What to Do in Lyon? / Que Faire a Lyon?
Thursday, March 03, 2011
This photo was taken in Italy, the model reads Holland... but, for the purposes of today's edition, we're going to try to pass this off as France -- specifically Lyon!
What to Do in Lyon? Que Faire à Lyon?
J'ai trois amies qui souhaitent découvrir Lyon... mais elles ne savent pas quoi faire! Pourriez-vous aider Suzanne, Margaret, et leur "fabulous" maman, Portia, avec des suggestions de lieux, hôtels, restaurants, et autre points d'intérêt? --Kristin
I have three friends who hope to discover Lyon... but they do not know what to do! Can you help Suzanne, Margaret, and their fabulous mom, Portia, with suggestions of places, hotels, restaurants, and other interesting points of interest? --Kristin
Suggestions for What To Do in Lyon are welcome in the "suggestion box" . Don't forget to check back later to see what ideas have been submitted!
Left to right: Margaret, Angela, Bob, Portia, Jean-Marc, Suzanne
Kristin and Suzanne
P.S.: Don't miss Suzanne's story about getting lost on the way to our vineyard! You'll meet Angela and Bob, who were also "Lost in Grapes".
P.P.S.: thank you for the excellent recommendations you left in the FAQ area. If anyone needs info about pen pals in France, language schools, or traveling solo... you'll find this and more in the comments to the FAQ post!
Discover these reader-submitted suggestions for:
What to do in Paris - click here
What to do in Aix-en-Provence - click here
What to do in the Loire Valley - click here
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For more online reading: The Lost Gardens: A Story of Two Vineyards and a Sobriety
Lyon has one of the best textile museums in the world! Musee du Tissus
Posted by: Maren Richter | Thursday, March 03, 2011 at 11:14 AM
What to do in Lyon? EAT!
Lyon is known as "the gastronomic capital of France" and for good reason. There are hundreds of fabulous restaurants and cafes everywhere. The michelin guide will steer you to some of the gems among the grand array.
Lyon is a wonderful city, that I think has the perfect combination of grandeur and accessibility. A day shopping in the centre of town will find you odd little shops (like the one that sells nothing but umbrellas) as well as the best of the big brands.
The Roman amphitheatre is worth a visit along with it's museum and the textile museum is beautifully set out and interesting. There are always lots of concerts and other events happening.
But really for me, I am content wandering the pretty, winding streets of the old town and eating super food.
Posted by: Kiriel | Thursday, March 03, 2011 at 11:21 AM
I know that Lyon is not within the Provence region, but it is close(ish)!
www.provencefoodandwine.com has got lots of recommendations for interesting markets, food and wine producers,and even textile producers that they could visit.
Posted by: bob mcmullan | Thursday, March 03, 2011 at 11:24 AM
Don't have any suggestions but looking forward to reading some, have long wanted to take a day trip (an hour and 10 on the TGV from Avignon) to Lyon. Would love suggestions for cheap and cheerful lunch places.
Posted by: angela billows | Thursday, March 03, 2011 at 11:24 AM
Sorry don't know anything about Lyon (yet!) but had to say "Good Heavens" - I actually understood the text in french so must be getting somewhere with the language battle! Thanks so much for the invaluable "French Word A Day" I know it is helping me big time!
Posted by: Beverly Brentnall | Thursday, March 03, 2011 at 11:52 AM
Lyon is such a lovely city to explore by foot and is small enough to walk a bit. Visit the Basilique Notre Dame de Fourviere and explore vieux Lyon. There is a wonderful pedestrian street on the Isle on the Saone side that is full of little bistros and restos, rue Merciere. Of course being the gastronomic capital I would recommend one of Bocuse restaurants is a must. The Lumiere freres were the inventors of modern cinema and there is a nice musee to visit. And of course the surrounding area is lovely visiting the villages of Beaujolais. Enjoy!
Posted by: Ashley | Thursday, March 03, 2011 at 12:00 PM
We attempted to eat at a most desirable restaurant in Lyon,however, when they took note we parle Anglais they were miraculously 'booked out', despite making the booking in bad french'.
In the street that forks off to the left you will find a most welcoming place.
Bon Sejour et bon apetite and don't hesitate to rent th e council bikes; a great way to see te city.
Posted by: Kathryn | Thursday, March 03, 2011 at 12:04 PM
I lived there for 6 months as an internationl university student and LOVED it! It's so full of history!! You must take the funiculaire (steep tram) up to the top of the fouviere hill.Dining at Brasserie Georges (since 1836) is also an experience! Institut lumieres (the lumieres brothers who created the first moving picture), Musee des beaux arts (amazing paintings!), the 'trompe-l'oeil' frescoes on the walls around the city, Centre d'histoire de la résistance et de la déportation (WW2 Resistance museum)...I could go on and on ;-)
Posted by: Clare | Thursday, March 03, 2011 at 12:53 PM
Bob needs a good map. Provence is nowhere near Lyon! Its about 300 km away and Lyon's characteristics are not at all provençal.
Lyon is unique so try
A guided walking tour of the traboules.
At least one Bouchon-care to go to a proper one-Chez George Le Petit comes to mind but ask a local.For a fun Bouchon there is Cafe des Federations...set menu...take it or leave it....its not great cuisine but you can have a good time.
A visit to Les Halles. Take an oyster lunch. There's a wee bar there...Chez Leon rings a bell..choose "un melange et un pot de Macon-Viré"
If you like old cars try the fabulous motor museum Henri Malartre 645 Rue du Musée, 69270 Rochetaillée-sur-Saône, France. Its about 11 Km north right on the Saone.
For a shot of culture Musée des Beaux-Arts is a must....!
The list goes on and on....just walk explore and enjoy.
As to Hotel at the top end I like the Sofitel but its not cheap
Posted by: Mac Beaugurmee | Thursday, March 03, 2011 at 12:53 PM
I rented an apartment there last May, and just re-rented for this May. You must "trabouler" - explore the old buildings in Vieux Lyon and La Croix Roussse that are connected by covered walkways - traboules - that kept the silk that was being woven dry as it was moved about. Eat! Some of the fabulous food might not be to American taste - extreme pig parts - but a lot is left. Look for bouchons - typical Lyonais bistrots - there are many near Cordeliers Metro. If you come from NYC, ride the Metro and see that they can be non-disgusting. Les Halles Paul Bocuse is a wonderful way to see and taste the great food. As a French speaking foreigner, I received a royal welcome from all the merchants who love to talk about their products. Here's a good article: http://www.guardian.co.uk/travel/2011/feb/13/bill-buford-lyon-food-capital?CMP=twt_gu
Posted by: Alan Sommerman | Thursday, March 03, 2011 at 01:08 PM
Buy hand painted silk on Rue de Balaine, sur le Presqu'ile.
Don't miss the wonderful trompe-l'œils depicting the story of Lyon on the sides of buldings. Eat in small bistros in the old town.
Wander and enjoy!
Posted by: Judy | Thursday, March 03, 2011 at 01:11 PM
Thank you for the post. Actually, it will only be Portia and me on this leg of the vacation. Suzanne and RoseAnn will join us in Pommard, Burgundy the following week.
I am looking forward to all the tips and am delighted with those already received.
Maren, the textile museum is at the top of my list (well, second since the BIG flea market is first up on Sunday the day after we arrive). We will combine this with a visit to the Decorative Arts museum - an antiques dealers dream).
Kiriel, I think you summed it up in one word - eat! I suppose that is why you go to Lyon. I have some wonderful recommendations including "le Sud" which is a Paul Bucose restaurant. I asked the apartment rental agent for recommendations on boulengerie recommendation and she/he sent no fewer that 5 within walking distance of the flat!
Clare, thank you for all of your recommendations. Any non-touristy thoughts are most welcome.
Marc - Les Halles is on the list as well as many of the daily food markets. The auto museum sounds fun.
Alan, I have rented an apartment in the 2nd near Place de la Bourse. We always get an apartment so we can shop at the markets and do a bit of cooking (I know, we are in the city of restaurants but I just can't pass up the delights of the market). I found a good agency (www.95bis.com). The site is in French only but they are great to work with. I translated some blocks of text in an online translator. To my surprise, it said that the apartment had a coffe maker that baked bread! I thought, "how clever the French are." I think my own translation is better - cafetiere and toaster! I will report back on the apartment after our September trip. If Portia (she will be 87 in March) gets on one of the bikes, I will be sure to take a picture.
Alan, That you for posting the Guardian article for everyone. I found that yesterday and thought it was very interesting and helpful. Just sorry Bob isn't baking bread anymore.
Judy, thank you for the location of where to buy hand painted silk. We intend to do a lot of wandering.
Thank you all again, I will be checking back for your tips.
Margaret in Durcham, NC where it can't decide if it is spring or not.
P.S. Looking forward to seeing Jean-Marc in DC next week. Any other FWAD fans going to be there?
Posted by: Margaret | Thursday, March 03, 2011 at 01:35 PM
I had the best caramel latte at Le Tasse Livre (http://www.tasselivre.fr/). Most of the time I just wandered around, stopping in fabric and housewares shops.
Posted by: Kelly | Thursday, March 03, 2011 at 01:46 PM
My husband and I spent time in Lyon last fall and would highly recommend going to the Roman Amphitheatre. It is amazing. There is a small park so you can bring a picnic lunch if you want and it is free admission too. The cathedral Notre Dame is close by and the view over the city of Lyon is amazing. We walked up from Town and it is grueling so if you have a car avoid the hundreds of stairs and walk up. The Beaux Art Museum courtyard is a quiet haven in a busy city. Also just soak up the flzvor people watching with a cafe or glass of wine by the fountain. Food is wonderful and walking the old city streets in search of a restaurant is fun.
Posted by: Paula | Thursday, March 03, 2011 at 01:53 PM
J'habite à Lyon depuis 2 ans...je viens de Marseille...et j'adore cette ville!
Pour découvrir la gastronomie : les Halles Baucuse et quelques restaurants dans le centre du type le café des confédérations ou chez Paul!
Sinon il y a le parc de la tête d'or et son zoo, les berges du Rhône, Fourvière, et aussi un nouveau Quartier haute qualité environnementale en train de sortir de terre : Confluence.
Je peux aussi louer mon appartement fin juillet et en Aout si cela intéresse quelqu'un!
Posted by: Isa | Thursday, March 03, 2011 at 02:04 PM
I think Margaret has some fabulous suggestions from readers of FWAD for Lyon, and since I plan to go some day, I will save these. We will all be in Pommard, Burgundy the week after they are in Lyon (more fabulous food) and then RoseAnn and I are off for a week in Venice.
Thanks for posting the story again of getting lost on our way to Domaine Rouge-Bleu. It always reminds me of the times we have while traveling. Speaking of which ... Margaret, Portia and I will see Jean-Marc in DC next week for the tasting and dinner. We will be celebrating Portia's upcoming 87th birthday (the Ides of March)so I agree with Margaret, if Portia gets on a bicycle in Lyon we must have photos! When I go to Lyon I plan to take Kathyrn's recommendation to rent a bike. I still wish I had done that when in Bruges.
Posted by: Suzanne, Monroe Twp., NJ | Thursday, March 03, 2011 at 02:17 PM
In addition to all the excellent suggestions above, I would highly recommend (if you're an opera fan) the Opera Lyon. Wonderful, innovative productions.
But above all, before you go you MUST contact Lyon City Greeters and arrange for one of their free two-hour tours. They are a marvelous organization. They'll e-mail you a questionnaire. Fill it in, listing your interests and things you'd like to do and they will hand-craft a tour around your interests! They will assign you to a guide who will pick you up at your hotel. Our tour guide was named Marcel, a lifelong native of Lyon and he was fantastic. And it's 100% free--Marcel wouldn't even accept our offer of lunch or even a drink! The website is www.lyoncitygreeter.com.
Posted by: Cliff | Thursday, March 03, 2011 at 02:36 PM
Hi, Kristin, I haven't had time to read the above suggestions, but my list would include:
Lumiere Bros. museum (they were pioneers in cinema)
Guignol museum - delightful!
Hotel Dieu museum - the bedpans are limoges!
and of course the food is phenomenal.
Looking forward to seeing JM on Sunday!
Posted by: Ruth Hallett | Thursday, March 03, 2011 at 02:44 PM
Three years after visiting Lyon, we remember Vieux Lyon, one of the Bocuse bistros, and a wonderful private tour, by grace of one of the vendors in Vieux Lyon, of the traboules. The traboules are most amasing and memorable, quite unique.
Posted by: Susan B. Apel | Thursday, March 03, 2011 at 02:53 PM
The things I discover on your blog!
I've always thought of Lyon as a traffic jam around a large industrial town and now I discover that it's a place I have to visit!
Thanks to Maren, Kiriel, Bob (for Provence), Ashley, Kathryn, Clare, Mac, Alan, Judy and Margaret for all of the tips.
Not this year though because my principal holiday will be in, guess where, Provence and we (that's the new lady in my life and myself) are luckily able to stay for as long as we choose, at the apartment of a friend in Toulon.
This will be my first visit to Provence and I'm looking forward to it immensely, and grateful for all of the contributions about what to see in and around Aix and everywhere else that was mentioned. Our time will be limited to about two weeks though because ma copine has to return to work, but it's never good to think you've seen everything and there will be other times. My friend did spend a couple of holidays in Provence a few years ago and she has places she wants to return to.
There is somewhere I visited in Paris about ten years ago which I can recommend for a fun hour or so, we ended up there in the early hours of the morning (not unusual) and were made very welcome. I can't remember the exact location but it's within easy walking distance of Victor Hugo's house which is in all the tourist books. Anyway the place is named the 'Magic Bar' and the staff are all conjurers who provide sleight of hand and card tricks with your drinks. It's possible just to have a quiet cup of coffee therebut the staff are ready to entertain if that's what you want.Now I've written this I have to hope that the place still exists.
Can't help with traditional tourist places in Paris, I haven't been a tourist there for about 50 years. That's another holiday half planned. The last time I visited Versailles it was still empty of furniture, paintings and everything else following the evacuation of same in WWII. NO I was not involved in WWII.
I did take a short break in Fontainebleau last August and I can recommend that for a break. I stayed in an inexpensive hotel (about 40€ a day) and could have travelled into Paris (gare de Lyon) for 7.50€ single.
Posted by: Mike Hardcastle | Thursday, March 03, 2011 at 03:15 PM
My favorite saying for Lyon is, "There are three rivers in Lyon; the Rhône, the Saône and the Beaujolais." So, drink up! The wine and food are magnificent. I think I ate my weight in lyonnais potatoes when I was there.
I also highly recommend Notre-Dame de Fourvière, Opéra Nouvel, Odeon of Lyon, Gallo-Roman Museum, Parc de la Tête d'Or and Place Bellecour. Bellecour was my point of orientation for the city. As long as I knew where I was in relation to Bellecour, I was good to go!
Posted by: Carrie | Thursday, March 03, 2011 at 03:26 PM
My wife and I visited Lyon briefly in November, 2010, and we enjoyed it very much. I would recommend one bouchon without hesitation: "les lyonnais",at 1, quai des Celestins, Lyon 2eme. It's located in the NW part of the Presqu'Isle, right on the Saone across the quai from the Palais du Justice. My lunch there (by myself) was one of the best meals I can remember. We're going back in June!
Posted by: Charles Orr, Flat Rock, NC | Thursday, March 03, 2011 at 03:57 PM
I only got one day in Lyon because we had to work our visit around an unpredictable transit strike, but I would definitely recommend the Roman ruins. My suggestion is to take a taxi to the top of the highest hill and then start your slow stroll down (unless, of course, you're fifteen years younger than me and want to walk up). I'd like to hit Lyon for a weekend again, but I just don't like vacationing in large cities for too long (except for Paris).
Posted by: Julie F in St. Louis, MO | Thursday, March 03, 2011 at 04:34 PM
My family and I visited Lyon in 2007 for a family wedding. Our hosts took us to the Sunday morning markets on both sides of the river (Saone?), art on one side, food and household goods on the other, then to lunch in vieux Lyon. There are numerous places from which to choose! My wife and I took the 1 hr boat trip (very pleasant) and visited the miniature museum (fascinating). I told the kids that they only admitted 1 person at a time...
Posted by: George Gottschalk III | Thursday, March 03, 2011 at 04:36 PM
Isn't there a golden retreiver pup being held by a woman on the left of one of the photos Kristin?
Lucky dog to be in such company!
Posted by: Elissa | Thursday, March 03, 2011 at 04:46 PM
Thank you for these excellent ideas and suggestions! I think we should all join Margaret and Portia (I just realized that Suzanne wont be there...). What do you think?
Elissa, yes indeed! Thats one of Braises babes (one of Smokeys 5 sisters... or maybe that is Smokey himself...) in Margarets arms.
Margaret, great question: anyone attending any of Jean-Marcs events? Let us know in the comments box so as to look forward to meeting each other. Sorry to not be there to join you all!
Posted by: Kristin Espinasse | Thursday, March 03, 2011 at 04:56 PM
I too recommend the Roman amphitheatre - Musee des Beaux Arts ***** and Cafe des Negociants or Federation or any number of great eateries. Bon voyage!!1
Posted by: bill rollins | Thursday, March 03, 2011 at 05:08 PM
I spent 2 weeks in Lyon last spring, and all of the suggestions above are good ones. Wish I had known then about Lucy Vanel, though. She's an ex-pat American married to a Frenchman, and she offers tours and cooking instruction. If that interests you (as it does me), check her website: lucyskitchennotebook.com.
Posted by: Janet | Thursday, March 03, 2011 at 05:16 PM
Hello everyone who adores Lyon!
We live in Lyon and are American. Lyon has it all..... highlights have been mentioned above. I would like to add: The Visitors' Center on Place Bellecour (the BIG square with Louis XIV statue in the center) is an excellent source to get your bearings. Most employees speak a little English. I highly suggest the "City bus tour-2 hours" and a day or half-day tour through Beaujolais area. These tours are a great overview and can be arranged through the Tourist Office on Place Bellecour. Depending on how long you will be staying, Lyon has a superb "Restaurant Row" too. Shopping on rue Republique includes a Cartier!, Printemps, and everything one would want..... Foot Locker, too! All the above mentioned places are on the Presque'isle (almost island) where the Soane and Rhone Rivers converge to the south. I might add, there are few "bad restaurants" in Lyon. Very competitive and serious dining takes place in Lyon!!!! The Parc de la Tete d'Or is 1/3 the size of NY Central Park, has the only free zoo in Europe, is the largest city parc in France, and is famous for the rosarie (rose garden).
Our apartment overlooks the parc.... c'est dommage! If you want a personal tour guide, contact me!!! I can meet you at Gare Part-Dieu or Gare de Perrache, etc. and show you around for a day, peut-etre. Warm regards, Kate *I think Kristin has my email address. And I will check this site for a week to make connections with you, if you want.
Posted by: Kate Morrey in Lyon | Thursday, March 03, 2011 at 05:21 PM
Thank you so much for your pictures and for your teaching of today
Posted by: moa | Thursday, March 03, 2011 at 05:51 PM
To add to the wonderful suggestions above:
The Soierie Vivante is a living museum that demonstrates working silk looms at two different locations on the Croix Russe. I found it fascinating. Brochures at the tourism office.
Marche St. Antoine, along the banks of the Saone is delightful.
Bouchons I'd recommend are: Le Garet (excellent food and fun atmosphere - don't miss the women's restroom); A Ma Vigne, for what may be the world's best steak frites and the adorable 86-year old proprietor; Chez Hugon, a place right out of central casting, with boudin pommes of the gods.
Bernachon, a temple to chocolate. The Palets d'Or are amazing.
Have a wonderful visit!
Posted by: BeenThereAteThat | Thursday, March 03, 2011 at 05:52 PM
I am envious! Last time I only had a day to spend in Lyon so I can tell you that at the top of my list was Bernachon chocolates. At one time I dreamed of being a chocolatier and randomly showed up at their doorstep. M. Bernachon gave me a private tour of the kitchens! Their chocolates are amazing, but the must-have is the hot chocolate next door at their cafe.
On the way back I wandered down a street parallel to Franklin Roosevelt and found myself in a World Village type boutique, chatting with a French volunteer about jewelry made in Peru. It was a wonderful shop and beautiful experience.
Posted by: Annie_in_Akron | Thursday, March 03, 2011 at 06:55 PM
I have never been to Lyon. I've only had the pleasure of sitting in the traffic on the way to Uzes. Now, after reading the comments today I really wish we would have stayed there for a few days first. Lyon sounds wonderful!
Maybe next time...
Posted by: Lisa A., CA | Thursday, March 03, 2011 at 07:52 PM
Wow! This was wonderful reading and many fabulous ideas for Lyon. Could we possibly ask same question but substitiute Strasbourg for Lyon?
Posted by: Margie Wilson | Thursday, March 03, 2011 at 11:13 PM
FOR ISA Isa, I will be in Lyon with two friends from college days on July 2nd and 3rd. Wondering if you would rent to us for those two nights if available. E-mail below, Merci
Posted by: Margie Wilson | Thursday, March 03, 2011 at 11:18 PM
We spent a week in an apartment in Lyon several years ago. We were fortunate enough to do many of the activities mentioned above - the museums, the walks, the meals at a bouchon. What I don't think is mentioned is that the tourist office in Lyon offers walking tours of Lyon in English at a very reasonable fee. We took one that explored both the Roman ruins and the traboules, and ended at the textile museum. We also saw les soies vivantes on our way. The tourist office also offers many downloadable "do it yourself" tours of Lyon -
Posted by: Dot Allen | Thursday, March 03, 2011 at 11:47 PM
It looks like everyone has probably mentioned everthing to do in Lyon, but at the risk of repeating information I would recommend a river cruise if the weather is sunny. We did that one afternoon and it was so relaxing and is always another aspect to view a city from.
I love Lyon so I would also suggest the riverside market on Sunday morning (not sure if this is all year round, we were there in September). Walk, walk, walk...we did heaps of that and saw all kinds of wonderful things. Take the funiculaire up to the Roman theatre, the museum there is great, vieux Lyon, Croix Rousse, La Maison des Canuts - silk makers. Oh my, I have to stop now, my feet are getting itchy...
Posted by: Christine Dashper | Thursday, March 03, 2011 at 11:55 PM
Kate, I would like to be in touch ([email protected])
Posted by: Margaret | Friday, March 04, 2011 at 01:15 AM
What a fabulous community you have created with FWAD. Because of posting this question about what to do in Lyon for my mother and sister, not only fabulous suggestions but a piqued interest in Lyon. FWAD is a community and a network.
I hope you get as many suggestions about Strasbourg!
Posted by: Suzanne, Monroe Twp., NJ | Friday, March 04, 2011 at 03:41 AM
You confused me....today is Thursday...not a blog day!Lyon,oh, like many have said...eat....and then head to Beaune and eat and drink some more.
Posted by: Joie Blair | Friday, March 04, 2011 at 04:53 AM
Funny you should mention Beaune. This trip to Lyon all started with us first booking an apartment in Pommard for 10 nights (2 miles from Beaune) and then we decided to add 5 nights on for the front end of the trip. So we will carry on our feast in Beaune after we leave Lyon.
Posted by: Margaret Dennis | Friday, March 04, 2011 at 01:55 PM
My sister (my travel partner) and I visited Lyon, France. It is a beautiful and gastronomic city. The city has a fantastic shopping area, many beautiful statues, a picturesque old town, and buildings that are covered with full-building murals (an amazing sight to see.) Since we always try to determine the most memorable thing we did on a trip, this one had to be the tour of the Beaujolais Wine Region and of course, the tuna pizza with egg.
First of all, the pizza. It was actually a tuna pizza made with an Alfredo sauce rather than a marinara sauce and the minute it was taken from the oven, the waiter cracked an egg right in the center of the pizza. The heat from the pizza slightly cooked it but it was an egg! We thought it was so unusual and so good that we actually repeated the dinner twice.
We did not know what to expect in Lyon because we had never been there before so we read all the pamphlets on what to do and what to see. Being wine lovers, a tour of the wine country was just up our alley. We called the most interesting tour and it was booked. Oliver, the owner, took our number and within a short time, he called us back because he had a cancellation and the two of us were in!
This was a small tour. A van, Oliver driving, and five very attentive members left promptly at 9:30 in the morning. He picked us up at our hotel and headed into the hills outside of Lyon. The Beaujolais Region is an area about 5 miles by 10 miles and produces over 140 million bottles of wine each year. Most of the wineries are small ‘garage’ wineries.
Our first stop was a winery owned and run by the Pein family, Domaine de Rochebonne, Vent d’Ange. They were very gratious and knew Oliver quite well. They actually let us climb the ladder and look over into the gigantic barrels of grapes. This winery has a guest cottage if you wish to stay over. We purchased several bottles and climbed back into the van for the next part of the journey.
We stopped at the medieval village of Oingt and walked thru their winding little streets, visited the chapel, and looked at the countryside from their lookout. It was amazing, as far as you could see, hillsides covered with grapes. Back on the road again we passed a field with an entire camp of gypsies harvesting the fields. We ended up in the little town of Theize for lunch. One of the dishes served was quenelle. A really great little ‘discovery’ that my sister is now making back at home in Idaho.
The van meandered thru the winding roads of this wine region and at one point, he pulled the van into a driveway of a small home. I was expecting him to be making a turn about since the road appeared to be coming to an end but he shut the van off. We climbed out, and low and behold, the garage doors opened and another ‘garage’ winery “La Cave de Claire”! This time the giant vats were underground. We went into their tasting room and learned their story. The winery had been in existence for nearly 100 years and most recently run by the son of the owner (the man telling this story) and he had taken over because his 80 year old father had broken his leg. While we were tasting his really great wines, we heard music…loud music…tuba music! Then we were shown a picture of his father, the owner with the broken leg, playing his tuba in a band. We were given a small tour thru his garage and thru a portion of his fields to pick and taste his grapes, a memorable experience.
We were escorted back to our hotel by 5:30pm. It was a day to remember.
Posted by: Louise Burkhartsmeier | Friday, March 04, 2011 at 03:53 PM
Oingt is one of the "plus beaux villages". So is Pérouges (visited by Bill Clinton when he was president), just outside Lyon towards the airport.
The link given for Lucy Vanel's blog didn't work. Googling her name took me to http://kitchen-notebook.blogspot.com/
Posted by: Michael Khaw | Friday, March 04, 2011 at 05:11 PM
Reading all of these wonderful suggestions has me wanting to return to Lyon toute suite as well! What a lovely forum to share info. and ideas and recommendations, merci encore Kristi.
Anyone working on current airline tickets over to France? Seems with the current world situation, gas prices tickets are going sky high? Hoping they will drop back, though not sure that is realistic.
Kristi, are the almond trees blooming now?
Spring in France...then we love every season in France!
Posted by: Sandra Vann | Friday, March 04, 2011 at 05:35 PM
In Lyons, don't miss the fabulous rose garden in the public park. If you can manage to be there on a weekend day, you will see lots of wedding parties taking pictures--very entertaining.
Since you will be near Beaune, don't miss Dijon. Wonderful history, great food and a charming shopping area.
Posted by: Linda Bugg | Friday, March 04, 2011 at 05:46 PM
I just returned from my 5th visit to Lyon ... as our dear 'native' friends there say, it is truly 'Belle Lyon'! The people are warm and friendly, its history is rich with many unique contributions to Europe's community, dating back to the Roman Empire and more recently silk & textiles and it was a center for the French Resistance in WW2 (fabulous museum!) As others have mentioned, there are sooo... many little vignettes, vistas, walks, restaurants to be explored and enjoyed - don't miss the 'pedestrian streets' surrounding Place Bellecour. The Parc Tete d'Or is amazing - take time to relax and enjoy plants, animals, mini-shows, lake, beautiful open spaces! Walk through the streets and look UP ... the architecture is beautiful! Take the funicular up to Fourviere ... by day AND by night - it's spectacular! This past visit one late afternoon was so clear you could see the Alps lit up like gold, shimmering in the distance. The metro/bus system is excellent and easy so you won't need a vehicle, unless you want to explore one of the nearby medieval villages (like Perouges). But you can do that by bus as well - for 5 E we enjoyed an enchanting musical 'recital' by locals in the village of Couzon that looks like it came out of the 15th century. If you like quality fiction, some of which is set in France, I encourage you to check out Elizabeth Musser's works. She is an American who has lived in & written from Montpelier and now Lyon for over 20 years, a dear friend and wonderful example of what makes Lyon truly special :)
Posted by: Dawn Bouchard | Friday, March 04, 2011 at 07:28 PM
These are wonderful suggestions that are helping this New York Ex-Pat appreciate my city even more....I have been living here for 7 years now. Other than a stroll (or rent a city VELOV bike for a ride) along the Berges du Rhone (any time of day), we love Parc de la Tete d'Or. If you want a great Japanese/French fusion lunch at an amazing price, don't miss l'Ourson qui Bois on rue Royale, a short walk from the Opera house/Hotel de Ville...which is just a short walk from Place de Terreaux and oh yes, the lovely garden park inside the Musee Beaux Arts!
Also, I don't know if anyone has mentioned it, but Nicholas le Bec on the Soane (near La Sucriere) is fun - - some other restaurants and art galleries down there, too!
The Lumiere Brothers museum is WONDERFUL. Oh, and in Vieux Lyon, take a chance on the Minatures Musee...truly spectacular if you like that sort of thing: http://www.mimlyon.com/
As for markets, one of the best is in the Croix-Rousse....up on the hill above the Presqu'isle. Great views of the city from up there, too....and places to get an apero after you've done your shopping.
OH! Finally, if you have a car, and you like flea markets, here's one of the best in the region: http://www.pucesducanal.com/
Posted by: jenni | Monday, March 07, 2011 at 12:55 PM
Pourriez-vous aidez Suzanne... ->Pourriez-vous aider(infinitif) Suzanne...
Posted by: Hannah | Monday, March 07, 2011 at 04:36 PM
Hi Hannah, many thanks for catching the "coquille" (well, I wish it was a typo... instead of a grammar mistake :-) I've just updated the post. Thanks again!
Posted by: Kristin Espinasse | Monday, March 07, 2011 at 04:46 PM
I just returned from a few days in Lyon--and wrote about it yesterday! I've actually been a number of times, it's an excellent city to walk (and walk). If the weather complies, the photo opportunities abound throughout the city.
For an inexpensive, yet gourmet dining experience in the 6th, go to le 126 on rue de Seze (in writing my review of the restaurant I discovered he's been written up in the WSJ-Europe as one of 2010's ten best chefs in Europe, as well as being lavishly praised in the esteemed Gault-Millau and France Today). Cooking classes are a lot of fun, also because you get to eat what you made, kind of a two in one deal, only I don't know whether there are any English-language ones. I had a lovely cooking lesson with a Michelin-starred chef at the Halles de Lyon Paul Bocuse, which is a temple to gastronomy and absolutely worth exploring even if you don't go for the class.
Planning ahead in terms of public transport and where you want to go will help: www.tcl.fr can provide detailed information in English or French on exact route planning on foot, by metro or bus; so helpful.
There are some charming antique shops in the 2e (Presqu'Ile)...between window-shopping, eating and wandering, you should be quite happy! Safe travels!
Posted by: Tammy | Friday, March 11, 2011 at 01:01 AM
I would like to participate in your French word of the day. I am interested in returning to Paris next year and would like to learn some French.
Posted by: Nancy Griffin | Monday, March 14, 2011 at 12:46 AM
Thanks again and again for these wonderful ideas and tips. And here are some photos (thanks to photographer Josee Fauteux) that will "seal the deal" or get you planning your next trip to Lyon!:
Posted by: Kristin Espinasse | Monday, March 14, 2011 at 12:07 PM
How has nobody mentioned Voisin chocolates? You can only get them in Lyon and they are THE BEST I've ever had in the world (I've been all over).
Try the matcha chocolates, they're my favourites and I still dream about eating them.
Posted by: FB @ FabulouslyBroke.com | Thursday, March 17, 2011 at 02:42 PM
I second trying to find the "traboules" in the old city -- these are sort of secret routes through the middle of buildings which I understand were first designed in order to move precious silk around the town without fear of rain. They were used during the revolution and during WWII for "secret missions." A great "bouchon" (typical Lyonnaise brasserie-type fare) is Chez Mounier, 3, Rue des Marronniers 04 78 37 79 26. For about 12 euros, a 3 or 4 course lunch with wine at long tables filled with locals from nearby offices and markets. I suggest making a reservation in the morning before going off to explore the area, otherwise it's likely to be full.
Posted by: Karen Greenfield | Sunday, March 20, 2011 at 08:07 PM