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Published: November 3rd 2019
The Court of Appeal
Hm, if one pillar of justice is good, a whole bunch of them must be better!
Lyon is situated on the confluence of the Rhone and Saone rivers. You were expecting something dramatic? Exclamation points can be so deceiving!!!!
We, on the other hand, are situated on the banks of the Saone. The building is 17th century. Nice little galleried staircase, open to the sky. I include a photo of looking up from outside our door as well as one from the same spot looking down at the damage four centuries of rain can do to concrete. The areas without dark pits are the ones that don't catch the rain.
We are on the second floor (or European first floor) with views east across the Saone to the Presqu'ile district. (Presqu'ile means peninsula, btw). If you peer past the trees you can just make out the main spire and entrance to the 16th century Church of St-Nizier.
(Lessee, according to Wikipedia, the first church here was built on the ruins of a Roman temple whose worshippers may have beven behind the local persecution of Christians starting in 177. Having set the precedent for righteous religious destruction, whatever church has been built or rebuilt on this spot, it then suffered damage
Place Bellecouer, Lyon
This vast space is unexpectedly welcome after a wander through the streets of the Presqu'ile.
under the Saracens, the Christian monarch Charles Martel (Charlemagne's granddaddy), total destruction by outraged radical reformers, to be rebulit and wrecked again by the Huguenots (several times) and the during the revolution when it was turned into a flour warehouse. Boy, those French really know how to party.)
We have a large living room with a great view, a terrific old marble fireplace (non-functioning), a pretty good kitchen and a funny little bedroom with a great shower in the ensuite. Running right below our window is the Quai de Bondy and running right below our floor is an ice cream shop. All the conveniences of home.
The place fits our check list: a view, tons of great reviews on the rental websites, a washer and a washing machine and a location as close to the centre of things as can be found. We are in Vieux Lyon, a UNESCO world heritage sight, and only a few minutes walk from pretty much anything you could want around here. Walking distance is critical. Less walking than sauntering, really. Sauntering is mild exercise and, given the right walking shoes, provides a mild massage for my feet while giving me time to
absorb surroundings. Perfect.
Behind us, to the west, rise the heights of the Fourviere, home to many acres of parkland and a lot of excellent stairways ("montees") if you feel the urgent need to get in shape vertically. In fact, last night the city staged its annual night time race up and down the montees. All of the participants are provided with headbands with LED lights on them. Seeing a couple of hundred of them bobbing up and down as their owners run down a stairway towards you is mesmerising. NO, of course, I didn't have my camera with me at the time. Use your imagination, for heaven's sake.
There are four main roads that run roughly parallel to the river before you hit the steep slopes of the Fourviere hill. They change names along every couple of hundred meters, so I am not going to be terribly accurate. What i think of the as Quai de Bondy runs along the river. Between it and the river is a broad alley lined with maples for the bike/escooter path, pedestrians and, this morning, the artists and artisans market. Then you can take the stairs down to the river level
where a walkway runs for miles beside the river itself. You can see the twin on the far side in my photo. It is busy but not horribly touristy. That distinction is saved for the rue St. Jean which is the third highest street - souvenir stores, chocolate shops, restaurants with a lot of outdoor seating, and a lot of tour groups, traipsing along behind their guides in the hope that they will start to enjoy their experience at some point. Or at least get a chance to sit down and have a drink somewhere.
At the topmost level is the rue du Bouef, home of some highly recommended and probably genuine Lyonnaise restaurants known as "bouchons" (basically, "corks" or really, a place where a lot of corks get pulled). Less touristy but still . . . What we like is the rue Trois Marie. It holds a couple of what look like good bouchons, plus one of our favourites so far, the "Eau Salee" (salt water). It features the food of Brittany - crepes (both savoury - main course- and sweet - dessert) and mussels. Creperies are almost always good value in France and the savoury crepes ("galettes"
Sticking my head out our window . . .
I got this shot on the downstream side.
really) are made with buckwheat flour and are therefore gluten friendly if not actually gluten free. A single galette fills the plate and comes with a variety of toppings, and an order usually gets you a green salad as well. This place is specializing in toppings plus various kinds of cheese, so it is very much like a Breton pizza!
This place is pleasant, the service is good and tolerant of my French, and the wine is cheap! We were there for lunch today and the place was packed. They had a special on mussels in a blue cheese parmesan sauce and all around us folks were hitting it like sharks going after chum. Then flambeeing dessert crepes with ice cream and whipped cream. A lot of happy people there, slurping away at shellfish, using one mussel shell to hold the next one and filling vast bowls with the empty shells. The sort of place where the clientele come often enough to feel free to take their own shell bowls into the kitchen to dump them out and where the hostess addresses half the people there as "tu" - a serious indication of friendship in France when used instead
Putting the arch in architectural
Our interior-exterior gallery staircase.
of the more usual, and formal, "vous."
We tried a buchon at lunch yesterday, in a more formal place across the river. It was quite pleasant and the food was all right if expensive. Dull, though. Susan had a "lobster hamburger" - lobster, lettuce and tomato on a bun with a side of fries and a mustard sauce. I had a local speciality, pistachio sausage with steamed tiny potatos and a side salad with mustard vinaigrette. Pistachio sausage turns out to be a decent enough ham sausage, in slices, with the occasional pistachio peeping coyly out. The potatoes came with nothin'. So I borrowed the butter from the bread I did not eat and melted some on. Better. Then I borrowed the remains of Susan's mustard sauce to liven up the sausage.
It was okay, I guess. But, essentially, boiled potatoes, ham sausage and salad. Flavoured with mustard. Or lobster with lettuce. With optional mustard sauce.
So last night we went crazy, went down the block to the Cedre Bleu, a Lebanese restaurant. We had hummus, and an eggplant dip, and falafel, and house-made sausages, and terrific stuffed vine leaves and rolls stuffed with cheese. Now THAT
Damn thing wore out after only about 400 years
What a little rain over a lot of years can do to eat into stonework. This is our entranceway - the dark bits are where the water reaches.
was my idea of good. And it all cost us about the same as one main course in Zurich. Toss in a bottle of excellent Lebanese red, dessert and very pleasant service - we shall be going back.
Thank you for letting me quiet the voices in my head clamouring to have their stories told. This should hold the little bastards until tomorrow!
BTW, sports fans: Sheffield United 3, Burnley 0 yesterday. Rejoice, o ye people!
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