For a long wintery weekend trip away we chose Lyon. I've been to Paris and Carcassonne before, and was excited mainly by the idea of sipping on red wine by the fire and eating cheese and baguettes all weekend. Fortunately, also managed to squeeze in some other stuff as well.
After arriving at our hotel late on Wednesday, we woke up quite late and decided to just go for a walk and get to know the city a bit. We started in Le Kitchen Cafe, a breakfast spot that had been recommended, for a tasty bowl of granola, yogurt and sliced pear. It was really good food, and the lunch menu looked even better, but the coffee wasn't great. We gradually learnt over the weekend that it's difficult to find a good coffee in Lyon, I'll let you know the best places in a bit.
After this we walked along the river and headed over to Les Halles de Lyon – Paul Bocuse (the guy in the photo above), which is East of the city. It was raining outside so this was perfect as it's like a market indoors. There were cheeses, wines, charcuterie, veg, fruit, cakes, pastries, seafood, and baguettes everywhere. It was really amazing, we walked around about 3 times in awe of all the options. We finally sat down in AOC Les Halles, where we had some with and a cheese and charcuterie board to share. It was really reasonably priced, and later we saw it was one of the top 10 places to eat in Lyon! There are wine bars and restaurants all through the market so it's got a really lively and friendly atmosphere, I'd definitely recommend visiting.
For the rest of the afternoon we explored some of the old town, before heading down into Le Tasse Livre, for a cup of tea and hot chocolate. When I say hot chocolate, I mean a pint glass (literally) of rich, milky, chocolatey goodness that has had a fair amount of Speculous (biscuit spread) mixed in, topped with cream and Speculous biscuits sprinkles on top. It was ridiculous, but even I had to admit it was incredible.
For dinner we ate at Le Bouchon des Filles, a cute little traditional Bouchon where they only serve traditional Lyonnaise food. Which was interesting. I decided to have the pork sausage (which I later discovered was made only from intestines) and James had the Quenelle, a kind of fish dumpling in a rich sauce. It was really interesting to try such different food, it is quite rich and you don't get many vegetables except potatoes.
On Friday the weather was better, so we planned to walk up to the Basilica of Notre-Dame de Fourvière . It was quite a steep walk, but it was fun exploring the winding staircases up to the top of the hill and when you reach the top you get to look back over the city and it's really beautiful. Inside, it's really amazing, and was definitely worth the climb. After making our way back down we had lunch in a small cafe which had almost finish serving lunch we ended up having three kinds of potato and a steak.
During the afternoon we continued in exploring and walked up to the Roman ruins. It's really lovely how there are lots of different parts of Leon that you can go to, almost like little towns within the city. For dinner, having had such a big lunch, we decided to go and try one of the wine bars, where we had (another) cheese and charcuterie plate and of course some wine. It's really nice and relaxed in the wine bars which is ideal after you're a bit tired of having walked around all day. It's the perfect way to spend the evening.
As the sun will still shining we went to hire a car and head out into the countryside. They have three or four different our car hire companies by the main train station and from there it is easy to drive out of the city and straight into their Beaujolais region. Our first stop was the small town where they had a small market Report and cheese and a baguette I'm sat in the sun. There was a narrow path up to an old castle on the hill it was such a pretty town very french.
We decided to go and have a look at this beautiful Chateau. It was all enclosed but there was a gate with the buzzer and we asked if we could come in and have a coffee. A voice replied 'no you can't come in for a coffee, but you are welcome to have a look around the Gardens'. We went inside and found ourselves in a courtyard opposite a huge golden yellow building surrounded by a mote, the most beautiful place I've been, nestled amongst the vines. They have a hotel and spa but you have to be a guest to use any of the facilities (unfortunately!).
We later read that they had a huge fireplace in the dining room which I can imagine would be incredible during the colder months. The one thing I wanted to do in Lyon was sit in front of a fire with a glass of wine and cheese. Nowhere did we see a fire place, so I was so sad we hadn't seen this one. Although we did make up for it in wine and cheese.
We drove up towards Thieze, where we had a really delicious lunch at filleure they also had a Lyonnais menu as well as in à la cart menu. I tried a deer stew (or at least I thought it was deer) and James ordered a steak well done although it came out blue. However it was really good and came with an amazing blue cheese sauce. We carried on to another slightly larger town called Oinkt which is another Roman town. This is a little bit bigger they had a few shops and have a coffee in one of the cafe they also had a few cellar doors although they didn't seem to be open this time of year.
After returning the car we went back to the hotel before heading back out to another wine bar this time we went to Cote de cave, which is quite central and we read good reviews. They had a really good wine list and straightaway brought us a platter of cheese and charcuterie. We spent the whole night and managed to try all of the red wines between us.
On our last day we wanted to try and find a good market and visit 'Bobs bakery' (sadly Bob died, but it's still really really good and worth a visit), apparently the best bread in the city. We walked along the river and found one of the largest markets in Lyon. It was along the river in a single row which made it really easy to walk up and see everything (although we started at the wrong end so walked it twice! I wasn't complaining though). It was very similar to Les Halles de Lyon but a little bit more rustic and local with a lot more choice.
We then walked up North of the city to another smaller market where we came across one of the most incredible brioche bakeries, Francois Pralus. There was a line out the door and we decided to join in. We ended up getting the last pink praline brioche, still warm out of the oven. It was the best thing to discover by accident since we hadn't 'officially' had breakfast (just 2 Pastel de nata and an almond croissant). We then walked across to the park eating the brioche as we went. The park was lovely although it was quite chilly so we just walked around the botanical greenhouse to try and warm up before heading back to the hotel to watch a movie and eat out treasures from the market (bread and cheese).
For our last night we've booked a table at Le Nord, one of Paul buchuse's (remember the fellow at the top of the page, a top chef in France) brasseries. We had three courses, including the traditional Lyonnais salad of lettuce, bacon, croutons and a poached. Best salad ever. It was really good food the most expensive meal we had however still quite reasonable.
I would definitely recommend taking a trip to Lyon, it didn't feel too busy and there's so much good food!