Nothing can put a damper on a holiday more than bad weather, but there are cities where even the rain can’t prevent you having a good time. Lyon is one of those places. Situated between Paris and Marseilles, Lyon has garnered a reputation for being one of the gastronomical hotspots of France, so if it’s too wet to see its many architectural sites, why not indulge in its culinary offerings instead?
The gastronomic capital of France
Lyon is France’s largest conurbation after Paris, so as you might imagine, that means you’re going to get a cosmopolitan hotpot of culinary influences. But there’s plenty of French fare on offer too. Coq au vin has it roots here and, of course, salade Lyonnaise takes its name from the region. Lyon’s reputation means that the city has managed to attract some of the finest chefs in France. Alongside the food, the presence of the renowned wine regions of Beaujolais to the North and Côtes du Rhône to the south means that the wine lists aren’t too shabby either.
Le Poêlon D’Or
– If you’re looking for sturdy Lyonnaise dishes in a traditional bouchon (as brasseries are called in Lyon), the Golden Skillet is the place to go. Here you can feed on chicken liver cake, quenelles of pike and the enigmatically named ‘donkey snout’ salad.
Voisin – Chocolate is the speciality at Voisin - not so much a restaurant as a café. Not surprising, when you understand it belongs to the world famous confectionary family, Voisin. There are 24 outlets alone in Lyon, so you’re sure to come across one on your travels.
Les Belles Saisons – This restaurant serves stunning French gastronomy at very affordable prices in the spectacularly elegant setting of L’Institut Paul Bocuse in nearby Ecully.
Au 14 Fevrier
– Situated in the old town, this restaurant offers French food with a Japanese twist. It might sound a little odd, but it works tremendously well. Magali et Martin – You’ll need to ring ahead and reserve a table if you want to sample this French-Austrian couple’s fare at rue des Augustins. The focus here is on game with wild boar terrine, pheasant, and blood sausage.
The Hidden City of Lyon
And while we’re in the old town, it might interest you to know that Lyons is known for the many hidden passageways throughout the city. Built in the early 1800’s, the Passage Thiaffait, once a means of travel for the silk merchants, now houses many different merchants who ply their wares in a variety of studios and workshops. These passageways mean you can stay dry while you shop for everything from jewellery to silk. Shopping is an integral part of any holiday and once you’ve had your fill of food, you’ll find plenty of opportunities for retail therapy in Lyon.
In fact, you’ll come across unique products that you might not find anywhere else in the world. The Bonsai Studio is one such location, whether you come to buy or just look around and take in the tranquillity of the little shop. For booklovers, Diogene is unmissable with its floor-to-ceiling bookcases stuffed with old and rare books. Finally, if the weather becomes even too bad for shopping, seek out the Insitut Lumière, a museum that pays homage to the history of film-making. Next door, you’ll find a cinema showing international classics. A great way to spend a rainy afternoon before heading on for some of the finest cuisine on the planet at a local eaterie.