Travel notes from the real France. Carnet de Voyage is a weekly personal travel story in France sent in by readers. If you’d like to write a story for Carnet de Voyage, head here for details on how to submit.
Greetings from Lyon, the gastronomic capital of France! As I sit in a charming boulangerie, sipping on a café noisette, I am compelled to share the culinary delights that have captivated my senses in this picturesque city. Lyon’s food scene is a symphony of flavors, a culinary crescendo that echoes through its cobbled streets and historic traboules.
Let me take you on a gastronomic journey, starting with the morning rituals that make Lyon’s breakfast a ritual worth savoring. Imagine waking up to the aroma of freshly baked croissants wafting through the air, drawing you to a local boulangerie. The golden, flaky layers of the croissant give way to a buttery interior that melts in your mouth, accompanied by the perfect espresso to kickstart your day.
As the day unfolds, I venture into Les Halles de Lyon, a bustling indoor market that is a food lover’s paradise. Stalls laden with vibrant produce, artisanal cheeses, and the freshest catch of the day create a kaleidoscope of colors. My senses are in overdrive as I sample local specialties like the saucisson sec and I indulge in a sensory overload as I pass the cheese vendors. The market is a lively spectacle, where locals and tourists alike gather to celebrate Lyon’s culinary heritage.
For lunch, I’d recommend losing yourself in the narrow streets of Vieux Lyon, the city’s historic district. Here, bouchons, traditional Lyonnais bistros, beckon with their cozy ambiance and hearty fare. Picture yourself seated at a checkered tablecloth, surrounded by the convivial chatter of locals. Order a classic quenelle de brochet, a delicate fish dumpling swimming in a creamy crayfish sauce, or relish the simplicity of a salade Lyonnaise, with crisp lardons and a perfectly poached egg.
After a leisurely lunch, take a stroll along the banks of the Rhône River and work up an appetite for the evening’s culinary exploration. Lyon’s renowned chefs have earned the city its Michelin stars, and for dinner, I recommend a visit to Paul Bocuse’s iconic L’Auberge du Pont de Collonges. The culinary maestro’s legacy lives on in every exquisitely crafted dish, from the legendary truffle soup to the succulent Bresse chicken. The dining experience is nothing short of a gastronomic pilgrimage, a homage to the culinary artistry that defines Lyon and, as a whole, France.
As the sun sets over the city, I explore the traboules—hidden passageways that wind through the heart of Lyon. These secret alleys reveal glimpses of the city’s history and offer a magical backdrop for an evening stroll. Along the way, I even discover hidden wine bars where locals gather to share stories over a glass of Côtes du Rhône perhaps. I make a menta note to return here for an apéritif!
No visit to Lyon would be complete without sampling the city’s sweet side. Indulge your sweet tooth with a visit to a traditional pâtisserie for tarte aux pralines—a decadent pastry filled with pink almond and sugar-coated pralines that add a delightful crunch.
In Lyon, each meal is a celebration, each bite a revelation. The city’s food scene is a love letter to the senses, a testament to the artistry that unfolds in its kitchens. I wish you could join me on this culinary odyssey, where every dish tells a story, and every flavor lingers like a cherished memory.
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Lead photo credit : Lyon by night © prochasson frederic / shutterstock
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