Wandering along the cobbled streets of Vieux Lyon, or riding the funicular to the peak of Fourvière Hill, it’s easy to forget that real life exists outside of this district in the south of France. Beautifully picturesque, it feels as if you’ve stumbled upon the love child of Italy’s Florence and the fictional town of Duloc (yes, from Shrek). I spent just two days exploring Lyon last week, visiting a friend on her Erasmus year abroad, and fell in love with this fairytale land.
Admittedly, one of the main reasons for my enthusiasm towards this city is a four-letter word, beginning with ‘f’ and ending with ‘d’…Lyon is famous for its pink pralines and it isn’t hard to see – or taste – why. In the space of two days I stuffed my face with six variations of the almond: its raw form (well, as ‘raw’ as a pink, sugar-coated nut can be), praline pate, praline tart, praline brioche, praline muffin, and praline ice cream. Whilst each variation was exquisite, I have to commemorate Le Comptoir de Mathilde for its pate.
My friend, and personal tour guide, also took us to some of Lyon’s best bars and we weren’t disappointed. If you ever swing by, I’d definitely recommend popping into Bar Berliner for a kind of weird, but very cool, experience. For instance, we walked in, ordered our beers, and were directed downstairs into what looked like the living room of my previous student house, where a group of people were watching The Big Lebowski on a television screen. Like I said, kind of weird, but very cool. In terms of restaurants, my absolute favourite had to be La Menthe. The service was impeccable, the food was delicious (there were also a number of vegetarian options – the carrot and green olive cake starter was to die for!), and we were even given a post-dinner drink on the house. 10/10!
Another place to check out is Parc de la Tête d’Or. After a day of non-stop walking and sightseeing (The Basilica of Notre-Dame de Fourvière √ The Ancient Theatre of Fourvière √ The Church of Saint-Bruno des Chartreux √), relaxing in this beautiful park was the perfect remedy before flying home. We took a picnic, rented a pedalo, and sunbathed until we slightly resembled lobsters. The park even has its own open-air zoo which attracted huge crowds all day. I’m not sure I completely agree with the premise of zoos, but nevertheless we had to walk on through the reach the lake, catching glimpses of giraffe, zebras, and monkeys as we did.