Lyon–Day 2

This little scene–of two molded plastic chairs, a little table with a pot of flowers on top–is directly across from my hotel window. When we went on our first trip to France, so many years ago, we calculated that we’d eaten outside more times than inside–a lovely habit epitomized by this promise of a meal on a teensy balcony, four floors above the street.

So, our first meal of the day is from Paul, a chain of bakery shops that has consistently high quality. Dave’s eating a whatever but it’s made of brioche-like dough, round and flat with sucre (sugar) and fresh raspberries on top. I had one also and we shared a quarter-sized baguette with large chunky crystals of sugar on top. It looked like salt, but it wasn’t.

Quirky car we saw while we were hunting up hair spray.
Several corner markets later, we found some in my price range and size (small–for airline carryon). It’s called Lacque, as in lacquer, I suppose, so I can shellac my hair into place. We’re staying near the gare (train station) so we can meet Christine.

She arrives! in a flurry of fun and good cheer. We slide back to the hotel and get her checked in and drop off her luggage, then head out again. We’re standing in the Carolingan church, in the side chapel that dates from the 9th century.

Window from this same chapel.

The exterior of the church, with a steeple shaped like, I think, a Bishop’s miter (hat).

We pick up lunch from a tiny artisan bakery, that also makes great desserts, like the cookies above. Lunch: two baguette sandwiches one with ham & tomato and the other with cheese and tomato. We couldn’t resist their dessets, either.

Dave’s was chocolate-coated “tulip” cookie shell filled with custard and topped with raspberries, strawberries and a current cluster for decoration.

I had a molded ganache-like treat and Christine’s was a small tart, filled with pistachio-almondine and topped with raspberries. We’d taken everything up–via funicular–to Fourviere Hill for a “picque-nicque.”

We ate in the park next to this basilica. Very symmetrical, so I knew Dave would like it. Inside are beautiful mosaic murals in shades of blues and greens with gilt highlights, but the light was low so they didn’t photograph too well.

This four-winged angel was in adjoining side hall.

Interestingly, underneath the main basilica, was a smaller “church” dedicated to Joseph, spouse of Mary. These candles were in a side chapel. We then walked down through a switch-backed trail that meandered through gardens.

We joined the blue-legged jogger to while a way some time in this garden.

Christine and Dave.
Fall colors decorate an empty house, with door ajar.

Lyon is known for its painted buildings. This is one–and there really is a bookstore business at street level. I included some of the side facade with windows for comparison.

We walked down past St. Nizer church–a gothic looking structure tucked in between the city buildings. Inside was a new scene for me: a brown/beige and cream stained glass window, striking for its neutral tones.

Window with all types of sneakers.

We came home and crashed for a while–worn out from all the walking. Dinner was a Le Sud (again, I know), but it’s such a good restaurant how can you lose? Christine’s first course was a patty sandwich of potatoes with thon (tuna) in the middle, swimming in a tomatoey sauce.

Dave’s main course was a tajine of semolina and vegetables. They’d brought a mini soup tureen of jus and more vegetables, that he ladled over the dish. He said it was great.

I had the chicken (as did Christine). The prevailing wisdom is if you want to really see how good a chef (or a restaurant) is, order chicken. If it’s amazing, then you’ve found a good chef. This was amazing
. It had a side of roasted potatoes and a thumb-sized portion of spinach.

We kept hearing some music and several people pulled out their cell phones. But when it came nearer our table, we realized it was a hand-cranked organ grinder and the waiters were singing Happy Birthday to the customer. It was funny that people kept checking their cell phones.

We struck up a conversation–or should I say, Dave and Christine struck up a conversation–with a lovely French couple. They’d traveled around California seeing all the National Parks, and here we were in their hometown–they were both born and raised in Lyon. We asked them advice on museums, more Paul Bocuse brasseries, and had a pleasant conversation. We were happy that they were friendly and willing to chat with us, as this is what really makes foreign travel so interesting–getting out of the cocoon we live and into other lives and other ways of doing things. Sign of the times: we traded email addresses afterwards, in order to send photos.

We walked home via Place Bellecour and all went to bed. A lovely day, a lovely evening.

Note: the links on this page are to last year’s trip to Lyon, with more photos.

Lyon–Day 1

We’re off!
(I added to this on Monday morning after the garbage man woke me up.)

But not too fast. Initial flight to Munich was delayed 3 1/2 hours–at least we got a free dinner out of it at one of the illustrious restaurants at LAX (courtesey of Lufthansa’s meal vouchers). The reason why we were delayed was a medical emergency in the previous flight–they had to detour to Iceland to drop a passenger off at the hospital.

Luckily for us, we were supposed to have a 4 hour-layover in Munich, was which now reduced to 45 minutes. We were very happy to get on that tiny jet taking us to Lyon. They served us “sausage” sandwiches, which turned out to be tiny seeded rolls with black forest ham. So good, we each had two. The first thing we saw in the Lyon Saint-Exupery Airport was this mural of the Little Prince and his flyer-author, who was born in Lyon.

We caught the airport bus to Parrache Train Station, wheeled our suitcases three blocks to our hotel, only to find that they’d given away our room. I sat down in a chair, while Dave handled it. We ended up at another hotel, more expensive and had to pay for the cab. The clerk at the desk was *clueless* even though Dave spoke French to him. My favorite moment? When the clerk said, “You weren’t supposed to arrive until tomorrow.” Dave pointed to the confirmation notice sitting on the desk. “No. It says right here, that we will be here on the 11th–Saturday.” I was politely snarky, calling out little comments like “You have a problem–hope you can fix it,” to the hotel clerk, who luckily couldn’t understand much of what that crazy American lady was saying, who looked like she’d been run over by a bus. The cab driver was nice, and we only had to switch rooms once in the new hotel (phone and A/C didn’t work in the first room).

Looking out from our room in Hotel des Artistes at the sunrise. . . at 8 a.m.

So we showered, dressed then walked over to the “marche” or street market, held on the adjacent street. We love walking up and down the rows of colorful vegetables, fragrant flowers, chicken men, paella sellers, Boy Scouts selling their calendars (some things are the same the world over), and looking at all the odd things we never see in American markets.

Rosy-yellow pomegranites.

Restful chicken.

Golden mushrooms.

My zinnias at home are all burned up from the heat (but then again, these may be dahlias).

Cabbages and leeks.

The chicken man. We bought a half chicken from him, and roasted potatoes from another vendor, and raspberries from someone else . . .

. . . and bread from someother vendor, and macaroons and pain du raisen and pain du chocolate and an amandine tart. And I think that’s it.

Fall’s arrived at the market.
We finished off lunch, packed up and walked over to our hotel–and yes, they had a room for us. In fact, please check out these 5 rooms. So we did, and chose a large one on the fourth floor with three windows, two facing two different streets. The sunlight streaming in was delightful, and with the double-glazed windows closed, it’s rather quiet. If the windows are open, the street noises filter up. Not too bad today–maybe worse tomorrow.

We dressed, caught the Metro over to church. We’d been here last year, but it must have been Stake Conference or something. We walked in with the missionaries (one from Florida, one from Paris) to an abbreviated chapel that obviously was also an all-purpose room.

The stake president came over and introduced himself to us–6 wards and 3 branches in his stake. He invited us to come to the celebration of the hundredth year of the church in Lyon, but alas, we’ll be back in the states. 100 years in Lyon. I thought about that the whole sacrament meeting (as I couldn’t understand a word), along with the faithfulness of the saints in this part of the world, carrying on with great faith and dedication.

Back home on the Metro, along with half of Lyon it seemed like, then change clothes and enjoy our room for a while before dinner. Here’s a look out our window, up the street toward Place Belcour–a huge huge huge city square in Lyon.

After snoozing a while, then trying to wake up (jet-lag!) we went for a walk. First we checked on one of our favorite restaurants, Momento, seeing if it was still in business (it was) and then out past this little square, dedicated to Lyon’s first doctor. Dave caught a good shot of the fountains.

A new sculpture we hadn’t seen before: a flower tree made of giant oversized blossoms. European art, when not of the fountains and traditional elements kind, can be very interesting.

Close-up. These blossoms were about 4 feet across in width.

Pivoting 180 degrees from the Flower Tree is a randomized foutain, in front of some old architecture. Dave caught a sloping formation. To the right of these fountains is Le Sud, where we headed for dinner. It’s one of our favorites, a brasserie from Paul Bocuse.

Dining in foreign countries is a bit like a treasure hunt. The food will be mostly good and always interesting, as what’s printed on the menu is not always what’s imagined in the mind. Here’s an example. Salmon with toast. It turned out to be sashimi-like: thin slices of raw salmon drizzled with olive oil and herbs.

Salt helped.

Next course: Dave had trout over vegetables which turned out to be a 4-inch “patty” made of spinach, then grilled onion, red and golden bell pepper, formed into a circle, with the trout on top. Mine was roasted veal with a eggplant coulis of some kind and roasted potatoes. If I could have used the bread to sop up the gravy I would have, but I was pacing myself for what was coming.

The cheese course. Mine was the half-circle of a local specialty which reminded me a cross between camembert and brie and brought up stories of my father’s love of camembert at one time in my life, and the special yellow plastic holder with the wedgie thing that kept the insides from oozing out. Dave’s was a soft cheese with a red berry sauce. It reminded us of a panna cotta-cream cheese-yogurt sort of amalgamation.

Last course was a “chocolate pie” as the one friendly waiter put it. (The other wait staff just kind of put up with us.) It was made with Valrhona chocolate. When it came, in honor of our recent anniversary of our first date (and first kiss), I carved our initials in the top of mine with my fork.

Dave countered with the number of our recent anniversary. Yep. Nineteen years of marriage, twenty years of kisses.

A picture of the restaurant. He has three others; this one’s “The South.” Guess what the others are named?

The brasserie is right beside the river, and the reflections made for an enjoyable photo shoot. Dave caught this one of a grand building, all decorated up like a dowager going out for the evening.

I looked over the wall and found the stark diagonals of the steps down to the water a nice counterpoint to the shimmering blues. We took many many more. It’s something we enjoy doing–and we find that our shots overlap sometimes. Dave’s really good with the landscape, and I like the details.

A poetry memorial of some kind, with Dave playfully (at the request of the photographer) peeking out from around one of the slab-like columns. And that’s it for the first day.