Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Living like a local at Jocelyn's flat in Lyon

Whenever I plan a trip, I always try to balance visiting places I really love, so I can just literally walk around and sit in a cafe if I want to (which is why I keep coming back to Paris), and I also like mixing in a new place I'd like to discover. In our last trip, that place is Lyon.

I've always been curious about Lyon, since it's the gastronomic capital of France. Aside from it having the largest number of Michelin Stars second to Paris (which isn't really always friendly on the wallet), Lyon is also famous for their bouchons, Lyon's traditional restaurants, normally small and cozy that has been run by the same family for ages, with limited menus and affordable pricing, I couldn't wait to go to Lyon to try them out.

I convinced Ady, that Lyon is a totally foodie place to visit, how could we go wrong. We originally planned to split our week between London and Paris - but I found an economical way to include Lyon in the picture without a substantial increase in our travelling costs. We just flew from London Luton to Lyon (cost neutral vs. trip to Paris), then we got tickets to take the train from Lyon to Paris at just 15 Euros per person for a 2-hour ride.

For our accommodations, we were lucky to find a really nice studio apartment in the Presqu'Île area, which is the heart of the city (for around 60Euros - which on average is cheaper than similar accommodations in Paris).

I love it every time I find a winner on AirBNB, and since Lyon is so much smaller that Paris, it felt like we could walk literally everywhere from our flat. 
Our flat was on Rue de la Poulaillerie, and as you can
see from the photo, it's right in the middle of the bustling city.
Our landmark was the giant clock on the other side
of the street.
The entrance to our flat was the door on the bottom right.

I think Jocelyn, our landlord (he's a guy so you just pronounce his name in the French way) made really good use of the space. The apartment, while small, was very well laid out and comfortable. The decor was done simply, but it came out looking very nice with a natural feel. The best part is that while the flat was only on the first floor, there is a lift so you won't have a hard time if you're travelling with luggage like we do.
When you enter the flat, you'll have a couch to your left, a small table in the
corner, and a divider that leads to the "bedroom".
Directly in front of the door, is the kitchen.
On the other side is the bed.
Then there are separate doors for the toilet and the shower.
I really love the small things like books on Lyon, the Nespresso machine,
a mirror that does not fog and even the side tables or ears on the bed are
well thought out.
This is the kitchen view from the other side of the room.
And this is the view of the entrance to the flat from the bed.
Jocelyn was so nice, he even gave us recommendations
of where to eat and helped us make reservations.
Jocelyn's most important eating tip - do not go to restaurants on  Rue Mercière, a busy street close to the apartment, if I understood my French correctly, I think the places here are the tourist traps. 
He told us to go to Rue des Marronniers a street
lined with Bouchons in the Bellecour area for good food.
The flat is a few minutes away from the Cordeliers Metro.

It's right next to the lovely old meets new building in Lyon,
also an area where the shops are concentrated.
I even found an HSBC nearby so I was finally able to deposit some Euros
in my French bank account for the first time since I lived in Paris.
The thing that surprised me about Lyon is that I came to eat, but when we were walking around trying to get our bearings, we saw how beautiful the place was, not to mention so much less busy that Paris.
From the Presqu'Île area, you just need to cross the Rhone - to get transported
back in time (or the much older part of the city).
One of the sightseeing articles I read on Lyon told us to make our way to
Fourvière, for a great view of the city. I assumed that's the Church on top,
and google maps told us it was just a 30 minute walk away.
The other side of the bridge was more quiet, but not any less beautiful.
After crossing the bridge, we just started meandering
around the old part of town.
Until we realized that getting to Fourvière was a 30 minute uphill climb so
we decided to call it quits for the day.
The Rhone was also beautiful at night.
With Fourvière in the background, see you tomorrow instead.

We decided to explore the Presqu'Île area instead and find a bouchon we wanted to eat in for dinner. Just a tip, a lot of bouchons are closed on Mondays, so if you go on a Monday like we did, your options will just be more limited.
We even entered Tati, a department store I've seen before in the dodgy part
of Paris, but in Lyon it looked like a nice Department Store in the city center.
I would love to have these things in my (French) home.
An easy walk from the flat is the Bellecour area, and streets are filled with
shops along the way.
We decided to walk to Rue des Marronniers for dinner.
The bouchon I wanted to try was full, so we randomly just chose another one.
We had a really great first meal at Aux Trois Cochons! A steal for a 3
course meal at 18 Euros! and this wasn't even a certified bouchon!
More on that on a separate post.
The next day, I just went down to find us some breakfast. Paul was just on the
corner, but the fromagerie beside it doesn't open until late, so I had to settle
for Casino.
Totally forgot about bringing my own eco-tote, so I look
like a bag lady with breakfast sticking out of my coat pockets.

I love preparing breakfast in France. Where else can I serve freshly baked croissants and pain au chocolat with good cheese.
The table at the flat may look small but it was very
Croissant for me, Pain au Chocolat for Ady.
I even had Galettes Bretonnes with a second cup of coffee for dessert.
This is my favorite nook in the apartment.
Fully recharged and off to go sightseeing.
This time for real, and not attempting to walk uphill.
For lunch, we tried one of the certified bouchons this time around.
It was also good, and I chose it because it was just 2 blocks from the flat.
We just came back for our luggage after lunch, and of course, I had to leave
my land lord a thank you note.

I really enjoyed our stay in Lyon, and I think we didn't even scratch the surface. This is definitely one of the places I want to come back to, and I'd like to stay at Jocelyn's flat again. just saying.

You can check out Jocelyn's flat in Lyon on AirBNB here

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