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6 August 2012 2,840 views No Comment

Team GB are putting in a performance, London is strangely sunny and I just found a really good new local in Clapham. So where else would you want to be right now.? Lyon, that’s where.

à l’arrivée

France’s ‘second city’, it’s about 200 miles from the south coast, and rather dangerously known as the gastronomic centre of a country that really knows its gastronomy. We were greeted with marvellous sunshine and an airport pick up, which was a relief because we’d really gone to town in the aforementioned local the night before.
We briefly saw the downside of the car and sunshine as we hit town; I’d forgotten how interminable and utterly logic defying French traffic jams could be. Fortunately, before we totally lost it Lise legged it for a power nap and I got whisked for an early sampling of the gastronomy in Vieux Lyon.


There are two rivers running through Lyon, the Rhône and the Saône. Vieux Lyon is on the west and you can take a funiculare less than two Euros distance to overlook the whole city. At the top is a totally gorgeous church, gleaming white. There’s also a nice restaurant, name of which I can’t remember (sorry), it has a wonderful view, is super civilised and with the comfy summer air it was perfect Francaise. Classic Francaise service kicked in but despite the disinterest we had a delicious lunch: crab, grapefruit & avo salad then salmon with saffron cream pour moi, beef carpaccio then pike quenelle with rice for Nad. I did best I reckon, Nad gets bonus points for opting for the regional delicacy but it does turn out that quenelle is basically fish mousse, mmm…

Bit of Lympics catch-up, yay the gymnastics, and then out for some beers. This is what I love about Europe, it’s warm and balmy and socially acceptable to drink for hours & hours & hours.
Bellecour first. Bellecour has one of those massive gravelly squares with statues, we were on one of those little side streets with bar stools on the cobbles. Merci bien. Lyon is easy going; it’s not as down-the-nose as other bigger, more touristy places, and it’s not as provincial as smaller, more quintessential places. All in, very nice, very Stella Artois.
Couple of beers on the river – why not – and then Vieux Lyon, which is clearly the visiting highlight. And it really is lovely; lots of little streets, cute shops & bars, churches everywhere. Given which we went straight to an Irish bar for lager, Guinness & crisps. C’est cool non.? Again, this is why I like Europe, no one cares, just do what ya like.
We hit a local restaurant for dinner. Again, street tables, cruise-y service, delicious dishes. I had a whole trout with almonds. Are they shrinking? Half a trout used to be a challenge..
Thursday was full moon and Lyon looked beautiful glowing in the light. Of course it was also glowing in some very well placed artificial light and all in it was very nice indeed, especially across the rivers.


Lise & I saw more of the city the next day. It’s a really easy city to hang around, that includes the shopping centres, the dodgy areas and the metro. We also found a cool square for quiche, frites et bieres, sprawled on the grassy patch by the opera house and had casual rosé next to the Hotel de Ville. At this point I realised one of Lyon’s massive plus points – there aren’t a lot of English tourists. Clearly other tourists but not a wholelotta English ones, and that includes a drought of the stag/ hen crowds. Boo ya.

I won’t lie to you though, Lise and I did a tremendous job of cementing the Brit-abroad reputation on Friday night. Details not necessary but we, er, made an impression.

We watched a lot of Adlington, we’re fans. Go’on Team GB.

Lise & I decided we’d already been so productive we could dedicate ourselves to the Eurosport channel, plus we were miserably hungover. C’mon Team GB. Zzz.

Vieux Lyon.. encore

Turns out Lyon really is all about Vieux Lyon. In a day of barely moving from the pillow it was the only thing that could move us. Couple of Coca Lite levellers and we were back on form. Lise went all sensible with a burger and I went all continental with goats cheese salad (sort of) and then prawns & rice (sort of), and Macon Villages a-plenty (defo). It was raining so we had to stay. Nice though, sitting under the awning with the sound of raindrops and still warm, like a very pleasant, sociable version of camping.

le prochaine fois

Sunday, Lise and I took in all the family sites/ sights: the ampitheatre, 2000 years olds (mas o menos) which just inspires pagan visions, or Bryan Adams in the round depending on your taste, and then Parc L’Helvetie which is awesome and includes zoo-y bits. Major disappointments – and no, I will not shut up about it :) – include mis-timing the weather/ sleeping/ boozing so that I didn’t get in the 100m outdoor pool by the river, and French machines not welcoming our Brit credit cards so we couldn’t hire the bikes to zip around, boo hiss.

Pas de probleme, Lyon is top dollar. I didn’t want to leave, we had massive post-city-break-come-down, and it’s proximity to south of France (LJ’s next home) means we’ll be back soon. Much sooner than Lyon would probably like.

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