Trip to Lyon
Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Last week, Nelson and I visited Lyon for 2 days. It’s the second largest city in France after Paris, located in the Rhône-Alpes region. And just a 2-hour train ride from Paris. I bought our SNCF tickets with the 12-25 card (it gives you a 25-60% discount if you’re 25 and under). Although the 12-25 card costs €50, I saved over €30 on just the Lyon trip. Definitely a good investment for travelling within France, if you’re under 25.

I’m not sure what the reason is, but I’ve noticed there are a lot of benefits for those under 26 in France, regardless of whether or not you’re a student. So travel while you’re young!

We stayed at  Hotel de la Marne, a hostel located 5 minutes from Perrache metro station. It’s €63 per night, conveniently located, but a little bit old. Not the best and not the worst hostel I’ve stayed in. Anyways, here’s what we did in Lyon.

To start, it was pouring the entire 2 days we were there.

But the rain didn't stop us from taking a walking tour around the city. We're walking across the Rhône river.

The ferris wheel at Place Bellecour, the largest clear square in Europe.

Passage Thiaffait, also called the Village of Creators. This area is home to many designers, studios, and small art galleries.

This is how the French like to park their cars.

We went to MAC Lyon, musée d'art contemporain de Lyon.

Some drawings by Marlene Dumas.

Here is an installation by Cildo Meireles, called La Bruja 1 (The Witch) which involves 6000 km of thread sprawling across 3 rooms.

Series of drawings by Alexander Schellow, called Storyboard.

Each of his drawings are made of ink dots.

One of my main destinations on this Lyon trip, was a visit to Bernachon, artisan chocolate maker.

It's a 3-generation family run business. They roast, grind, and blend the raw cocoa beans on-site which is a rare task for artisanal chocolatiers. Then, they conch and refine the chocolate which is then used to make their famous bonbons and bars.

They also make pastries too, but I didn't try them. Something for my next trip!

Christmas presents for myself! And yes, I did wait until Christmas day before opening these. I do have some self-control.

A bag of truffles and palet d'Or, their specialty. A dark chocolate ganache in dark chocolate shell decorated with gold leaf. A bag of 10 chocolates is about €10-12, sold by weight.

Their famous salted butter caramel filled chocolate bar, called the Kalouga. It puts the Caramilk bar to shame. The caramel inside the Kalouga is so smooth and flavourful, you can taste the fresh butter that it's made from. It's also got the perfect texture, not too fluid and not too chewy. Need I say, best chocolate bar I've had?

Not in the above pictures is a marron glacé (candied chestnut) Nelson had from Bernachon. After trying 7 different brands (will do a special post on this later), Bernachon wins as our favourite marron glacé maker!

At the end of a long day, we had dinner at Abel Café Comptoir, a restaurant recommended by a friend for Lyonnais food. I recommend making a reservation in advance if it’s for more than 2 of you as it was almost completely full on a Tuesday evening. And be prepared to be stuffed full. You can get a €26 or €33 3-course dinner, depending on your selections.

Here's Nelson's foie gras on fresh artichoke. The foie gras was flavourful, smooth, and light among foie gras. Pairing it with the artichoke was an excellent idea.

My salad lyonnaise. I got a generous bowl of fresh greens dressed in bacon fat, a mountain of bacon, croutons fried in bacon fat, and a perfectly cooked soft-boiled egg. This portion on my plate was just a quarter of the bowl. It was delicious, though I don't recommend it to anyone with cholesterol problems.

Here's the main, gratineed home-made quenelle, a specialty of Lyon. It's almost like a fish souffle, made with pike, baked in a cream sauce.

Mmm. Look at this giant queneelle. Normally, they are the size of your palm, in the shape of an oval dumpling.

Dessert was a chestnut sorbet with chocolate sauce. Looks boring, but the chestnut sorbet was really good.

Apple tart, nothing too interesting here.

Christmas market at Place Carnot, just a block away from our hotel and the train station, Perrache.

Chestnut puree on a fresh waffle to start the morning. And some hot spice-brewed wine not in picture.

Nelson's creamy potatoes and sausage for breakfast.

Beautiful candied fruits. I'm always tempted to buy one to try but I'm almost certain it's going to taste way too sweet and I'll regret buying it.

More pain d'epice, huge chunks of it.

We dropped by Giraudet, a take-out or dine-in quenelle and soup place. It was good for a cold, rainy day. Nothing too special here, but I do love their soup bottles.

An assortment of quenelles to choose from.

And finally, happy holidays to all you readers! As always, thanks for reading :)

One Glorious Comment
  • Jeff
    December 28, 2011
    all of that food looks soooo delicious. now i'm super bummed i couldn't make it out to paris this winter, especially since i'm turning 26 so soon. :(