Sat 7 Dec - Lyon, France

A gastronomic day...

Lazy lazy morning, we did not move until 9am, and yep, that was really nice.

Almost full house at breakfast as it was the two of us, Francois and Martine, and Lise. Greg (Lise's fiancé) and Antoine (Lise's brother) were missing, but we had Addis, their "chat noir" lurking around.

After breakfast, Lise was off doing more wedding preparations, meeting Greg and talking to a potential DJ (she and Greg are getting married in July next year) and so we other 4 took a short walk to the famous Paul Bocuse food hall, clearly a very popular Lyon institution.

Martine needed some groceries and Di was just thrilled with the destination chosen.

Francois left us to go and get a replacement part for a recalcitrant toilet, so Hans thought it best to leave Di and Martine to do their shopping and their oohing and aahing inside the food market by themselves, while he was checking it all out at "male" pace.

Di took the camera with her and you, dear reader, can probably guess the rest...

Martine and Di did not linger long either because it was very crowded but Di still had time for some photos of the fantastic food stores, all related in some way to Paul Bocuse, the famous Lyon chef and father of Nouvelle Cuisine. Here are a few of her foodie related photos...

Martine bought a Bresse fresh chicken for our lunch.

Here the chickens come plucked but still have some feathers so you can see which type of bird they are. They also come with all internal organs and their head intact, for use in specific French recipes. Hence, it is not for people who don't want to think about the chicken being a live animal strutting around as they definitely look like chickens. Same with turkeys, ducks, goose, quail etc. Fantastic selection though.

This store specialised in Fois Gras, and also terrine and pâte specialities. Di was so tempted...

Then a store more to Hans' style - smoked salmon, caviar etc.
As a treat for everyone Di bought 6 macarons for a treat later today.
And a store that we all noticed - that huge pan of paella Valencia looked great.

Part of his time waiting for the ladies, Hans checked out this university orchestra playing classical music just inside the entrance. They played very well.

At around 11.30am, all four of us met again, with the ladies predictably having a few bags of goodies from the markets, largely the chicken, fruit and veggies for lunch, and headed home to Place du Marechal Lyautey. Lunch beckoned.

Martine was cooking up a storm. Smelled delicious in the apartment.

Hans and Di settled in to read and blog. Francois has the full Tintin collection in French and English. Di caught up on some she had never seen when she was young.

How could she have missed this one? Hergé even included a Qantas plane.

Meanwhile Hans and Francois were comparing iPads and discussing features.

Lunch was delicious but no photos as we were having a nice meal together and forgot. Three courses, with a salad to start, then Martine's roasted chicken served with ratatouille, and more cheese and the macaron treats for dessert.

Clearly we had to walk it off so after lunch we all headed out towards Fourvier, to climb the hill and see great views as the weather today was clear and perfect.

First stop was a fabulous old book shop on the island. The doorframe is very classy with actual books wired together.

Then we got to the Saône river to find...more books. Francois was in his element.

Di was lamenting that her French was not good enough for these but she thought that it was still worth a look.

As predicted the crowds in town for the fêtes des luminières were big with plenty of tourist coaches lining the shores of the rivers and their "contents" were filling up the narrow streets of the old town. We got through, but not quickly.

Onwards and upwards. A decent set of stairs helped work off some of the lunch...Di was rounding the final corner on the left. The bottom is not visible.

Then a winding path up the top section until we eventually reached the plateau where Fourvier cathedral sits.

Francois, Martine and Lise said the crowds were amazing and we "queued" for a few minutes until we got a place at the front of the overlook for viewing and pictures.

Success. As we imagined the views from the top today were fantastic. This overlooks Place Bellacour with the balloons and Ferris wheel that we saw yesterday.

The rounded roof is Opéra. Place du Marechal Lyautey, where Francois and Martine live, is the green square behind this.

The distant smoke stacks belong to a nuclear power station but if you look to the right at the same height as the smoke you could see snow on the top of Mont Blanc. Awesome.

Looking down on one of the bridges crossing the river Saône and onto the island.

Lyon is the largest urban city outside Paris and we got a good sense of size from this vantage point.

All happy with our place at the front of the plateau. As soon as we moved away, other punters were quick to come in.

From Fourvier we headed downhill and had another moment of "what have the Romans ever done for us?" amphitheater remains and it still used today for concerts, theatre and shows (not gladiator events) 2,000 years later.

The amphitheater looked like it was in good shape with some obvious patching.

Not a "selfie" and finally someone who could take a good photo of us (thanks Francois).

Hans returned the favour and took this lovely family portrait, without Antoine and Greg, but still good.

Down, down, down and in the old town we were back on the crowded streets but passed some interesting shops. This one was selling blackboards in every imaginable shape of animals, boats, chefs etc.

Francois, Martine and Lise popped in to buy one as a Christmas gift. Di liked them too but waited outside.

A busking band soon drew our attention away from shops as they sounded very good. They were also dressed like crazy Halloween characters but they could really play and we sang along to their version of "Sweet Dreams" from the "Eurythmics". Di contributed to their stash.

Home around 6pm for some herbal tea and then relaxing for a little while before pre dinner drinks in the salon just before 8pm.

Dinner was booked for 9pm at Le Theodore on Cours Franklin Roosevelt and we left home some 15 minutes before that, picking up Greg along the way who came on a tram and then had walked.

The lights on Cours Franklin Roosevelt looked good, part of the festivities.

Le Theodore was perhaps a mid sized restaurant that even at 9am this festivities night was full and we still had to wait a bit for the table to be ready.

Finally, all on board, including Di in the mirror.

Lise and Greg, the happy "to be married" couple.

Hans with the restaurant interior in the background. Lots of red...

Well, we all had a 3 courses meal and we were very full at, and therefore tired, at the end of it. Around to 11.30pm we wobbled home... and passed this crowd of people along the way. What were they queuing for? Well, to get down to the subway station... amazing.

At home, we quickly said good night to the crowd and went to bed, which obviously is not recommended on a very full tummy, but we were that knackered. And after all, it was midnight by now. Good night.


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