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Only Lyon

by Helen Wed Oct 1st, 2008 at 10:06:50 AM EST

As most of you know, just before the Paris meetup I had the genuine pleasure of spending a day wandering around the sights of Lyon, before then being wined and dined on local fare as the guest of our very own Melancthon.

Lyon is one of the great cultural and historical melting pots. In ancient times there were only two commerical trade routes between the Mediterranean civilisations and and the Baltic countries. These were either the western route up the Rhone through Lyon to the Seine or the Rhine or to the east through the Bosphorus, Black Sea and up the Dnepr river; the "Viking" highway. So Lyon has been on a major trade route since the dawn of time.

In roman times it was named Lugdonum and, being the nearest point ot access to all three main Gallic kingdoms of France (Gallia in tres partes divisa est - opening line of Caeser's gallic wars), was effectively the capital of Roman France.

The first picture is of the roman amphitheatre, situated in the Roman town on the west bank of the Saone overlooking modern Lyon.

the next picture is of the much smaller gallish circus on the other side of the river.

Lyon was ruled by the church for a considerable period and there are some fine cathedrals. This is a view of both Cathedral St Jean (lower) and Basilisque Notre-Dame de Fouvriere on the hill above.

And this is the view looking the other way (not quite as impressive).

These are a couple of other views of the Basilisque. Up close...

...and from the other side of the river looking like something out of a Disney cartoon

this is just one of the set of stairs to get from Cathedral to Basilisque, pant ...pant... when I got to the top I found out there was a funicular railway. Fortunately it was closed else I might have said something profane.

however the views from the Basilisque are pretty spectacular

The old town, which dates from the 11th century, below the cathedral is full of lovely narrow streets and is very much a tourist destination.

One of the nice things about Lyon is that there is lots of quirky humour in public spaces. This stone dog on a balcony (thanks to ceebs for helping me rotate image)

Or this straw pig in a restaurant

and this entrance to a bookshop

but best of all the paintings on blank walls.

Apparently all of the scenes and people in this montage are famous people and places from Lyonnais history, around the corner it's all roman and Gallish figures.

but finally I had to walk down the hill.....

...to the square to meet Melancthon....

...and then proceed to a fine restaurant specialising in local Lyonnais cuisine. I passed on the lamb's brains, managed to eat the tripe in mustard but let's just draw a veil of silence over some of the other stuff which really takes the "eat everything but the oink" principle beyond a point I didn't know it went. But I admit to being fascinated by it. And my pikelet in batter was as excellent as expected.

Great company, great food, great city...and fine wine. All ETers should visit and let M. show off his lovely home town. It's a great day out.

Excelent pics

To rotate the one, go to your album in photobucket, and click edit above the picture. this will bring up a control bar with rotatae buttons. click one to get it pointing in the correct direction, then press the replace the original button, and the rotated version will take its place in the diary.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.

by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed Oct 1st, 2008 at 10:40:16 AM EST
thank you

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed Oct 1st, 2008 at 10:57:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Great pics. Thanks for the diary.
by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Wed Oct 1st, 2008 at 11:56:16 AM EST
Helen, your pictures are getting better and better. :-) Thanks for another lovely travel diary.
by Fran on Wed Oct 1st, 2008 at 12:45:08 PM EST
The first time I went to Lyon when I was 15, I did not realize what a beautiful and pleasant city it was.  Last summer I had a chance to visit my aunt and uncle there a couple of days, and it was a revelation!

Thanks for evoking the memories.

Truth unfolds in time through a communal process.

by marco on Wed Oct 1st, 2008 at 01:01:30 PM EST
I am insanely jealous you were able to visit THE center of French cuisine.  

What wine was served with the pikelet?  I would have selected something in the white burgundy offerings, playing it safe.  The fume blanc grape would have been too dry, chenin blanc too sweet.  (I note what passes for "chenin blanc" in the US is an travesty, an plague, a pox upon the tongue - too much sugar added during fermentation; French wines using the chenin blanc grape - sold here under the label 'Vouvray' - are actually drinkable, even a delight.)  In Chicago I once had fresh caught trout in butter sauce: butter, tarragon, celery, a dab of celery salt, pepper, a touch of allspice (!), and shallots, and my companion ordered a very light red - can't recall the vintner - that was a perfect.

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Wed Oct 1st, 2008 at 01:48:50 PM EST
I have been kicking myself that I didn't take photos of the food.

The wine we drank was the house red. As Melancthon said "In lyon, competition is so intense that any restaurant that doesn't serve a very good wine as their house is going to go out of business."

Further details will have to be sourced from him I'm afraid.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed Oct 1st, 2008 at 02:42:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Red?  Then a Beaujolais, most likely.

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
by ATinNM on Wed Oct 1st, 2008 at 04:33:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Incredible pics, Helen.I enjoyed them very much.
You should do more posting in the Friday Photo blog--you have a good eye.
I have a file of photos from Lyon, with several that are so similar to yours that you'd be amazed, but --I like yours better.
Here's a couple.

Recognise this? Same street, I think.

Lovely bridge. Lovely city.
The Dept. of Tourism will give you a map of all the murals in lyon, and it's an incredible tour--de force--of art. Needs a car, though--
For me, Lyon is a treasure, not only because of the art and the food, but because I can ride the metro, as well as the busses.

Capitalism searches out the darkest corners of human potential, and mainlines them.

by geezer in Paris (risico at wanadoo(flypoop)fr) on Thu Oct 2nd, 2008 at 04:34:29 AM EST
Yes, I recognise that view. It's nice to be reminded.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Oct 2nd, 2008 at 01:11:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
In fact, I've just realised I had lunch in that restaurant on the right had side.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Oct 2nd, 2008 at 01:13:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
All looks great...and not a mention of beer!
Glad you had a good time and sorry I couldn't have been there.  The next meet-up is in Lyon?

Vote McCain for war without gain
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Oct 2nd, 2008 at 03:25:07 PM EST
Beer-wise my complaint about Lyon is similar to that of paris. You can get any number of belgian beers, but french beers...? no chance. You have to go to Lille for that.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Oct 2nd, 2008 at 05:09:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Another perfect tour in a diary, Helen!  It´s really just right to wish a week escapade. Thank you.

Our knowledge has surpassed our wisdom. -Charu Saxena.
by metavision on Tue Oct 14th, 2008 at 08:12:46 AM EST

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