Thursday 3rd October
It was a beautiful sunny morning in Lyon with clear skies but a cool breeze for our morning walking tour. This tour just starting from the same place where our wine tour started, Place Bellecour, and that was about a 20 minute walk south from our apartment. We set off with time to spare to have a slow amble down and check out the shops. Like so many other places we’ve been on this trip there is a lot of construction happening in Lyon; it is a thriving, busy and wealthy city.
Our tour this morning was with Nico from Lyon Explorer and we’d been a bit ambivalent about taking this walk as we thought it might be too similar to yesterday’s. Whilst it did cover some similar ground to start it ventured further into the north of Lyon, to the area around our apartment and Croix Rousse and this made it worthwhile.
Our guide from yesterday had mentioned our apartment area is like the Brooklyn of Lyon and our walk today reinforced that view. Croix Rousse is an area where many of the silk mills were initially concentrated and you could differentiate these buildings by noting that they had an extra tall first floor; as this level housed the 4 meter high plus looms. It is also an area with a lot of interesting street art and building murals and there is some just a few doors up in our street. Croix Rousse also has the best bars and restaurants and we tried two of them today and can confirm this fact.
The walking tour finished near our apartment and so we went to one of the local restaurants for lunch. After that we headed back to the apartment for a bit of a rest.
During our walking tour Nico had shown our group a plaque that mapped out a walking trail to inspect some of the Traboules in the Croix Rousse area and we decided to follow this for our last afternoon in Lyon.
It was a great afternoon as it took us through the very interesting streets of the Croix Rousse area. We now realised how lucky we were to strike an apartment in such a great area. I initially thought it might have been better to be closer to the old town but I now realise that the Croix Rousse area is a much better location: The restaurants, bars and shops are much more diverse and interesting and less touristica.
We finished our walk at a little square and had a beer at Dams Pub. It was a lovely scene watching out over the square as young kids played, a group of older men played Petanqe and an assortment of young and old relaxed at the pub.
PS: I was too tired to post this bit after our dinner last night. We dined at a traditional Bouchon just near our apartment; LA TÊTE DE LARD; a cosy and very traditional French restaurant. We arrived at 7 pm, the scheduled opening time, but were advised to come back at 7.30 pm so we used this time to have a drink at a bar nearby and to Google translate the menu. We’d been well warned to make sure you know what your ordering as it was the tradition in a Bouchon-style restaurant to use all parts of the animal and so, if offal is not your thing, you need to have your strategy in place. We had narrowed down the menu to just a few dishes that we thought we could manage and duly returned at 7.30 pm. The Restaurateur was the head Chef and a larger than life character, think Gusteau from Ratatouille below and you’d be close:
He would visit each table explaining the menu and taking orders; he helped us to understand the menu and we opted for the three course menu, a decision we would during the night regret! The chef advised us though that if we didn’t finish our first two courses then we would not be allowed dessert! We opted for the wine suggestion of the night and this turned out to be rather lucky as this was the best wine we’ve had whilst on this leg of the holiday; and for just 30 Euros. The wines from our tasting tour were nowhere near as good as this and were around 30-80 Euros a bottle! Gusteau had assured us we would like it and that we did. He was well pleased we enjoyed it so much and returned to our table with a map showing the region where the wine was from. He referred to it as a Beaujolais yet it was different from the Beaujolais we’d previously experienced. This was much heavier and more like a Cabernet Sauvignon or, dare I say, like Mollydooker!
The food was delicious but, sure enough, I struggled completing my two first dishes and Mark had to help out. Even then, we couldn’t clear the two main plates and, sure enough, back came Gusteau and gave Mark a serious frown and shake of the head before walking away. So, Mark persevered to enable us to achieve our desserts. We were both rather complete with delicious and wine but paid for this during the night as our bodies tried to digest all the hearty ingredients we had enjoyed! It was a great night though with Gusteau for entertainment along with his delicious food!
We’ve enjoyed our time in Lyon and think that we really could’ve had one more day here; at least. There are a few areas that we haven’t had a chance to get to and there are lots of day trips to be taken from here as well. Lyon is definitely a venue to put on your To Do list!