|Day 17: In Lyon.
Weather: 17-29C but 90% humidity. Sunny most of the day.
Steps: 19 900 (12.4km).
After waking during the night, I turned off the a/c and left the door open which brought some refreshing cooler air. Today was the day to visit Pérouges, a medieval walled town 30 km northeast of Lyon. I had read about it and a colleague recommended it as well so, after breakfast, I was on the tram again to go to the main station to catch a train. I saw there was one at 10:12am and hoped to catch it but after waiting in the queue to purchase my tickets, I raced to the platform only for the doors to close and the train to depart – they wait for no one!!
So, with two hours for the next train, I decided to walk to Les Halles de Paul Bocuse, which were not really open when I was there yesterday. They were open today and it was good to look around. I gather these are individual owners who rent their space under the overall ownership of the Paul Bocuse Group. They were rather like the deli part of the Queen Victoria Market, really small shops within a larger building. Some are run by the Paul Bocuse Group, because I have seen the same shop elsewhere. It was not a place for a bargain at all – rather expensive but all seemed to be of a very high quality. The gambas, large prawns, were over AUD100 per kilogram, as was the smoked salmon.
In amongst the ‘shops’ are small restaurants/cafés/eating locations, all of which were very different in their look. I have included a few images to show what I mean.
Walking back towards the station, I stopped off at the same café from yesterday and enjoyed another lovely coffee but this time I tried the Lyon Praline Tart – very sweet so went well with the coffee. Here is some information from http://www.myfrenchlife.org/2014/10/13/praline-roses-lyon/
Pink pralines are unique to Lyon, yet the story behind the sweet’s rosy pink colour remains a bit of a mystery. If you ask most people why the pralines here are pink, they’ll admit that they are just as clueless as you are. A simple shrugging of shoulders and a mutter about food colouring is usually the answer. In the 18th century, a Lyonnais pastry chef was apparently inspired by the rose gardens in the Rhône region and tinted his pralines in a similar pink in his copper-mixing machine. This proved to be a hit with customers and the rose-coloured praline tart was born.
I arrived, allowing PLENTY of time for the train. I walked to the platform and while waiting I heard an announcement and then saw a number of people heading down the stairs – oh??? I looked again at the screen and saw that the train from this platform was no longer going to be my train. I looked and found the right platform and went there, still with time to spare – oh the joys of travel.
I was travelling in 2nd class for the 30 minute trip and I was most impressed with the quality of the train fitting, as you can see in the photos. A upper and lower level of seating gave a great view over the countryside as we travelled. It was well air-conditioned as well, which was great.
The train takes you to the town of Meximieux from where it is a 20 to 30 minute walk to Pérouges. The went to the tourism office in Meximieux but as it was ‘lunch’ it was closed from 12 noon until 3:00pm!! I looked around to find signs to Pérouges and found my directions (also confirmed with Apple Maps on the phone!). It was warm and the second half was quite uphill and Apple Maps decided to take me on the ‘rural’ route but I did make it – I was ‘off road’ on a cobbled walking track!
Pérouges is located atop a hill and even once within the walls it is still uphill to the very top. It is so well preserved from medieval days and there are very few signs of modern life. Cars of locals are allowed in but they are hidden when in the town. It was relatively quiet, with just two places open for lunch – one was way too expensive, but looked very nice, and the other was busy but when I looked inside, I decided “No.” I just wandered around, taking lots of pictures, and appreciating the environment.
At the back of the expensive restaurant, from a window to the kitchen, you could purchase a whole, or pieces of the Galette de Pérouges. The kitchen staff were baking a lot of them, so I tried a piece. The whole looks just like a pizza – it is a yeast-lemon pastry base with butter and sugar on top and then baked. It was sweet but flaky and rather nice – again it would go well with a coffee.
I looked at my watch and saw I had just over 20 minute to get to the train by 2:16pm, as the next rain back to Lyon was not until 4:16pm, as I did not need another two hours here. It was a race and some rather fast walking/slow running!! but I made it with one minute to spare – YAY!! I was really glad of the air-conditioned comfort on board.
Back in Lyon, I went to the train information area to confirm this was the location for my train to CDG Airport tomorrow evening – sometimes the TGV station is separate from others in some towns. I was told it was and also connecting times from the station near my hotel. It was good to know that aspect was ‘organised’, at least mentally.
Returning to the hotel, I checked the images, uploaded those chosen and worked on the Blog. I am eating tonight at the L'Institut restaurant-école Bellecour Lyon-Centre de Paul Bocuse. I found it online before departing Melbourne and had made a booking for my final night here. It is the place where I took photos the other night looking into the kitchen. The final fling before departing Lyon tomorrow evening at 7:00pm to head to my hotel at CDG Airport.
11 :15pm - Back from my dinner of excellence and a delightful walk home beside the Rhône River.
Dinner was a wonderful experience and a fitting conclusion to my visit to Lyon. The institute is a training school for waiting and restaurant management staff as well as for chefs. It has facilities on the ground floor and is attached to a 5 star hotel as part of the whole complex.
I was seated at a table near one of the kitchens but I could not see into it apart from looking in the mirror opposite! The restaurant is very elegantly decorated and the tables are well spread giving plenty of room for waiting staff. There were many waiting staff in training supervised by four suited men, Captain Peacock type men, who assisted and directed. It is a precise motion and series of movements which work well. Everyone has their job. I know those working in the kitchen have roles rather like the military and they are called a brigade BUT it ran so smoothly on the restaurant floor because of the experience of those in charge. Each person had their role and they did it very well. There was one waitress who remained at the ‘savoury food’ kitchen entrance and took the plates on huge trays to stands dotted throughout the restaurant, then a pair of waiting staff would serve the food to the respective table so everyone received their food at the same time – me, I was served juts by one person!!! It was really interesting watching the interactions and roles of those working the floor. The supervisors were very supportive and not critical of the waiting staff.
From the menu I chose:
Entrée: - Les Gambas,
Rôties au romarin comme une tarte _ne, aux saveurs du Sud, artichauts, copeaux de chorizo et parmesan.
Prawns roasted with rosemary, served on pastry served with artichokes, chorizo and parmesan cheese.
Main Course: - Le Magret
Laqué aux épices, poire pochée au vin rouge, purée pomme fruit gingembre, endive fondante rôtie, sauce sangria.
Duck breast coated in spices (different peppers) with a red wine poached pear, apple and ginger puree, roasted endive with a sangria sauce.
Cheese Course – 6 different cheese with a 'fig jam'.
Dessert: - L’Ananas Rôti
Sur un sablé amande, ganache chocolat blanc, sorbet pabana
Roasted pineapple served on an almond biscuit with white chocolate ganache and a sorbet of ‘exotic fruits’.
Café: A Cappuccino served with two delight petit-four.
Everything was wonderful to the eye and to the taste buds!! Such a gastronomic delight to enjoy. I could not fault any aspect of my night – excellent service and fabulous food. I felt their prices were very good for what I had and compared with what high-end restaurants are charging – entrée was €13, mains were €26, cheeses were €9 and desserts were €9.
So feeling well-fed and very satisfied, I walked back to the hotel and at one point heard this music, so walked to where that was happening. It was a square near the Rhône River in which a live band was performing Latin-American music and many people were doing salsa dancing – it was very festive and suited a 24C evening at 10:15pm!!!
I then crossed over and walked beside the river and looked across to see beautifully lit buildings and river cruise boats, so I took a few pics of course!! It was very pleasant out walking and I felt very safe as there were many people out and about.
Here ends my last day in Lyon, a city well worth visiting and enjoying.