We visited, Lyon, France’s “second city” and were taken away by her charm, history, food and easy access. Whilst in Lyon we enjoyed a walking tour, cycling with electric bikes and tasted some local cuisine.
Lyon is a city which has always been known for it’s distinctive Lyonaisse cuisine and for the past 80 years has also claimed the title of France’s gastronomic capital. Michelin 3 star chefs such as Paul Bocuse have ensured foodies from around the world have made this city a “must see” destination. Be warned though, dinner at Paul Bocuse’ Restaurant Augerge du Pont de Collonges, is a pricey experience. His famous truffle soup as a starter costs 85 Euro!!
Lyonnaise cuisine, in general, is rustic, using only fresh, seasonal produce. Bouchons are a type of restaurant only found in Lyon, with the most interesting in the old town.
In keeping with tradition, all meals are accompanied by the famous pot lyonaise (carafe) of Cotes du Rhone.
We found that many of the dishes were a little “too rustic” for our Australian tastes. A lot of offal and sausages made from tripe were not our favourites! The Salad Lyonnaise, a warm bacon and egg salad, was absolutely delicious and epitomizes the simple yet delicious cuisine Lyon is famous for.
Whilst in Lyon, we stayed in an apartment in the centre of the city, which we found using AirBNB. A lovely lady who owned the apartment showed us the facilities and also supplied us with earplugs as we were apparently right next door to a popular disco!!
After exploring the nearby city centre, we were delighted to find the Vélo’v, a short-term electric bike rental in Lyon. We have been tempted to use these electric bikes in Paris but were afraid of the crazy Parisian traffic, however, Lyon offered a quieter alternative. There are hundreds of bike stations and it is free for up to 30 minutes. A word of warning, don’t leave it too late at night to deposit your bikes at a velo station – we spent ages looking for a station with two free spaces!
The modern city centre is in contrast to the fabulous and interesting old town. We first explored using our Velos, then chose to take a walking tour of the Croix-Rousse, a part of the old city which has many Traboules, or hidden passages, used in the time of silk weavers of the19th Century. There is so much history in this amazing city!!
We loved the history and story of these beautifully maintained old streets with the Maison des Canuts or silk workers’ houses.
A ” must do” in Lyon is to take the Funicular up the steep hill to the Basilique Notre Dame de Fourviere, from where you enjoy amazing views over the city and walk to an ancient Roman Amphitheater.
Lyon certainly took our hearts and is a place we would visit again in a heartbeat. We felt it had all of the charm of Paris without the Eiffel Tower and maddening crowds! We would recommend Lyon to all travelers who love fine food and wine and where you can easily see all of the sights by walking or whilst using the local electric bikes. We suggest two or three days in Lyon to enjoy all the sights and ambiance of this lovely city.