This past week I met up with my sister and her friend in Lyon. The third largest city in France, Lyon was the capital of the silk industry during the 16th century. It is also known to some as the Food Capital of France ( though it really depends who you talk to). I was lucky enough to get tickets to the SIHDA a huge food expo that also holds the World Cup Pastry competition. But that is a different story.
This particular visit was a nice rounded balance of walking, museums and food. S’s friend isn’t much of a foodie so we had fun introducing her to some local classics. Including Brioche Praline, a rich sweet bread with pink candied almonds called ‘praline’; Saussison, a dried sausage; regional cheeses like comte, abondance, and Tomme; eclairs; and of course, Macaron. I also managed to get my sister, a hater of coffee to try a noisette, espresso with a tiny bit of milk and foam! She didn’t really like it but could understand how it cuts the too sweet taste after so many yummy desserts! I arrived by train at noon.
The nice thing about any big european city is that they are so easy to get around in via public transport. We met at the hostel Cool and Bed, where I have stayed in a previous visit.
Lunch was at a restaurant called Riva. We were a bit out of place as most other patrons were dressed in suits and skirts. Sort of business casual whereas we were dressed nice, but practically for walking. Service was okay, the food was very good was nothing special. They specialized in burgers and when you are from well anywhere in North America I’m sorry but I have yet to have a burger in Europe that stands up to the juicy goodness that we have.
Plus they eat their burgers with a fork and knife. Isn’t that illegal? I’m pretty sure if you tried to do that in McDonalds you’d be thrown out…
There is a free zoo and botanical garden in the north of the city. We walked through that. Being the middle of February there wasn’t too much happening. There were some lions, and moneys. And carnivorous plants. But I am looking forward to visiting again when it’s spring to see what it looks like in all it’s glory We tried walking the Croix Rousse but ended up taking a wrong turn and ended up back at the hostel. S also got way laid by this old Lyonnais who spit in her face explaniing some history of the city. His information was interesting but didn’t get the polite cues that were were trying to leave. We did get a really nice picture of Lyon with Mont-Blanc in the back ground.
Since eating out too much is expensive we decided to make tartiflette back at the hostel. Tartiflette a mixture of all the best things in life: Bacon, cheese, and potatoes. Really simple and cheap ( in france) this recipe will make enough for 4. You need:
a package of lardons
roblauchon ( or tartiflette cheese)
a pound of potatoes
white wine ( optional)
a casserole dish
Peel and slice the potatoes. Boil until cooked ( they are soft when you stab them with a fork or knife). Strain. Sweat the onions until they’re translucent. add the lardons. Once cooked turn off the heat. Add the creme fraiche and a splash or white wine. Mix. Put the potatos and creme fraiche mix into a casserole dish, mixing it all together.
Cut the roblauchon in half to make two disks. Put them skin side up in the casserole dish on top of the potatoes. Bake at 180C(350F) or 6 on a gas oven, until a little golden. ( it took a while to learn french oven temperatures…) Bon appetit!
Day 2 in Lyon we went to the Museum of Cinema and Miniatures ( if you have a youth/student card it’s 6.50). This museum is a must see! In Vieux Lyon you’ll definitely notice the I-Robot mannequin. It is basically a collection of movie memorabilia with explanations on the movie making process and how they use miniature sets for scenes. It was so interesting and brought out some nostalgia. The owner is also a miniaturist and had some of his creations on display at the end. It explained his process as well which was very interesting as well.
We wandered Vieux Lyon for a bit, caught the tail end of an outdoor market where we sampled some local goodies I mentioned above. Then to a pastry shop. It’s cheaper to take sweets to go so we did and sat looking up to the Notre-Dame de Fourviere Basilica.I got to try a new dessert made with so much chantilly. It was delicious but I forget the name.
After crepes and coffee we made our way to the Musee des Beaux-Arts. This museum is free to students or under 26. S and I don’t really know art but we know and appreciate what we like. It’s not the Louvre but they have some really nice pieces by Rodin and some from the impressionist era. we spent a good 3 hours there.
Two other Canadian’s had checked into the hostel that night so we had fun chatting with them. While it’s fun to travel sometimes it’s nice to see something you’re familiar with. Which is why I bought some Skippy’s peanut butter to bring home with me. I’m going through peanut butter withdrawl!