Historically, the city was the silk capital of the world and many restaurants opened to serve the hungry workers.
Tourists are awestruck by Lyon’s culinary prowess. Paul Bocuse, is the father of nouvelle cuisine in this gourmet mecca. His family has been in the restaurant business since 1767. His elegant namesake restaurant at 40 Rue de la Plage near Lyon has had three Michelin stars since 1965. A fresco of international chefs adorns the courtyard area of the restaurant. He even has his own wine.
Bocuse also owns four brasseries: Le Nord, Le Sud, L’Est and L’Ouest. He recently opened a hotel called DockQuest dockouest.com with 43 rooms and suites right next door to his Ouest Express (ouestexpress.com) restaurant.
Lyon has 22 Michelin stars. There is no shortage of Michelin-rated restaurants in Lyon:
Leon de Lyon at the Hotel de Ville has been in the chef Jean-Paul Lacombe’s family since 1905. It is in the www.relaischateaux.com property and has two Michelin Stars www.leondelyon.com ; so does Nicolas Le Bec www.nicolaslebec.com.
Check out the wine bar and bakery at Rue Le Bec (43 Quai Rambaud, 33-4-78-92-87-87). For a breathtaking Vino con Vista view of Lyon, dine at Les Terrasses de Lyon at the Hotel Villa Florentine in Lyon.
Lyon’s Main Market is Halles de Lyon Paul Bocuse. The stalls are brimming with fresh food and French delicacies. Visit the Marche St. Antoine at Quai St.-Antoine and Quai des Celestins.
Lyonnais local wine will be served at many of the traditional bouchons: a Cotes du Rhone or Beaujolais made from Gamay grapes. A Bouchon serves traditional Lyonnaise cuisine like duck pate and sausages. Enjoy pork dishes, soft cheese and tasty beignets. Some of the Bouchons are actually certified and adhere to exacting standards. Try Café des Federations at 8 Rue du Major Martin.
Lyon’s downtown shopping mecca is Rue de la Republique, a pedestrian-only cobblestone street with plenty of outdoor cafes and boutiques. You will find many Vino con Vista opportunities in this area!
Check out the stunning architecture and spectacular fountains. Visit the opulent Opera House. In December,
Lyon has a spectacular Festival of Lights, Fetes Lumières. Artists and Achitects illuminate public buildings throughout the city.
The old medieval part of the city has charming cobblestone streets with buildings that are painted interesting shades of yellow and red. In Vieux Lyon, check out the secret passages called traboules. These indoor passages were originally used to transport silk so it wouldn’t get wet. They connect streets in Old Lyon and are popular free tourist attractions.
Lyon’s most interesting churches are:
St.-Jean Baptiste Cathedral’s astronomical clock will chime throughout the day at 12, 2, 3 and 4 PM.
This gorgeous cathedral was built between the 12th and 15th centuries. The Cathedral’s facade (cathedrale-lyon.cef.fr) is lavishly decorated with: “25 gargoyles, 36 prophets and patriarchs, 36 martyrs and saints and 72 angels.”
Visit Parc de la Tête d’Or known as Golden Head Park
At this botanical park, you can enjoy the rose gardens and meander through the zoo. Take a paddle boat ride for a spectular Vino con Vista. While you are in the vicinity, you can visit the Contemporary Art Museum www.mac-lyon.com in an Art Deco building designed by Penzo Piano.
Check out the archaeological Museum of Gallo-Roman Civilization, Musee Gallo-Romain de Fouviere Lyon and UNESCO Gallo-Roman Ruins.
” Bernard Zehrfuss designed the museum’s interior as a concrete spiral ramp. Highlights of the museum is the Lyon Tablet, a bronze tablet with Emperor Claudius’ request to the Roman senate to permit the people of Lugdunum to run for magisterial office.”
The location of the museum is classified a UNESCO world heritage site. Meander through the remains of the Roman Theater.
According to UNESCO:
“There was a Gaulish settlement here as early as the 4th century BC, to the west of the line of hills bordering the Saône. Although the area was marshy at that time, the settlement played an important role in trading with Marseille.
In 43 BC Lucius Munatius Plancus, governor of the Roman province of Gallia Transalpina, founded a town known as Lugdunum on one of these hills, Fourvière; it was granted the high status of colonia by the Senate, giving it important fiscal privileges. With the reorganization of the provinces of Gaul in 27 BC it became the capital of Gallia Lugdunensis and the headquarters of the Imperial government. A network of roads was built spreading outwards from Lugdunum, a factor that contributed significantly to its economic and political supremacy.
Lugdunum had a special status, since it was here that the Council of the Gauls met annually. Delegates from all the towns in the three provinces came together at the sanctuary dedicated to Rome and Augustus on the slopes of the Croix-Rousse.”
Here’s a link to the UNESCO World Heritage Sites: http://whc.unesco.org/en/list//en/news/1049/en/list
Check out Lyon’s trompe l’oeil Murals
Go to the tourist office to get a map so you can find over 150 trompe l’oeil pieces displlayed throughout the city of Lyon.
Book a room at La Cour des Loges at 2468 Rue du Boeuf www.courdesloges.com
Dr. EveAnn Lovero writes Travel Guides @ www.vino con vista.com
Here are some helpful links to the New York Times related to Lyon: