor for recommendations - I've always done well with them.


We ate at Les Retrouvailles on Rue de Boeuf - we weren't disappointed.

Our amuse-bouche (a small, free appetiser) was cold pureed cauliflower.

Doesn't that sound kinda awful?

If someone asked me if I wanted some cold pureed cauliflower before my meal I would've given them the ole whatchootalkinaboutwillis.

Thankfully they don't ask you, they just bring it out, because it was SO delish. There was a whole lotta butter in there and poppy seeds sprinkled on top and we got very excited because if they could do this with cauliflower imagine what they could do with all the other fine foods France has to offer.

Entrée was snails in a garlic cream sauce:

The only food photo I took the whole weekend. I was too busy eating.

Main course: a perfect steak with roquefort cream sauce.
Cheese course: St Marcellin, all gooey and melting over the plate.
Desserts: all placed on a buffet/server in the middle of the restaurant so diners could see them before making their choice. I went for the profiterole cake with chantilly cream and a caramelised nut sauce on top.*

Basically, we were in heaven.

The end of the night - we were the last ones to leave.

Needless to say, we recommend Les Retrouvailles. 

I was going to squeeze all my pictures of Lyon into the one post but I think this town deserves more, so another post (or two) will follow.

Whatcha thinkin' bout? Oh, I dunno... food.

Hope you're all having a great week and I'll see you soon with more Lyonnaise goodness!

* Don't worry, Marg, I'm not going to itemise every meal we ate in Lyon - I'll just give you the restaurant recommendations :)



Susan said...

What, no chandeliers?! Otherwise, fab pictures as we have come to expect! golly! Who needs a Stairmaster??

Patricia said...

Oh your trip sounds divine. I'd love to go there sometime. Love your photos. Thanks for your comments on my post and glad to have you as a follower. Patricia x

Sarah - Red Gingham said...

So you eat snails too?!! Goodness me I'm not sure I could do that. I love that building and all the fanciness. And the gardens are divine as well. What a wonderful weekend away you both had. Looks like a very nice place to visit.

Salley said...

Yum . . food....... great photos. Thanks for the free trip!

Cat Palmer said...

Thanks so much for a wonderful blog. From Melboure with 3 boys I wish I had a bestie like you to live it up in Lyon with.

Eva said...

Such great pictures and the food sounds wonderful! A city on a hillside is usually very beautiful, I think. And that view is certainly worth climbing those stairs. :-)

Shontelle said...

Great post. Thanks for the great pictures. I miss France. And I love the "whatchootalkinaboutwillis" (and yes, I had to copy and paste that!) Looking forward to the next installment.

Liza in Ann Arbor said...

I'll be there for one night in July. I've never been so I'll be noting your recommendations!

Nicola said...

We're planning on stopping over in Lyon on our summer trip. Looks yummy!

Jill said...


Thanks so much for stopping by and visiting me through Mark's blog. I love meeting new people! :-) I love this post as I've always wanted to travel there...someday hopefully. I am now following you and look forward to getting to know you better!
Have a great day.


Marg said...

Thank you so muck for the heads up. I bookmarked it and came back after I had breakfast, otherwise I would have had a hankering for snails for breakfast. Not easy to come by in Queensland.
You can itemise every meal you ate, please do, just as long as you warn me beforehand.
I'm noting all your recommendations for future reference.
Didn't know you used to be a Different Strokes fan!!!! I think I would have had the same reaction if I'd been told in advance about the cold pureed cauliflower, although I have had warm pureed cauliflower served with scallops and it was fantastic.
Love the pics of the ceiling and the mosaic, beautiful designs.

Selina said...

Yay! These are places I actually went to! Loved Lyon, though we didn't get to the Musée des Tissus :( It was one of the optional extras on the cruise but they had only just starting closing the day we were there, so they could no longer offer it, we were devastated! We had the best tour guide in Lyon too, the one we gave the biggest tip to! Love your photos always, sorry I haven't been popping by as much lately, I will have to rectify that. xx

Genie -- Paris and Beyond said...

Great tour you have provided on this gastronomical capital included the food and so much more. The basilica is stunning and quite different with its architecture (Romanesque?) from the many Gothic cathedrals of France. The walks, both up the many thousands of steps and the garden path down, show us the beauty of Lyon. I imagine that you could devour many snails (miam-miam!) without gaining an ounce with all the walking.

I am hungry for more (Lyon - I am full of snails at the moment - hah!)


Anonymous said...

Those photos are amazing!!!!!! I stumbled upon your blog as I search for things to do in Lyon, I'm headed there next month and your photos just made me really excited about the trip.

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