…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!
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.
Tucking into our dinner
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
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…
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.
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!)
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”