I’m here to give Lyon more buzz. The city is the France’s second largest but doesn’t get enough love back home. The food is world renowned, the parks and rivers are plentiful, tourists are minimal and — most importantly in the sake of this contrast — the people are friendly and warm, unlike in Paris. The couple at the table next to me today struck up a lovely conversation about food in France and they even let me try their lasagna! I was in a great mood afterwards. Personally, I recommend moving here. But if you can’t make that work, at least fit the city into a 48 itinerary on your next trip.
You must try one of the city’s many Bouchons, which dish out greesy sausage, duck, pig and roast pork like heart attacks are a merely part of medical lore. For lunch, go to Rue des Marronniers, and try a full three course menu. We ate a delicious meal for 12.50 euro each. I tried the regional speciality “andouillette”, a tripe sausage stuffed with pig intestines, wine, onions, herbs, blah blah blah. I should have stopped listening at “intestines” and avoided this meal instead of stubbornly insisting on trying the Lyon special. DO order the Caviar de Courgettes, creme de parmesean and the A La Cree menu with Tartare de Poissons, Brandade, legumes, etc.
Also, try lunch or dinner in Old Lyon, an area packed with quaint streets. We ate at The Ampitheater and I had a delicious Lyon specialty, Saucisson Brioche and Tarte de Palines de Rouges.
1. Trek up to Fourvière Hill to burn off your greesy lunch. A steep climb up hidden staircases brings you to vestiges of the Roman city.
2. Visit Parc de Tete d’Or
This massive manmade park has a lake, a zoo with lions and tigers, running paths and botanical gardens. So much better than C. Park.
1. Run in the Park and along The Rhone
I was shocked by how fit French people are in Lyon. I ran with my couch surfing friend Eric (and his mile time is a minute or so faster than mine so that was a fun added challenge…). We whipped right through the park and along the river in areas I hadn’t seen before. The route was gorgeous and we even passed this group of people playing incredible African drum music along the way. Nothing like a little beat music to help keep your pace.
2. During the summer, the mezzanine of the Lyon Opera is transformed into an outdoor jazz cafe. You can go and sit outside and listen for free. So peaceful.