Arriving in Lyon, you stumble out of the train station and eventually onto the Rhone river if you’re heading the right direction. We left Perpignan around 8am, and arrived in Lyon about noon. So of course, first thing to do is eat! We met two friends at the train station, one coming from Clermont-Ferrand, and another coming from Grenoble who stayed with us for the weekend. There were 6 of us all together. I hosted an exchange student from Lyon when I was in high school in North Carolina. We’ve still kept in touch via Facebook, and unfortunately she was out of town this weekend! But hopefully I’ll get to see her before I leave France.
To get to Old Lyon, where we wanted to eat, there are two rivers to cross…first the Rhone, and then the Saône. The view from across the Saône looking towards Old Lyon is incredible!
We had a restaurant in mind called Cafe du Soleil, but when we got there it was too expensive and busy. So we kept wandering, and finally found a Moroccan place called Le Oasis to eat that was great! I had my first lamb Tagine with olives, carrots, and artichokes. (More info on all the tagines I’ll soon be eating in a later post!)
After lunch, we walked to the old Amphitheater to see the ruins left there. It’s a climb! First lots of hilly streets, then tons of stairs, and then finally the amphitheater. Then you have to climb to the top of the amphitheater. But the view is worth it.
The Basilica of Notre Dame de Forviere is just right around the corner once you’re at the top of the theater. It’s a huge all white Basilica…but much prettier from the outside than the inside. From the top of the basilica, you can see Place Bellecoeur down in the city…which I was told was the largest square in Europe. But upon further investigation, I’m finding that’s not true. Disappointing. (Apparently its Main Market Square in Krakow.)
After all this, we went to go check in at our apartment. We rented one for the night off Housetrip.com, and split between the 6 of us, it was about the same cost of a hostel. But having your own space, with a kitchen and comfortable beds was so much nicer. The apartment was across the city back by the train station, so we took the Metro and our hour-long walk from before turned into a nice 15 minutes.
We spent the rest of the night exploring more around Old Lyon and the Hotel de Ville. The Opera House is beautiful. Two from the group went off to a Lyon v. Dijon
soccer football game, and the rest of us came back to make dinner and hang out a bit before going out. We met more friends who are Assistants in Lyon that night at a bar, and even more joined us later on. We didn’t go out to any clubs, but instead stayed around the student-y Irish pubs.
The next day we slept in and had another great lunch out before heading to the train station. We finally got to try some Lyonnaise cuisine. Kylie and I settled on the Quenelle..which I’m struggling to explain. It’s creamed fish mixed in a polenta-like form, in a cream sauce. Haha…that’s the worst description. It was kind of a mix between tofu and polenta in texture. Either way, it was so good! Served with jasmine rice and a salad. Everyone else got hamburgers, which are so different in France. The beef is raw, and they put really great things on top like goat cheese and honey.
Then it was back to the train station heading home!