The Gastronomical Capital of France
31.10.2008 - 31.10.2008
We were in Lyon for about two days, unfortunately, various bad experiences towards the end of the trip has made us believe that we never want to go back. I haven't decided yet...
First Impression (The lasting impression, of course)
We arrived in Lyon through the train station Part Dieu, which from the outside does not look like a train station... we quickly chose a hotel because we arrived at night and the next morning we finally went exploring. I didn't really know anything about Lyon other than that it's "the gastronomical capital of France." I thought we'd just come and eat good food and surely find something to do with ourselves. The part of Lyon that we stayed in was very industrial. The city is also HUGE. Coming from Strasbourg and Colmar we were very surprised to come into such a big, metropolitan city. Walking down these streets, I felt the same as walking down Los Angeles... hotels, mcdonalds and schools were the major sights for a while. I have to say, it lacked charm.
I really wanted to eat some traditional food, especially since I had the quiche in Colmar and the Sauerkraut in Strasbourg. As we were looking around for a restaurant... a waiter came out to greet us and practically forced us into his restaurant saying we would not leave unsatisfied. I was ready to try anything, so we sat down and for the first time in France actually had great service! In most restaurants and cafés, waiters like to leave you alone to do your own thing, which is fine, except for the fact that you normally want stuff and they just never come back! I had a wonderful Salade Lyonnaise and Cuisses de Grenouilles Persillés (Frog's Legs seasoned in Parsley). I had never seen frog's legs before, so I wasn't sure what to expect. It looked and smelled like chicken, although the texture was more toward the fish side. I highly enjoyed it and I encourage all squeamish Americans to try them because they're not threatening at all. Desert was a cute Fondant au Chocolat.
After a nice lunch we took a hike up to Vieux Lyon, which is much nicer/pleasanter than downtown. After a while, we stumbled on to these fantastic ruins. It was raining and we just had fun running up and down the steps and singing Rihanna's "Umbrella" (We even made a French version of the song, lol).
Basilique Notre-Dame de Fourvière
The Basilique was the most beautiful cathedral I've ever seen. It was peaceful and wonderful to me even though I am not one bit religious. I felt at peace with myself while I disturbed the peace with my loud camera. They had beautiful stain glass windows, statues and paintings on the walls. I thoroughtly enjoyed my visit... up until the priest kicked out the "tourists" because mass was going to begin. We actually were planning on staying through the service because we'd never heard it in French, but we felt obligated to leave. =(
By the time we got back to our hotel, it was already dark and we realized it was Halloween so we decided to go out to a club... the only problem was that we had no idea where they were! On our search for a club we bumped into various Lyonnais and I have to say that I was very disappointed with the way they reacted when we told them we were there on vacation. At least 3 times we were asked, "why Lyon?" It became obvious to us that its inhabitants have no pride! I feel sorry for the Lyonnais...
At the end of the night, we found ourselves at a club called DV1. We were having a good time, the DJ was spinning American Jams but there was something a little off... I think the tranny should have tipped me off, but it wasn't until they played YMCA that I knew for sure. We were in a gay club. LOL
The next morning we were a little tired of Lyon, it seemed unable to offer us what Paris, Strasbourg and Colmar had in the way of charm, culture and tradition. We exchanged our tickets to leave that day instead of staying another day, but that ended up being the worst decision we'd ever made. It's complicated, but in as few words as possible, this is what happened: Our train was full, the train station decided to put us on a later train that would take us through a different route (first north then south through Paris, instead of south/north), in Paris we found out there was an "exterior problem" so our train was delayed about 2 hours. Once we were finally on board we were informed that we would not be taking the fast, direct route, but actually the "classic" route with various stops and that it would take approximately 4 hours to return to Bordeaux. Along the way, an old man almost croaked so we had to stop and give him medical attention, our train needed maintenance and set us back another hour, and finally, the girl sitting in front of me had a panic attack. *sigh* It was quite an ordeal. The entire return home was about 11 hours... and we blame Lyon.