Published: May 2nd 2012April 30th 2012
French Lesson Site
April 30 French lesson
This was our first full day of real site seeing. Jerry had planned a full day walking tour of Lyon. Our morning started with café from the hotel, strong as is most French coffee. We then headed out. Our first stop was a small Artisan Patisserie a block from our hotel. Everything looked very good, the owner, spoke little English but more than our French, we ordered in French and she helped us with our pronunciation and taught as the proper way to say what we ordered and how to actually order it. It was a slow day, being a Monday, so she had the time to help us out. We got our food then headed for St. Jean (yesterday I said St. James I was wrong) and the starting point of the tour. Hotel Update
I was wrong, I said that our hotel here in Lyon was a two star, not true it is in fact a one star and while very small, it is clean and very centrally located and we did get the princess (aka Doris day Parking) free parking. While I would not choose to stay again, unless I
In France Really
You may end up eating here on Sunday or Monday if you to plan ahead
got a balcony room, it worked for this trip. Walking tour
From St Jean we took the funicular (tram up the hill) to Lyon’s Notre Dame and a great view of the city. From their we walked to the Roman amphitheater (those Romans you know they were just everywhere). The ruins were from 150 Ad, there were two theatre’s small and large, one for plays the other for poetry and music. In the day both were covered by canvas. We continued down (and down is very important here for my feet) the hill back towards St. Jean, we passed one of the hot new Chef’s restaurant, Tetedoie. Christian Tetedoie is the chef and it the place is in a swank new building with a fantastic view of Lyon. No we did not eat there for a few reasons 1) we are not impressed by hip trendy places to eat (that’s why we don’t go to the Pearl in Portland); 2) I don’t want to spend 150 Euros at lunch and 3) it would have been new French not traditional French, and I am here to learn about traditional French food.
When we reached the foot of the
hill we were at the entrance to Rue de Boeuf. This is one of the three streets (that we saw) that is loaded with restaurants. The problem being, you have no idea what the food will be like, and just because it is crowded, doesn’t’ mean anything. Lyon in general and especially in this area is full of what are called traboules. These are passage ways from one street to another, or to an inner court yard. Alex (the cooking chef in Dijon) told us that the rule in France is “if the door is open go in, everything that’s interesting is behind the door” and he is right. When you go in a traboule you will get to see beautiful court yards, and towers. Unfortunately many of them are now not open to the public because it is where people live. We managed to enter a few and were rewarded for our effort. The initial purpose of these passage ways was so the Chinese silk workers could get the silk to the shops with out it getting work. They were also used during WW II by the resistance to avoid the Nazi street patrol.
We continued down Rue
Beouf and then Rue St Jean to the end to a big place (which I do not recall the name) in any event there were several places to eat and it was lunch time. We choose a place and ordered our lunch. While we were eating it started to drizzle the waiters made a frantic move to get us all covered with the umbrellas. While we ate we enjoyed watching the crepe lady make her crepes, she was very fast and they looked great but we had already ordered.
After lunch we went back to the room for a pit stop and to pick up the umbrella, the sky had taken gray turn so we wanted to be prepared. From the hotel we walked back across the Saone towards St. Paul Church and Gare. Rain
We were headed to St. Paul Church because there were suppose to be two Hotel’s/Mansions that were architecturally significant, however we were unable to find them. On the way there the weather decided to stop cooperating and it began to rain. We found a Tabac and purchased a second umbrella because our small one was not sufficient, unless we would have chosen
to walk like a romantic French couple, arm in arm (I was game, but we all know as much as I love him, Jerry is not one for overt displays of affection). The umbrella we got for Jerry was a nice bright orange; I won’t be losing him any time soon in a crowd. From St. Paul we headed to the Gaul Amphitheater on the other side of the river. This theatre predated the Roman ruins we had been at earlier.
We walked along the river because Jerry thought we should take the second bridge across and then we would be there. I was not so sure, but given that Jerry is very rarely wrong about directions we did it his way. On our wet walk we passed several night clubs, discothèques and champagne gentlemen’s club. Let me explain what a champagne gentlemen’s club is, it is not a strip club but rather a club where you buy expensive champagne and caviar for your lady friend of choice (yes it’s a front for prostitution). Jerry is well acquainted with this type of establishment not because he frequents brothels or prostitutes, but because he had an experience with one his
first time in Rome. He had just finished dinner and was walking down the street when a hocker encouraged him to come into the bar for a good evening. Next thing you new he was paying $800 dollars for a couple of bottles of champagne, watercress sandwiches and caviar for a woman he did not care to be in the company of. She did help him get out of the situation with out further loss of money or. All of the clubs along this street today were closed so no one tried to lure us in.
We finally got to the second bridge and crossed us, what was before us were not Gaul ruins, but a rock hill. We had gone too far. We walked back down the other side of the river trying to find the ruins, we did finally find the entrance but it required many steps and the rain was not stopping anytime soon. Instead we walked to place terraux a large square surround on one side by Hotel Ville (City Hall), the other the museum of Beaux Arts and the rest by shops and restaurants. There is a large fountain on one side and at
night the square lights up and more fountains appear (only in the summer). We found a café and had some café o’lait hoping that the rain would let up, it did not. French lesson
I turned out we were only 6 blocks from our hotel so we managed not to get any wetter than we already were. We had not yet purchased our evening bottles of wine for the room, so we went back to the patisserie where we had purchased breakfast. The same woman was working the counter and she again gave us a brief French lesson on directions as she guided us to the wine shop. Her directions were very good and we even understood them in French. We found the shop without problem. We then returned to the room to begin the search for a place to have dinner. Dinner Frustration
Traveling while very enjoyable, can also be stressful, even a simple thing like dinner can often become a bigger ordeal than it should. It is a Monday night; you would think it would be no problem to find a nice restaurant to have dinner in. You would be wrong. With May
Day being the next day and many restaurants are closed on Sunday and Monday, it was in fact quite difficult. Between the web and calling we went through 10 places and all were full. It took us an hour to finally choose a place that was both open and available seating.
Once we made our choice we headed back to Place Terraux, the restaurant was suppose to be behind the Museum of Beau Arts, first problem what exactly do they mean by behind. On the way there we passed by a place that had been open for over one hundred years it was called Leon de Lyon, it was nice and had a reasonably priced menu. However, we headed on to find Buchon Hugon; we searched in vain for 40 minutes and could not find it. Fortunately the rain had stopped. After giving up our search we went back to Leon de Lyon. They were full but did allow us to make a 9:30 reservation; we got the last spot for the night. We had about an hour to kill so we went back to the hotel; it was a mere 5 blocks.
When we showed up they
seated us immediately, the menu was traditional Lyonnais fair and was one of the best meals we have had to date. We had a nice leisurely meal then strolled back to the apartment to crash. This concluded our time in Lyon. TODAY’S EATS Breakfast
I had a Quick Lorraine and Jerry had Jamon & cheese in brioche Lunch
Both had Salad Lyonnais Dinner
Jerry: Mushroom, sorrel and herb cream based soup; Fish in a white fish and fennel sauce over julienned fennel; apple tart with mocha ice cream
Chris: Oeuff cocotte (a poached egg in a light cream sauce and pate); sliced leg of lamb and Lyonnais potatoes; chocolate tart with chocolate ice cream
Wine: A very good bottle of Cote’ du Rhone. REVIEWS
Hotel Bretagne revisited: For a one star hotel it was very good, the bedding was clean, and they changed the bedding and cleaned the room during our stay, the location was perfect. So for a cheap perfectly located hotel, this is the place, but you will give up comfort.
Leon de Lyon: Ignore Fodor’s advice on the trendy high priced establishments such as Le
The Saone in Lyon
Nord, etc. This place (chef/owner gave up his two Michelin star’s to expand, lower the priced but be able to seat more patrons) is a must. The service is excellent, the food is marvelous, the waiters speak English and are more than helpful, reservations not a must, but it wouldn’t hurt on a Friday or Saturday. They are also open 7 days a week. DAILY TIPS Sunday Monday dining
Through out France you will run into the issue of finding a good restaurant open on a Sunday or Monday. Yes there are lots of mediocre places open, but if you want above par food, Sunday and Monday cause a slight issue. Many of the expensive places are open, but you don’t need to spend a fortune to have a good meal. In Lyon, go to Leon de Lyon on Sunday or Monday it will always be open and the food is great. There are others, you just need to do your research ahead of time. Reservations
If a guide books says a place takes reservation, believe it and make the reservation a couple days ahead. Do not wait until the day of, because it won’t
A chruch every 10 blocks
work unless you’re very very lucky. If you are going to eat at a 3 or 4 start place on a Sunday or Monday, make a reservation even if they are suggested, you won’t be sorry. Fodor’s
Fodor’s is our favorite travel book, but they are very often wrong. Locations are wrong; directions are wrong, whether you need reservations or not are wrong. So don’t rely on them for everything, use it as a starting point but follow it up with your own research by asking a local or online.
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