22.08.2010 - 22.08.2010 32 °C
This is our only full day in Lyon.
Got up around 8 am. Felt groggy and almost like I was hungover. More likely just tired and probably dehydrated. Lack of finding bathrooms sometimes makes you drink less water.
Got dressed and took elevator down to buffet breakfast which cost 9€ each. As it was buffet there was a much greater selection including cheeses, camembert in individual triangle packages, emmental, babybel and a soft spreadable cheese.
Real whole fresh fruit along with variety of breads and pastries, cereal, yogurt, hard boiled eggs, ham and salami, toast, jam, and my favorite, nutella.
Walked to the tram and took it to the tourism office where got some information. We hope to do a dinner and boat cruise tonight. Margy tried without success to get a hold of someone there. No answer and no way to leave a message. Obviously they are closed till later today when a message said to call back around 7 pm.
On the grounds of the tourism information office is a great huge sculpture of the words "Only Lyon" with a large red lion. Many people were getting their pictures taken with it, me included.
Lyon is the third largest city in France and is in the Rhone Valley. There are two rivers here, the Rhône and the Saône. Lyon is a leader in publishing and banking. Nancy, they have the musée de l’imprimerie de Lyon which is one of the most important printing museums in Europe.
It is also one of the world’s silk capitals and the centre of silk manufacturing in Europe. Lyon is also home to some of the best restaurants in the country and has the best Bresse poultry in France. I had this type of poultry yesterday at Brasserie Georges for dinner.
We then got back on the tram, changed to the metro and took a few different lines and also took the funicular to get to the Basilica of Notre Dame de Fourvière located on Fourvière hill. Arrived around 11:30 am. Incredible views of the city of Lyon from here. This is by far the most beautiful church we have seen as the architecture was breathtaking. No pictures allowed inside the Basilica. (By the way I needed to know what “basilica” meant. It is “basilique” in French. Here is the main definition that I found: “privileged Roman Catholic church: a Roman Catholic church or cathedral given ceremonial privileges by the Pope”.
It was designed by Pierre Bossan and built between 1872 and 1896; the architecture is Romaneque and Byzantine. Beautiful coloured mosaics are everywhere in the basilica’s interior. There is a gold statue of the Virgin Mary on the top of the belfry. The doors to the entrance of the basilica are incredible works of art. See the picture.
“A funicular, also known as a funicular railway, incline, inclined railway, inclined plane, or cliff railway, is a cable railway in which a cable attached to a pair of tram-like vehicles on rails moves them up and down a steep slope; the ascending and descending vehicles counterbalance each other. The word is from the Latin funiculus, a diminutive of funis, "rope (from Wikipedia).
There was also a museum of religious artwork and we did not go in there. On the wall outside the museum we were informed that there are 1.5 million visitors annually and that this sanctuary and tourist site is one of the busyiest in France. The usual gift store with a very impressive selection of every type of Catholic crosses, rosaries, crucifixes, pendants, figurines, etc. The selection was endless.
I didn't go to the crypt as it was very hard for me to go into the one at the Notre Dame de la Guarda in Marseille, Margy did and found it impressive and quite different than other one. There are concerts held in this crypt.
I did go into the chapel where there was a sign asking that you be silent. It was very calming there and I cried a bit. The peace and tranquillity was most welcome. I was grateful to be alive and in France on this trip.
Walked around in the area and went to a park where we sat on a bench for a while. Here we ate the sandwiches that we had made from our buffet breakfast to take with us for lunch. It was now shortly before 1 pm. Don't know exact temperature right now but it feels like mid 30's. I kept dozing off after my lunch and slept upright for about 15 or 20 minutes.
Went back down by furnicular and off to the metro and took several transfers to get us to Croix Russe.
As soon as we arrived we headed to the Bull Cafe and ordered two beers. A pleasant respite on a very hot and humid day. In the shade of course and it was a nice quiet place. The Bull Cafe’s toilet can be found outside the restaurant and through another door from the outside. There is a step stool to reach the toilet. Not just short people need it as the toilet is high up.
We then we walked around lots for about an hour. We walked for blocks on end and often times did not see any people. There would be a few vehicles and almost all the stores were closed for the day or for the yearly vacation.
We passed a few shops with great signs; one in the window and the other above the bar. See pictures.
We got back on the metro to go to see a mural and then got back on metro to go back to Croix Russe to see a few things there. We went to see the traboule in Croix-Russe which means russet cross. This area was heavily marked by the silk industry.
Traboules are passageways that are generally associated with Lyon but are in some other French cities. Here they were used mostly by silk manufacturers to transport their goods. Traboules were also utilized during poor weather and the war. There were a few books on the traboules available for purchase at the tourist office. They are thought to have first been built in the 4th century.
Half an hour later we were maxed out and tired. At 4:45 we got back on the metro C line then transferred to A to get back to our hotel for a much needed rest.
After showers to cool off, we had a rest. I fell asleep and probably slept for 1 ½ hours. I was beat. Woke up feeling disoriented and back was aching worse now. Overdid it hanging bags on me like a pack horse yesterday. Downside of shopping I guess.
Left our hotel around 8 pm to go to dinner. Back to Brasserie Georges as this was where we had talked about going to tonite. No chance or wish to even follow up with the boat cruise which would have been lovely but it meant a late night as the cruise started at 8:30 pm and was for 2 and ¾ hours.
At the Brasserie we were seated inside, as by this time there were no tables available outside. They were not filled but obviously reserved. You dine very late in France. We still saw a lot of people arriving at the restaurant after 9 pm for dinner. As much as I have really enjoyed the later dining because of the nice lingering meals I do look forward to getting back to dinner at 6 pm and not staying up till midnight and later because I am still digesting.
We passed on appetizers but did order a bottle of mineral water called Badoit and has been around since 1778. I also had an artisan apple juice that tasted like applesauce. It was very good.
For dinner I had my first Steak Tartare. It came with a green salad and french fries. My steak tartare was prepared at the table and was really flavourful and I enjoyed it a lot. We enjoyed watching our server as he mixed the raw onions, seasonings, Dijon mustard, salt and pepper, Tabasco, Worcestershire sauce, raw egg and finely chopped beef. Will be uploading video on this shortly. I also cannot get over the price as it was just under 16€ and a generous portion as well. Margy had the Georges salad which she enjoyed.
For dessert Margy had vanilla ice cream and a sort of berry compote. I had a chocolate mousse with lemon sorbet inside it. Very delicious and quite the work of art as there was a layer of sorbet with some raspberries inside it.
It was 26 degrees at nearly 11 pm. I am now exhausted and it is very late. Bonne nuit.