Lost & Found: Lyon
My love affair with French food continued during my eating marathon in Lyon, the gastronomic capital of France.Dining in the cavernous chandeliered interior of Brasserie Georges, to the rhythms of a brassy jazz band, was like being on a glamorous Cunard liner. The Art Deco building been a restaurant and microbrewery since 1836, and it's hosted the likes of Sartre, Rodin, Zola and Hemingway (who seems to have eaten his way around a lot of Europe). On a Saturday night, the buzzing dining room was filled with singing sailors, stylish teenagers, raucous locals imbibing enormous glass cylinders of beer and families with young kids. It seemed especially popular for birthday celebrations, as our dinner was frequently interrupted by the lights dimming, the band striking up 'Happy Birthday' and 600 people singing and clapping as a waiter whipped in with the house speciality Bombe Alaska lit with sparklers. We shared a dozen rather grassy escargot, a gratinee of sweetly fragrant French onion soup with Madeira and egg (possibly the best I've ever had), a delicious chocolate praline mousse cake, a less well-executed raspberry macaroon, and for mains Jenny and I had garlicky, buttery, fiddly fried frogs legs. With a half bottle of Beaujolais, 33 euros each.
Ecailler Cellerier Chez Georges. Sunday morning brunch for the Lyonnaise seems to involve crowding with friends around oyster bars. I don't go gaga for oysters, but the huge, creamy Speciales d'Isigny really did evoke the freshness of the sea (and no metallic aftertaste). Six freshly shucked oysters and a glass of white wine only 11 euros.
Boulangerie de L'ile Barbe Jocteur. We'd been speculating on the origin of the flourescent pink tarts for a while and finally decided to try one from the pyramid selection at Jocteur. It turned out to be a very sweet, praline tart with rose sugar glazing - good to share between four, but headache-inducingly sweet for one.
Au P'tit Jardin. This brightly overflowing vegetable and fruit stall is manned by Daniel and his daughter. A large crowd lined up to buy their selection of colourful mushrooms - creamy pied de mouton, charcoal black trompettes and rich brown chanterelles. An enormous handful of each came to about 10 euros, which I had in a simple pasta with herbs from my garden.
Chocolaterie Canonica. If you haven't eaten enough chocolate on your holiday, there is a last ditch handmade chocolate shop at Geneva airport. Seven dark chocolates, all delicious, was 5.80 euros.
A cooking class at Atelier de cuisine Philippe Lechat. This Michelin-starred chef runs cooking lessons from this sleek red and silver kitchen in the market. What a great idea when you're surrounded by such inspiring, fresh produce.
Visit Notre Dame. The steep climb through the winding streets of Vieux Lyon, through the park and up to Fourviere hill, is a good way to work off the bouchon-laden calories. Soak in the pretty view of the twinkling city lights bounded by two rivers in the shadow of the large cathedral.
My Suite Appart-Hotel. I'd booked this hotel because it was close to the train station. So it is a little out of the way, but the main city centre is easily accessible by the very efficient metro or walking. It was also a bargain at 70 euros per double - the rooms each had a queen size bed, a comfortable fold out couch, kitchenette and sparkling bathroom, and an ample breakfast buffet was included.
Tip for Geneva Airport. If you exit the baggage claim, there is a small machine where you can get a free public transport ticket, valid for 80 minutes. What a great idea, especially if you've just arrived and don't have Swiss franc coins.
Le Bouchon des Carnivores: 8 Rue des Marroniers, 69002 Lyon
T: +33 4 78 42 97 69
Brasserie Georges: 30 cours de Lyon, 69002 Lyon
T: +33 4 72 56 54 54
Ecailler Cellerier Chez Georges: Les Halles de Lyon, 102, cours Lafayette
T: +33 4 78 62 36 68
Boulangerie d'lile Barbe Jocteur. Les Halles de Lyon 102, cours Lafayette (and other locations)
Chabert et Fils: 11 Rue des Marroniers, 69002 Lyon
T: +34 4 78 37 01 94
Maison Malartre: Les Halles de Lyon 102 cours Lafayette, 69003 Lyon
T: +33 4 78 62 32 26
Au P'tit Jardin: Les Halles de Lyon102 cours Lafayette, 69003 Lyon
T: +33 4 78 60 79 20
Sibilia: Les Halles de Lyon, 102, Cours Lafayette, 69003 Lyon, France
T: +33 4 78 62 36 28
Chocolaterie Canonica: Aeroport de Geneve
T: +41 22 717 76 76
Atelier de cuisine Phiippe Lechat: 102 cours Lafayette, 69003 Lyon
T: +33 6 16 99 33 39
Fondation Fourviere: 8 place de Fourviere, 69005 Lyon
T : +33 4 78 25 13 01
My Suite Appart Hotel: 111 Boulevard Vivier Merle, 69003 LYON
T: +33 4 72 84 10 40