Thursday, March 12, 2015

Sightseeing in Lyon (if you only have 20 hours)

If you plan on doing a layover in Lyon, in our case we were there for less than a day, here is a suggested itinerary you can follow so you can get a good flavour of this beautiful gastronomical city.
My first tip is make sure you choose accommodations that is centrally located so you don't need to spend unnecessary time in transit. You can visit my post on the lovely flat we found from airBNB here. If you choose to stay in the Presqu'Île area like we did, you'll have the best of both worlds because almost everything is walkable.
We planned to be Lyon for 2 heavy meals, en route from London to Paris. We arrived late afternoon, with just enough time to explore the place and get our bearings before having dinner. You can read details of that on the link I shared above, just remember, if you're only planning to stay for a day, it's best if you don't plan to be there on a Monday.
My favourite part of Lyon is crossing the Rhone. It's just so beautiful, and if it weren't freezing, I could stand there and watch life go by for ages. 

The only thing not walkable in Lyon is Fourvière, which offers the best view of Lyon. However, this does not stop you from crossing the river, and wandering through the old part of the city until you reach Vieux Lyon.

I really went to Lyon for the Bouchons, the traditional Lyonnais Restaurants run by the same family for ages. The tricky part is that while bouchons are known for serving a hearty and affordable meal, they also make use of inexpensive ingredients because in the old days, the bouchons were located in small inns, catering to the silk workers. So you'd normally find calf or veal's head on the menu, blood sausage, a lot of tripe and offals and the like. Add in another challenge of having the menu in French, hahaha, so you really have to try to order something safe, then keep your fingers crossed for good measure.

In Lyon, the authenticity of a bouchon is serious business. Every year, there is a refreshed list of 20 or so bouchons that are certified to be Bouchon Lyonnais, however, there are so many more bouchons around the city that are not part of this list, in fact when I was doing my research on which one to visit, I got so confused because almost all the places had rave reviews, and their menus were also quite similar, so I chose 1 certified one close to our flat, then my sister and I randomly chose another one (not certified for comparison) based on the recommendation of my landlord.

The bouchons we passed come in many different forms, some look cozier than the others, while some look more formal. I wanted to try them all!!! Hahaha.
This one has the Bouchon Lyonnais Logo, so it's one of the certified ones.


We ate at Aux Trois Cochons in Rue des Marronniers for our first meal.
Then I chose Brunet for our certified Bouchon.

Back to the older side of town, it's funny how even the Supermarket looks more quaint. The other shops also look similar, so a walk through here is like stepping back in time.

The more efficient way of doing things, if you prefer structure to aimlessly walking around (which we did on the second day), is to head to the nearest Metro, then start your journey from there.

We bought a 2 hour unlimited rides ticket - which is just right for sightseeing.
If you have a longer time in Lyon and plan on doing more, there's a day ticket
also available.
Funny thing about French trains, it's shorter than the tracks, so I hate it
when it stops and you need to run to catch it.
For sightseeing purposes, take the Metro to Vieux Lyon.
From there, you just take the funiculaire. Our first stop was  Fourvière.
After our failed attempt to get ourselves here the day before, we finally made it!
As soon as you step out of the station, you'll see the
Basilique Notre Dame de Fourviere.

Beside it, you'll also see the tower visible from the river.

I don't have a panoramic camera (or an IPhone) so you're just going to have to use your imagination and connect my pictures together.
Beautiful View. Remind me of Fiesole.
Note to Self: Need to blog about that next

Can you spy Place Bellecour? Clue it has the giant wheel.
It was really cold and windy, so we were greatful for the sun.

Since we made it all the way up here, I wanted to enter the church. It was also very beautiful inside.

On the other side of the Church, theres's a museum (which we didn't enter), a souvenir store, and a restaurant with the best view.

I bet this guy has the best view of the city.

Since we had time to spare before lunch, I dragged Ady to check out the other funiculaire destination (since we still had our 2 hour pass).
The other side goes to Saint-Just, but we went down mid-way to check
out the Roman Theater Ruins in Minimes. Again, reminding me of Fiesole.

There's a square when you get out. which also has a great view.

I think this uphill climb was part of google maps
recommended 30 minute uphill climb for us.

Roman Theater Ruins
Ady and I sort of cheated.

We just crossed the road across the train station to take the pictures
and we didn't bother entering.

Over all, it was still a good sightseeing side trip if you're
already in the area.
From there, we decided we preferred to exit the train station in Vieux Lyon and explore on foot all the way back to the Presqu'Île area.
Outside Vieux Lyon station.

On the other side, is the Cathédrale Saint-Jean-Baptiste.

You can see Fourvière from here.

The front.

Totally fat-zoned Ady here. Hahaha.
Again, I wanted to check out the church inside.
I'm not sure if it's just because it's being renovated, but I liked the other
one a lot more.
Square in front of the church.

I would imagine, this is the ancestor of the modern day

Nice view of one Church from another.
Then we just started walking along the cobled streets back towards the bridge.
The Miniature Museum is something worth checking out.
Look at the details in the Money Printing Press.

They offer a free walk through - where you can see some of the displays.

Even the post cards were cool, I was tempted to buy for Fi but then if I
wrote on it and sent it, she won't get to build it, so I cheapo-d out.

We passed the same book shop we saw the night before, so this time
I bought Sofia a small book so we could both practice our French.
Even the toys store and the candy store here have more character.
This is the square we pass, that leads back to the bride.
The pathway back to the modern world.

Bye bye Lyon! I want to come back for more!!!

You can read my other post on Lyon for the Presqu'Île and Bellecour side. But one thing I absolutely had to try was the Pralus chocolates.
François Pralus is quite famous because he even has his
own Cocoa plantation and he manufactures his own chocolates.
Since his shop was very near our flat, I wanted to buy some so we could try
them, what I tried of the "noir" assortment was really good.

Interestingly, in the few minutes that we were there, a handful of people
came in and bought La Praluline, a huge bread invented by his dad.
Now, this is something I want to try for next time.

After grabbing our chocolates, we just had enough time to get our luggage, catch a cab to take us to the station to catch our train to Paris. 
From Lyon Part Dieu to Gare de Lyon

I enjoyed Lyon so much, I will definitely be back, hopefully for longer than 20 hours next time, but that was definitely a good taste of this gastronomical city. just saying.

Aux Trois Cochons
9 rue des Marronniers,
69002 Lyon, France
Mon - Thu 19:00 - 23:15
Mon - Sat 12:00 - 14:00
Fri - Sat 19:00 - 23:30

23, rue Claudia
69002 Lyon
Open Tuesday to Saturday
Lunch and Dinner

Pralus Chocolat
Boutique PRALUS - Lyon
32, rue de Brest
69002 Lyon
+33 (0)4 78 38 90 41
Monday to Friday 10h à 19h
Saturday 10 h à 19 h 30

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