Flâner-ing* in Lyon

…but before I go there, I need to apologise to any faithful readers that I may have… I am finding it a bit tricky to juggle two blogs and a near full-time job at the moment. I tend to manage to post more on my other blog because it has a focus: Food. This one is less defined and so, if I can’t think of a topic to write about I shrug my shoulders and say to myself “When I can think of somehing interesting…” and before I know it, over three weeks have passed and I’ve written nothing!

My telephone calls to my mum are similar. “Well…I’ve been working a lot…er, Mr D’s working a lot too…yes, it’s going well…the weather’s been fine…or rainy….the cats? Fine….”

We love it here for the pace of life, but it doesn’t always run to anything interesting…Although, Angus, over at Bob and Sophie’s French Adventure manages to make the mundane into the interesting, with his take on life in La France Profonde – so it is possible!

Anyway, a few weeks ago we did do something different! It was my mum’s 85th birthday, so my sister, J, my brother M, and mum flew to Lyon for the weekend, and we met them there. I had been given the task of finding restaurants for the evening meals. I found two, a traditional bouchon and a Paul Bocuse brasserie (equivalent of a Raymond Blanc brasserie in the UK). Unfortunately they were both booked up! Change of plan necessary!

I picked Mr D up at his place of work, which is halfway towards Lyon, and we arrived at the hotel about 6 pm, as I had warned M in a text. Which he hadn’t received. So when we arrived and found out where everyone’s rooms were, we knocked on the doors – and woke them from their naps! Oops, sorry guys! Finally we managed to convene at 7.15 to go to catch the trolley bus to the first restaurant, in Vieux Lyon, called Notre Maison

 

(People in a hurry are not welcome in this establishment!)

It was a friendly place, and we were made to feel very welcome (We weren’t in a hurry!) . It quickly filled up too, with all tables occupied by about 8.30 – the sign of a good restaurant!

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We looked at the menu and I started to panic. It was very traditional Lyonnaise fare…which includes such things as …tripe(both pan fried and cooked with onions)…andouillettes…There was quite some humming and erring, as there were several things that sounded rather too on-the-edge, but finally we settled on either Rosette de Lyon or Gateau de foie de volailles (basically “chicken liver cake” – it was actually delicious, served warm with a tomato/onion sauce) for starter. Then Mum and I chose braised beef cheek (which was cooked with orange juice. The beef was so tender it fell apart, although the sauce was a little sweet), Mr D had boudin noir (black pudding) cooked with apples, J chose Lyonnaise sausage cooked with lentils and M had belly pork. The dessert was a disappointment – the Tarte au Praline being so tooth-achingly sweet I couldn’t finish it – but generally we ate well.

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Tucking into our dinner

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A candle in a golf ball (!) and a free digestif for the Birthday Girl!

On Saturday, we took the trolley bus and funicular up to Fourvieres, the basilica overlooking the city. It was a lovely warm day and we had a good view of the city and beyond

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We wtrolled around the basilica and the crypt; it is rather magnificent, but I do feel it is amazingly over the top. I preferred the (relative) quietness and simplicity of the crypt, but the mosaics in the main church are amazing. I didn’t take any photos, but here is Wikipedia’s photo:

We wanted to find a café, but there didn’t appear to be any but as we were heading for the Roman amphitheatre we went there, hoping for a refreshment room. Surprisingly there was nothing, and mum was definitely flagging, so slowly we wended our way down to Vieux Lyon where we found a restaurant/café. We’d planned on just having a drink but as it was nearing noon, (and as the waiter was very definite that it was now lunch time and they weren’t just serving drinks!) we decide to have lunch…quenelles de volaille, foie gras, smoked salmon salad, Salade Lyonnaise…beer and wine…Feeling refreshed we headed off for a boat trip along the two rivers that surround the city Presqu’Isle

After an hour’s gentle cruising (and, for M, some gentle snoozing!) we explored some of the Traboules – “secret” passages in Vieux Lyon that link different streets and lead to amazing entrances and stairways to flats…The link gives more information

A siesta was becoming necessary – I know I have a tendancy to forget that mum is getting on, and she won’t say if she’s getting tired, so I suspect she was really knackered by then! – so we headed back to the hotel. As the second choice Paul Bocuse brasserie was some distance from the Hotel, we ordered a taxi to take us there. The taxi driver was very chatty and enjoyed practising her English on us!

The restaurant was NOT all decked out for Christmas like this!

M was pleased to discover that the serviettes had a button hole so one could attach them to your front to save spillages…

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and we chose from the Menu du Jour. It was delicious, but do you know…I can’t remember what we had! J & M had saucisson en brioche, and I think the rest of us had a salad. We all chose the same main course but what it was…And dessert? Nope! I can’t remember.

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Because the meal had been so good, we decided to reserve at another of the Paul Bocuse brasseries the following lunchtime – the restaurant kindly did it for us. The evening was delightfully warm, so we strolled up to La Place de l’Opera enjoying the lively crowds all around us. Then back to the hotel to bed

On Sunday there was an arts-and-crafts market to visit. We admired  (and not admired!) the artist’s work – lots of tempting earrings! – and enjoyed a leisurely cup of coffee on the banks of the Saone. The view up to the Basilica was beautiful (although my photography is not!)

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Then a walk through the Sunday-quiet main shopping street to the restaurant.

This is the Paul Bocuse that we usually go to – very convenient, and we know that there are vegetarian options, so we can safely take our veggie friends there. Again, great food…I can’t remember what starter I had, but we all had delicious lamb, with new potatoes and spring vegetables. Mum had a Rhum Baba for dessert (we were left with the rum bottle! ) and the rest of us had strawberry tart.

Time to get the trolley bus out to the Parc Tete d’Or

to admire the roses and to sit in the sunshine…Then we left J, M and mum to go back to the Hotel to pick up their bags and go to the airport, while we drove home. Thoroughly full of delicious food and happy to have been able to wish mum well for her birthday.

It’s a big year in our family for birthdays…Mum’s 85th, J’s 60th, my 55th and my niece’s 30th. Happy Birthday to us all!!

* Flâner is the French verb meaning “to stroll” – we certainly did a lot of that!

Flâner-ing is my Franglais version of “strolling”

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Another Bank Holiday!

Last Thursday was a Bank Holiday and so is today!

I went a bit mad in the market and bought lots of plants for the balcony and garden…plus a rose in Lidl (4€99). I’ve planted up the pots and planters on the balcont

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Here is a photo of the corner of the balcony, take, from my study window. There is an empty planter and an empty pot – except for soil, that is!) because the cats like to sit on those once the sun has warmed it up a little! Other seemingly empty planters have wildflower/grass seeds in, but are protected by pigeon spikes, to stop cats from lying in them! When I can be bothered I’ll take some better photos of my gardening efforts.

 

I have spent some time finishing another piece of Zentangle Inspired Art – this is either a gift for my sister or for a friend.  I rather like this sunflower:

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I do so enjoy zentangling! Once I start a piece I find it difficult to put it down!

Mr D has gone out for a cycle ride and for the rest of the afternoon I am going to go and visit a friend & go out with her and Gucci the dog for a walk, and, when I come back, I’m going to start a “Friendship” cake from a mixture that one of my students gave me. The idea is that one uses this mixture to start off a bowl of cake mix that expands, giving enough for a cake plus 3 jars of mix that you give to friends to start their own “Friendship” cake. Didier also gave me a chunk of the cake itself which is delicious – so I’ll be very happy to make it…

I hope that your Thursday has been a good one, whether or not it’s a bank holiday for you!

Less is More #170: Colour Challenge

I haven’t taken part in the Less is More challenge for many weeks, but I often have a look to see what the challenge is…

Next week is my mum’s 85th Birthday, and I wanted to make a card that included zentangle inspired art – which is my current obsession!

In 1982 Mum and Dad moved into a newly converted Tithebarn development, and there was a piece in the local paper about how “Barney” the Barn Owl had been rehomed as part of the development. As a joke, we started buying owls for mum to “collect” (I don’t think she ever decided to collect owls…it was decided for her!) To be honest, I think she is more than a little fed up with owls now, particularly as there was a time when everything that people bought her had some kind of owl attached, but from time to time the owl theme is resurrected.

Like now, for example:

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I zentangled the owl, and then made the card…which happily fits the LiM challenge which is “

Three Shades of One Colour
There is the three shades of green on the card: the backing paper, the light green ribbon and the darker green ribbon. If I’m honest I’m not sure that this isn’t “less enough” for LiM – but I wanted to show it off as I’m really rather proud of it!
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Good memories of our time in Liverpool

I do feel guilty – I haven’t posted here for quite a while. I manage to post once a week (sometimes twice, but ot often) over at Fat Dormouse but it seems to take a big effort to post over here too! I’m sorry to my faithful followers.

Life here is pootling on – Mr D has settled into his job, and is, all-in-all, enjoying it. I think it took him a little while to get into the rhythm of work – it didn’t help that we had a week in the UK. Or maybe it did help, as it gave him a pause to consider how to tackle the things that were concerning him.

We had a lovely time, but there was rather too much driving to be relaxing.

Wednesday: drive through France; Friday: drive from Canterbury to Liverpool; Sunday: drive 2 hours there & 2 hours back to meet up with my family; Monday: drive from Liverpool to Canterbury; Wednesday: drive through France.

Yes, we do share the driving, but Mr D still does the bulk of it.

The Elbow concert – the main reason we went – was great. We spent a nice afternoon in Liverpool. We went to the Museum of Liverpool, down at the Pier Head

We spent about three hours there, but only saw the top floor! We will definitely be back another time. The Museu closed at five o’clock – which is something that we can’t quite get used to. In France most museums/shops etc are open till at least 6 o’clock, but usually 7.00. We wandered over to the Albert Dock, and luckily the Tate Liverpool was open for another hour!

We had a look at the exhibits there until about 6.00 and then headed around the Albert Dock to find somewhere to eat. We happened upon a wine bar where we had a large glass of red and a couple of plates to share: mezze and bread and cheese. Mr FD had a slab of Rocky Road cake while I had a coffee. Then a short stroll across to the Echo Arena for an excellent concert. A very happy pair we were!

Last time we went to an Elbow concert (read about it here) I sent the band a Best Wishes card – and got a mention! So I sent another, pictured below.

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However, no mention this time – but I guess the Echo Arena is a different kettle of fish to the Bataclan Club in Paris!

Here is a picture of me and mum out for a walk near her house.

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Now we are back home. Work is beginning to pick up for me – I’m busy almost every day, and a lot of that is teaching! I start more face-to-face in June…on my one day off. Dammit! I’ll have to start planning at the weekends again!

 

We’re meeting up with my sister,my brother & my mum in Lyon next weekend to celebrate mum’s 85th birthday…I have to book a couple of restaurants and think about what we’re going to be doing. I’m considering a boat tour on the river

and possibly a walking tour as well, but will need to check if that’s okay with mum.

 

Anyway – it’s the 6th Fete de Cheveaux here in St Just today, being organised by friends of ours. I’m going to wander along and show my support – especially as the weather is a bit grim!