Lyon Trip Report May 2006

Mar 2nd, 2007, 10:16 AM
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Lyon Trip Report May 2006

This is part of our France 2006 trip and includes the Lyon portion. The preceding Paris portion can be found at:

This is the link to the Lyon photos that go along with this trip report.
Simply sign in as guest and ignore the AOL sales pitch.

Monday 01/05/06
Julie at Hotel Residence Monge had arranged a taxi for us and we arrived at Gare de Lyon well on time for our TGV to Lyon. We were a little unsure of services today as it was the May 1 holiday. Having arranged for our seats we wrestled our bags onto the car, not a little worried about where we would be able to store all of our luggage.
As the train pulled out at 10 sharp we breathed a sigh of relief. Except for another couple, we were the only passengers in the car. So vacant was the train that the conductor collected our tickets and soon settled down in one of the seats, removed his hat and went to sleep.
Train travel in France Ė what a wonderful experience. The seating was lovely with little lamps and footrests. Upstairs in the next car was a snack bar where I purchased an espresso served in a proper cup. Whether it was for sound proofing, much of the track seemed to be lower than the surrounding countryside which, along with the speed, didnít lend for easy sight seeing.
We arrived at Perrache in Lyon at 12:10 (as advertised) and walked down the pedestrian walk easily pulling our stackable Briggs & Riley luggage (thanks for the tip Intrepid) until we arrived at Le Residence on Victor Hugo. Being forewarned we purchased our muguets (lily of the valley) from the first vendor and carried it prominently displayed warding off other sellers. Our room was large, looked out on a courtyard and a bargain with computer and Internet service in the lobby. You canít beat the location.
Lunch was at Le Marronnier. I donít know if it was recommended or we just happened upon it. We both could not resist ordering a salade Lyonnais in deference to the location and the day. As is often the case, it didnít look or taste at all like my preconceived notion.
We spent the afternoon walking around. My observations have to be tempered with the fact that it was a holiday. Many things were closed. We loved Lyon. It seemed to be a very relaxed city, perhaps not as full as itself as Paris. It is easy to walk anywhere you want to go. The contrast between the new and the old city are wonderful with rivers and bridges and architecture and plenty of open park space. We enjoyed sitting on the benches and watching the families enjoy the day.
We had met a young fellow at Epcot who had worked for Paul Boccuse at Le Sud restaurant so we went there armed with a note from him. It was a disappointment. Part way through our aperitifs we were asked to change tables Ė and not to a better one. My salmon entrée was just that Ė smoked salmon on a plate. As these are formula meals we noticed another one delivered to another table that had capers and a cream sauce. My chicken tajine and couscous was delicious as was Sandraís roast veal but by then the die was cast. I remarked earlier that it was Cracker Barrel on a really good day but that is a little harsh. You canít get wine at Cracker Barrel. Maybe they didnít like the guy we met at Epcot?

Tuesday 02/05/06
Breakfast was a pain au chocolat and an espresso at a fast food outlet but it was quite good.
We started to wander when we came upon bicycle rickshaws (partially motorized) offering tours of Lyon. We donít usually do these things but as my cold was beginning to develop courtesy of the sniffling waiter from last Friday, and as Sid, the young Algerian medical student assured me that he could handle someone my size, we went for it. It was fabulous. Very knowledgeable, he gave us a wonderful description, stopping for photos, of Bellecour, Place a Poncet, Hotel Dieu, Place de la Republique, up rue de la Republique to the Opera and Hotel de Villa, Place des Terreaux, back by the restaurants of rue Merciere, Place Jacobins, over to the Saone, back to Bellecour. Cost of the hour tour? €10,50.
This gave us a great overview so that after lunch of a bagutette with tuna from a fast food outlet we walked around with some purpose to the areas we wanted to explore more thoroughly. We walked back to rue de Brest to a Circus store (what an interesting place), crossed the Saone by Pont de la Feuilée to Vieux Lyon. We took the funicular to the Basilique Notre Dame de Fourviere. It was very impressive. Although we were hoping to see a marionette show we did go into a store/museum specializing in these puppets. The timing was just not right for a performance. (Does anyone else have a fond memory of Punch and Judy and such from their childhood? Soon gone.)
The rest of the afternoon was spent scouting the area around our hotel for sources of bread and cheese and wine for tomorrowís drive to Provence. On one of the side streets we joined the locals for a drink in their café. A small place, I suspect by the way they looked at us that not many tourists normally invade their space.
Dinner at Aux Trois Couchons was marvelous (thanks Indytravel). This is a cozy place where you are made to feel welcome. The place is brimming with pig stuff, just daring you to order pork. We enjoyed garden salads and two pots of differently cooked mussels. A lot of people were eating mussels at the different cafes and I am curious if this is a spring thing, a Lyon thing, a holiday thing or what. Regardless they were delicious. Sandra waded into a bowl of Ile flottant while I was confronted with a mass of stewed plums laced with eau de vin (regularity guaranteed).
An older couple sat beside us and we exchanged glances throughout the meal. He and his wife made a point of coming over and saying goodnight as they left the restaurant. This is not the only time this has happened in France. Pleasant custom.

We headed to bed. Our time in Lyon was coming to an end as we were heading for Provence tomorrow.

robjame is offline  
Mar 3rd, 2007, 03:57 AM
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 3,499
I love reading about this kind of travel.

Another vote here for Briggs and Riley luggage. I have a 22" rollaboard and an expandable briefcase that slides over the extended handle of the suitcase. I was able to manoeuvre the two onto the Metro last week. Very durable, and the lifetime guarantee is great.

We haven't been to Lyon yet, robjame. How many days would you recommend for a visit?

AnselmAdorne is offline  
Mar 3rd, 2007, 05:58 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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Great fun reading this,

We spent 4 days in Lyon in November and also stayed at La Residence! Our room was also quite large but overlooked the stret. It really did not matter beacuse since it is mainly pedisrianized it was very quiet.

We had dinner at Bocuse's Le Nord and it was very good so another night we tried Le Sud and had the same feeling as youdid!!

The food was alright but the service and atmospher was lackluster IMO.

Enjoyed your pictures too

Here's a link to my Lyon shots
jody is offline  
Mar 3rd, 2007, 07:06 AM
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 239
Could you explain more about the lily of the valley thing? Why would it "ward off other vendors"?
lmlweb is offline  
Mar 3rd, 2007, 07:09 AM
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cobbie is offline  
Mar 3rd, 2007, 07:56 AM
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May day in France is known as the fete de it's tradition to wear a spray of muguet ( lily of the valley).
jody is offline  
Mar 3rd, 2007, 08:14 AM
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Hi Anselm - welcome back! I would think 3 or 4 days would be great. Jody was there 4 days - maybe she could weigh in. There is a lot of fine eating to be done there!
jody - great pictures - ahh, first time I have seen someone take a picture of a toilet. LOL I dread finding those in France.
lmlweb- as jody explained everyone carries lilyof the valley on May 1. It is like Labor Day holidayhere. I believe Lindy had warned in his trip report that you might as well buy a sprig from the first vendor cause you will be pestered all day to purchase one. By holding it in plain view the other vendors didn't approach us (In my mind it was like garlic and vampires)
robjame is offline  
Mar 3rd, 2007, 10:25 AM
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I had a shock too the first time I encountered one of those!

I do have a Lyon trip report of our 4 days there at
jody is offline  
Mar 5th, 2007, 08:19 AM
Join Date: Dec 2005
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Bob, several years ago we exchanged homes with a family living in a loft in the textile area of Lyon. The ceilings were very high to accomodate jacquard looms. The family had erected a balcony for sleeping all along the inner wall, above the kitchen and bathroom, leaving a spacious living area. It was a marvelous experience. Even though it was August and many places were closed we still found enough to keep us busy and happy for 10 days. Highlights were the art museum, a Roman museum and ampitheatre, tours of the local wine areas and a daytrip to the medieval village of Perouges where we tucked into a lunch featuring langoustines.

Most evenings we strolled around old Lyon and ate in whatever bistro looked appealing but one evening we left the kids at home and went out for a romantic dinner together at Paul Bocuse. There was only one Paul Bocuse restaurant at that time and it was totally worth every penny for the service, the experience and the food.
moolyn is offline  
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