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Jun 30, 2009 05:13 AM

Can we talk about Lyon?

I keep hearing that Lyon is the culinary capital of France, but I'm not finding much discussion on these boards. I'll only be there one day, but I'd really like some ideas on great spots for lunch and dinner, and where to pick up some pastry/boulangerie early in the morning (around 7). Also any food products I should shop for while I'm there.

I looked at Nicholas LeBec, but I think I probably don't want so many stars. I'd like to eat the real Lyon rather than super-gourmet , if that makes any sense. Having said that, I'll throw in the quibble that my husband is not a huge fan of organ meat, and I know that's a bouchon staple. Myself, I live for foie gras.

I have read some on Chowhound about Les Halles...does one eat oysters in July in France?

I imagine I'll be staying in or near the "old town" district (probably Le College hotel) and traveling back and forth to Gare Part Diex. We'll be jet-lagged and carless so places easy to walk to are needed. Thanks for any advice!

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  1. Lyon is a really easy city to walk around in, as it isn't very large, and everything (or most everything) is quite close together. The Part-Dieu train station is virtually next door to Les Halles market.

    Oysters in July? some eat them, some don't. But I surely don't associate Les Halles with oysters. Sure, they have them, but there's SO much more there. For me the highlight of Les Halles is always Renee Richard's cheese stall. imho her cheeses are without peer. I also always like to stop at the Dubernet stand so I can bring home some of the best foie gras in France (that is unavailable here in US!) Dubernet also has a store in downtown Lyon, I believe in the 2eme. I"ve only been there once.

    You will find that one day is not enough in Lyon. It may be a small city, but there are so many things to see and do, and so much good food!

    If you are looking for the "real" Lyon, then Brasserie Leon de Lyon, or Cafe des Federations or La Voute (Chez Lea) would be great dining choices. all amazing food, and warm, welcoming ambiance, and all are on the Presque-Isle, in Centre-ville.

    4 Replies
    1. re: ChefJune

      I'm not having much luck finding menus and the one I found excldued prices.

      Are there web sites for menus in Paris, Lyon, and elsewhere or must I keep trying web sites in hope of lucking out?

      Also, how far ahead may one book the more casual establishments, in Paris or Lyon?

      I won't have a computer with me, so it is easier to do before I leave.


      1. re: Fine

        For most of the casual establishments in Lyon, a phone call a day or two ahead is all I've ever needed.

        1. re: ChefJune

          Do you--or others--happen to know where I may be sure to find poulet de Bresse in Lyon?


          1. re: Fine

            Do you mean an actual (dead) chicken, or a dish prepared using it?

            If the latter, the regional speciality is 'chicken cooked in a bladder', it normally comes with a cream sauce with the option of morels. Georges Blanc is the famous bresse chicken chef, and you can find the dish at his brasserie in Lyon. However, be aware that bresse chicken is expensive, and morels even more so.

    2. There are two or three small shellfish restaurants in Les Halles. I don't kow what the oyster selection will be in July, but they'll have plenty of other choices. For me, grabbing at stool at the bar and downing a half dozen oysters and a glass of Chablis is an essential part of doing Les Halles on Sunday morning.


      1. I have to agree that I find it strange that there isn't more about Lyon and it's restaurants/culinary history on the web in English. I went earlier this year for a couple of days after skiing, and loved it.
        Definitely need to book a couple of days ahead if you want to eat anywhere half decent at the weekend. As we went there on a complete whim we found getting into restaurants absurdly difficult.
        Lyon lacks boutique hotels. The two in Vieux Lyon are really not worth the price. If I was staying in the city again I'd go for the Sofitel Bellecour.
        Well worth pootling down to Rue Merciere as there are a number of good bouchons there. You won't find it difficult to stay away from offal in any of these establisments.
        We enjoyed our meal at Auberge Rabelais, Rue Saint-Jean. I wouldn't go to Brasserie Georges unless there are a lot of you as it's a bit overwhelming and raucous.
        There is a market along the river at Quai St-Antoine Tues through Sun which is perfect for picking up breakfast.
        Check out my blog for a rundown of Lyon for 48 hours

        3 Replies
        1. re: causticcandy

          Somewhere between a boutique and bohemian hotel is the Bayard: located on Place Bellecour. And while the tourist office will provide you with a current list of bonafied bouchon restaurants, we have had some great evenings at Daniel et Denise For those who know the reference, this is a sister restaurant of the Bistrot du Paradou in Provence.

          1. re: mangeur

            <this is a sister restaurant of the Bistrot du Paradou in Provence.> Curious what makes it so. AFAIK, Bistro du Paradou is a small family run restaurant in Paradou. Are the owners of D&D relatives of that family?

            1. re: mangeur

              Thanks Mangeur, rooms look very sweet, and super cheap x