I find many secondary european cities at least as attractive as the top of mind weekend hubs London, Paris, Rome, Berlin and Barcelona.
Now, it was my turn to try out Lyon: the worlds gastronomy capital and consequently the city with the highest number of restaurants per inhabitant – but also a city that discretely has turned into a cultural hub with quite futuristic elements. Don’t miss Musée de la Confluence; fanatastic and a worthy competitor to Guggenheim in Bilbao. Plus all the cultural hotspots, tech companies and quite a few hipsters building and reshaping the former docklands, La Confluence
First and most important: the produce you get around Lyon; it’s simply the best. Starting from the North of Lyon, you will find wines such as Beaujolais and Bourgogne. The famous Bresse poultry (hens) peck grains on the fertile grounds, punctuated by lakes and ponds hosting pikes that eventually will become the famous Quenelles de Lyon.
To the east, Mont Blanc and the snow covered Alps providing mountain cheese, dried ham and trouts.
Westbound you will find the hills Lyonnais protecting the valley, providing red berries and cereals. Plus some foi gras. And to the South; more wine; Côtes du Rhône, chestnuts, apricots, peaches…
And all over the place, vegerables are grown and pigs are rooting: Lyon is the capital of charkuteries. Apart from the famous sausages Rosette och Saucisson de Lyon, you’ll find the only French sausage being christianised: Le Saucisson de Jésus. This gigant, rounded sausage is wound during drying – as babies were tied up in winds in the old days – and as Jesus may have been. That’s at least what the farmers thought, seing the ressemblance between the huge, chubby sausage (up to 400 kilos) and baby Jesus.
The sausage is at least both tasty and good.
There is also a very pleasant feminist angle to Lyon: les Mères. Those hard working, rough in the ends female chefs used to work in the castles and at noble families hôtel particuliers. When they got out of work in the late 1900’ies, those Mères opened their own restaurants, the bouchons. You will find les bouchons everywhere in Lyon, even if most are run by men nowadays. During the french food revolution, Paul Bocuse did not only create La nouvelle cuisine, but also took the lead in the kitchens.
You may however go to Café le Peintre, a family run bouchon, where the third generation of Mères still rules the casseroles: Florence Périer. Lovely. Just book a table and join all the regulars.
If you want views overlooking town, go for the rooms with view at Villa Florentine, an old monastery, or young and vibrant Okko hotel and room nr 602, with the best views.