Lyon is our final destination on the (Continental) European leg of our trip.
I’ve done well by finding a gorgeous little B&B, 8km from the centre of town.
Thanks again to chambresdhotes.org, Villa Cazot is a lovely home, just 8km from the centre of town.
We arrive in time to enjoy afternoon tea in the garden, catching the last warm rays of the sun.
Lyon has been claimed by many to be the gastronomic capital of France, some so bold to claim the world. We are going to see what all the fuss is about. Don has picked a restaurant with good reviews for dinner called La Gargotte.
We head back into town planning to have a look around and maybe a pre-dinner drink somewhere. Well, after a horrendous battle through Lyon traffic (the 8km takes over an hour), we just make it to the restaurant in time for our booking.
Word of advice: don’t drive in Lyon, if you can avoid it.
Arriving at La Gargotte, we are greeted by the owner. It turns out to be Croatian – an affable, over excited character who I think is louder than even Don can be after a few drinks.
His enthusiasm for the menu is contagious and he explains in detail the ingredients in each item.
Leaving us to contemplate, he then passes via our table with someone elses meal, so we can view our options. I think he would even have let us taste it if we’d asked.
The presentation and flavours are delicious, each course is just the right size, to allow enough room for dessert. It was a superb meal and I would recommend to anyone – spend time in Lyon just for the food!
By-the-way; our journey home is nearly as long, even at 10:30pm the traffic struggles to move through Lyon.
The next day is a slow one, we don’t head off to explore Lyon until 11am, opting to take the bus rather than endure the stress of driving and parking.
Perched 2km above the city is the Basilica of Notre-Dame de Fourvière. It looks like a daunting climb, but we couldn’t not visit- at the time, Jane and Don thought otherwise. We stop for pancakes on the way to give us a good reason to continue our hike up the hill.
The view from the top makes the effort worthwhile, the inside of the Basilica even more so.
The site has held religious significance dating back to the 12th Century, the current church was built in the late 1800’s; dedicated in 1896. Perched above the city is provides a spectacular vista over Lyon.
The inside is just as impressive, if not somewhat excessive; a richly decorated interior of gilt, marble, stained glass and mosaic murals. It stands out as one of the most opulent churches we have seen.
In general, Lyon is not an attractive city, it has nothing on Bordeaux or Paris. However, give it time. Significant restoration works are underway, along with new (and controversial) modern developments like the Musee de Confluence – it looks like a spaceship.
The Musee is located in what once was the seedy part of town. The right blend of new with old should bring about a much more cosmopolitan city.
We had skipped lunch and after returning to our B&B, we head out for a dinner locally. We really didn’t want to drive far, even parking in the suburbs is a challenge.
As Don struggles to reverse into a narrow spot, the elderly Frenchman in the car behind, kindly says he will move his car back. He keenly assists us print a parking ticket for the car and I’m sure he even intends to watch the car for us whilst we eat.
The recommendation provided by the teenager daughter of the B&B, turns out to be a pizzeria – what would you expect from a teenager! No one else had been home at the time.
It’s not really what we had in mind for our last French hurrah. We scout the town (passing our car and we are sure we see the Frenchman).
Dinner options are not looking good. We ask in the local Cave (wine shop), also intending to purchase a couple of bottles (if all else failed we could end up with red wine and chocolate for dinner).
Of course, good fortune is on our side (we have Jane with us); he not only recommends a restaurant 10 min away, he calls them and makes a reservation for us.
Le Crouton does not disappoint and perhaps exceeds La Gargotte. Don and I went all duck with Foie Gras followed by Duck Magret, a fitting last French meal. Jane opted for the beef which was also mouth-watering delicious.
It was a fitting last supper; having dined our way through 13 countries, the French cuisine is our favourite, it never fails to impress. The Greeks and Italians are both a close second. But, I decline from commenting further.