I had not been in Lyon for over 25 years but this year I will lay over on my way to Provence … I have been dreaming about a REAL Quenelle de Lyon for way too long !
Many world famous chefs , 3 stars Michelin Restaurants , Paul Bocuse school …but I am not after some fancy food in a high end decor but old fashion Lyon rustic food !
First I am renting a “Velove ” ( the response to the “Velibre” in Paris ) to get around this not so big city ….plus I know I will need to burn some calories today ! To get into an appetite …nothing like going to the market : The famous covered “Halles Bocuse ”
My favorite cheese …never seen in the US : a creamy Saint Felicien
How about a cheese shaped like France !
Escargots ready to go…
Pate en croute with black truffles
Famous chicken from Bresse, Guinea fowl , pigeons …
Specialty Quenelles : with squid ink , fish or crayfish . Now I am shopping and taking some home ! I have tried to make some quenelles here in San Diego from scratch without any success and cannot wait to get my hands on these delicate “dumplings” . When you cook them in a creamy white sauce “nantua” ( with more crayfish ) they fluff like a small souffle !
The cheese stand was amazing but the charcuterie stand is not shabby either ! Do not mix saussisson sec and saussisson de Lyon: one is a dry salami , the other is fresh like a large sausage . This is what I came for too .
I guess everything is good with truffles but I will stick to the classic pistachio . Just simmer the saussisson slowly for 45mns and serve with steamed potatoes …
Bulots are some of my favorites too…a sea snail delicious with some aioli .
A few Bulots and Oursins will do it as an appetizer today . The sea urchins are from Bretagne and despite being smaller than our local San Diegan monsters , they have a very similar delicate and flowery flavor …eat French style with a good fresh baguette and sweet butter to mop the shell !
I cannot help drool just looking at the pastries …
Time for lunch ! Chez Paul …
In Lyon we do not call these Bistro or Cafe but Bouchon … it all about meat , heavy , creamy delicious rustic food !
It’s about the food but also a convivial atmosphere , sharing your table with other guests …talking to the owner . At “Chez Paul” they serve the appetizers family style …you pass around big salad bowls with head pate , beat salad , lentils salad, more cured meat and more pate ….I am pacing myself … Next is my piece de resistance : Blood sausage with mash potato and apple puree ….French blood sausages are not like any I’ve had made by German or here in the US ….they are the creamiest texture , sweet mild flavor and crunchy outside …a must try next time you are in France !
I take a bite of the saussisson de Lyon ….miss the pistachios and move to the cheese platter , then “fromage frais” a very fresh goat cheese served with fresh herbs , cannot resist having seconds of “faisselle” a fresh cottage cheese like but much more smooth and light topped with a big ladle of creme fraiche before it is desert : a large platter of Creme caramel ( custard flan in caramel sauce ) , a couple of plums cooked in red wine to help digest and I am done ! 25 Euros for the menu …I am full !
Place des Terreaux square is classified as Worl Heritage site by Unesco . It is in the center of Lyon on the Presqu’ile in between the 2 rivers : The Rhone and the Saone L’Hotel de Ville ( Lyon main city hall ) built in 1672
In the former benedictine convent is the Musee des Beaux Arts
L’eglise Saint Bonaventure
On top of the hill stand the Basilique Notre Dame de Fourviere looking more like a fortress than a cathedral . It took 24 years to built and was only finished in 1884 .
You should walk and wonder in the streets of the Vieux Lyon well known for its Renaissance architecture , but I only have one day so I am back on my bike …
Cannot be in Lyon and not stop at Francois Pralus . His famous Praluline created by his father celebrate its 60th anniversary this year . It is a “simple” brioche mixed with a lot and I mean a lot of pralines !!
Not that I am already hungry …but I step inside to buy THE famous Praluline . I am told that they are sold out but a new batch fresh from the oven is coming out in 15mns …and I should stay to wait inline …but I need to lock my bike so by the time I step out , lock my Velove …the line is out the door already and by the time I make it back inside …there are just a few Praluline left ! This is a highly coveted brioche and totally worth the fight I can tell you that now !
The brasserie Georges, an institution near the Gare Perrache ; the place you go in a hurry before to catch a train or to savor a classic choucroute garnie on a late night…I plan to come back for desert tonight . I want an Omelette Norvegienne flambee table side tonight ! So few restaurants still serve this incredible dessert …
The new Quartier de la Confluence with its hip restaurants and shops
My bike for the day with all my goodies from the market
Traditional house boat along the Saone river . This previously industrial area is being rehabilitated now so people can enjoy the river banks.
What a contrast with the old boats !
The Saone on the left , The Rhone on the right and in the middle the brand new Musee des confluences looking like a floating crystal cloud of steel and glass .
The confluence where the 2 rivers become one .
All this biking around the city all day helped me work an appetite again ! I’ve heard of this bouchon hidden in a tiny street … One last feast of creamy goodness before to get back to my Mediterranean diet of Olive oil and tomatoes tomorrow .
Advertising their “Famous Quenelle ” …this is it !
Love the quaint authentic decor !
I am sharing this meal with my cousin’s daughter Amandine and her boyfriend Cedric.
First some of the most delicious foie gras on a frisee salad .
A dream come true ! This is THE quenelle de Lyon at its perfection !
Sweet breads in a morel cream sauce , crispy and creamy on the inside
And a Baba au Rhum to top it off ! I have not forgotten about the Omelette Norvegienne but there is no way I can eat anything else right now !!! The most incredible thing is that I will digest like a charm everything I ate today …when I can have such a stomach ache eating nothing special in San Diego . I am not sure what it is but there is something about the food in France that not only taste better but process better . Tomorrow I head down to Provence by train with a cool bag full of more great Lyon food to cook at home . My Mediterranean diet will wait a few more days !