To celebrate our fourth wedding anniversary, we escaped to Lyon this past weekend. It was my husband, my girl and I, all three, together, every minute of the weekend. Sleeping in the same room. Doing the same activities. Okay, I can totally see you shaking your head now. It wasn’t much of an escape, was it? Please don’t burst my bubble. I’ll call it an escape and you’ll get to check some pictures. Deal?
Let’s start with the food….
We experienced one traditional dinner. The rest of our meals were typically quick bites to allow us plenty of time to wander around.
That’s the typical salad: the Lyonnaise. Mixed greens, lardons, croutons and an ooey gooey poached egg. That’s an entrée serving size. Had it been a main dish, you’d get two eggs and a lot more bacon.
The main course was a “quenelle de Brochet with bisque d’homard, gratin dauphinois and sauteed carrots”. Fish and meat quenelles are Lyon’s local dishes and you’ll find them on menus in all restaurants. This particular quenelle is creamed pike fish with eggs and flour served with a lobster bisque. The quenelle texture was soft and pillowy but it’s the bisque that takes center stage. The gratin is unclear in this picture because I had already shared half with my girl. She loved it all! No kids’ meal for my baby!
For dessert, we ordered a chocolate custard tart and a Praline tart. My husband and girl couldn’t wait to taste. I guess my picture-taking is doomed with this permanently hungry gang! The praline tart was a delicious surprise. I didn’t expect the pink color and I wondered what it was because the dominant flavors in this custardy creamy pie were the almonds and the caramel.
It wasn’t until the next day that I discovered that pink pralines are a “specialite Lyonnaise” and that the pink is of course due to pink food coloring! So long for bringing some goodies back home.
You can find tarts, cakes, brioches, tuiles, all with pralines.
You can also see a warning here in a patisserie window. Literally translated: “Coloring 129: may cause adverse effects on activity and attention in kids”. On a different but totally related topic, they love candy. I’ve seen several specialized candy stores; however, I never ran across one in Paris (yet).
While walking in Vieux Lyon on Saturday, we came across a pottery exhibition “Les Tupiniers du Vieux Lyon”. Beautiful art, everywhere. I wished I could carry a piece back home, but even if it survived the train ride, would it have survived a curious toddler?
Place St-Jean where part of the exhibition was held. You can see up on the hill, the iconic church of Lyon, Notre Dame de Fourviere.
The exhibition from the opposite side facing the Gothic style church St. Jean.
Le crieur d’amour, my favorite person from the exhibition, check this video I posted of him on Instagram : http://instagram.com/p/tFJwANJdJg/?modal=true
Les Traboules… or the old passageways
And then we learned about silk, caterpillars and silkworms. Here are the links to two videos I posted on Instagram depicting the phases of silk making, from breeding, to eggs, to caterpillar growth, to cocoon and then silk. Two facts I didn’t know and that changed my perception of silk: Silkworm breeding started in China around 5000 years ago. The butterflies are domesticated and they do not know how to fly anymore. They just live to breed and hatch eggs. Once the cocoons have formed, the best ‘silk-weavers’ are left to breed again, while the others are poured in boiling water for their silk to be extracted, rolled and used.
Then up the funicular we went to visit Fourviere. All pictures are with my iPhone, so I could not capture properly the beauty of this church from the outside. Here’s an inside view though.
The beautiful floor…. An enchanting mandala
Another beautifully blooming tile pattern
I was pleasantly surprised to see a small chapel inside Fourviere dedicated to Harissa- Notre Dame du Liban, with an elaborate explanation of Harissa’s history
Lyon as seen from Fourviere
Le Petit Prince has got it right. I wish we appreciated our planet more though. Antoine de Saint-Exupery, the author of The Little Prince, was born in Lyon. You’ll see quotes from his famous book everywhere in souvenir shops. Even the airport and the main train station are named after him.
Don’t you just love old cities ad their fountains?… Place des Jacobins
And old city rivers?… Art by the Saone river
Getting their Sunday Morning exercise
On Sunday, we visited the huge Parc De la Tete D’Or. You could easily spend a day there checking the “jardin des plantes”, the zoo and taking part of the various aquatic and land activities. We just pedaled our way through the beautiful lake and got really intimate with the ducks. They didn’t want to get intimate with us though…
Sunday afternoon was “Le Defile de la 16eme Biennale de La Danse”, the biggest amateur dance festival in Europe. Young and old were participating. Young and old were watching. And this parade made me really think about what makes a nation developed and civilized or not.
By the way, have you seen any crazy lions on the loose in Lyon?
Naah! They’re back home.
We’ve missed several must-see places and the river cruise, but with a kid, a pottery exhibition and a dance festival, we got our hands full. In fact, we were lucky to be visiting on that particular weekend to witness all the local action. The Rhone and Saone will have to wait…