This little scene–of two molded plastic chairs, a little table with a pot of flowers on top–is directly across from my hotel window. When we went on our first trip to France, so many years ago, we calculated that we’d eaten outside more times than inside–a lovely habit epitomized by this promise of a meal on a teensy balcony, four floors above the street.
So, our first meal of the day is from Paul, a chain of bakery shops that has consistently high quality. Dave’s eating a whatever but it’s made of brioche-like dough, round and flat with sucre (sugar) and fresh raspberries on top. I had one also and we shared a quarter-sized baguette with large chunky crystals of sugar on top. It looked like salt, but it wasn’t.
Several corner markets later, we found some in my price range and size (small–for airline carryon). It’s called Lacque, as in lacquer, I suppose, so I can shellac my hair into place. We’re staying near the gare (train station) so we can meet Christine.
She arrives! in a flurry of fun and good cheer. We slide back to the hotel and get her checked in and drop off her luggage, then head out again. We’re standing in the Carolingan church, in the side chapel that dates from the 9th century.
We pick up lunch from a tiny artisan bakery, that also makes great desserts, like the cookies above. Lunch: two baguette sandwiches one with ham & tomato and the other with cheese and tomato. We couldn’t resist their dessets, either.
I had a molded ganache-like treat and Christine’s was a small tart, filled with pistachio-almondine and topped with raspberries. We’d taken everything up–via funicular–to Fourviere Hill for a “picque-nicque.”
We ate in the park next to this basilica. Very symmetrical, so I knew Dave would like it. Inside are beautiful mosaic murals in shades of blues and greens with gilt highlights, but the light was low so they didn’t photograph too well.
Interestingly, underneath the main basilica, was a smaller “church” dedicated to Joseph, spouse of Mary. These candles were in a side chapel. We then walked down through a switch-backed trail that meandered through gardens.
We walked down past St. Nizer church–a gothic looking structure tucked in between the city buildings. Inside was a new scene for me: a brown/beige and cream stained glass window, striking for its neutral tones.
We came home and crashed for a while–worn out from all the walking. Dinner was a Le Sud (again, I know), but it’s such a good restaurant how can you lose? Christine’s first course was a patty sandwich of potatoes with thon (tuna) in the middle, swimming in a tomatoey sauce.
I had the chicken (as did Christine). The prevailing wisdom is if you want to really see how good a chef (or a restaurant) is, order chicken. If it’s amazing, then you’ve found a good chef. This was amazing. It had a side of roasted potatoes and a thumb-sized portion of spinach.
We kept hearing some music and several people pulled out their cell phones. But when it came nearer our table, we realized it was a hand-cranked organ grinder and the waiters were singing Happy Birthday to the customer. It was funny that people kept checking their cell phones.
We struck up a conversation–or should I say, Dave and Christine struck up a conversation–with a lovely French couple. They’d traveled around California seeing all the National Parks, and here we were in their hometown–they were both born and raised in Lyon. We asked them advice on museums, more Paul Bocuse brasseries, and had a pleasant conversation. We were happy that they were friendly and willing to chat with us, as this is what really makes foreign travel so interesting–getting out of the cocoon we live and into other lives and other ways of doing things. Sign of the times: we traded email addresses afterwards, in order to send photos.
We walked home via Place Bellecour and all went to bed. A lovely day, a lovely evening.