On my final day in Lyon I was able to sleep in a little. My first obligation was a 10am walking food tour. The third walking food tour of my trip, something I was quickly realising will be essential on any future trip. I have learned so much about not just food, but culture and history from the tours I have done so far.
The meeting point was in Vieux Lyon, just across the Saone from my apartment and our first stop on the trip was a cheese shop. I was in heaven already. The shop had a color coded system for the type of milk used for each cheese based on pasteurisation, so that it was easy to see which cheese a pregnant woman couldn’t eat, for example. The four cheeses that we tried were all delicious. They were a goat’s cheese, my usual favorite; basquitou, a sheep’s milk cheese; comte, the most popular cheese in France; and reblochon, the cheese I had on my tartiflette the day before in Annecy. It was made clear at this first stop that this tour didn’t move on until all the food was gone. Tough gig 😀
As well as introducing us to the food of Lyon the tour guide also introduced us to some of the history. Lyon has a network of traboules, or secret passages, between streets, allowing quicker transit through the old city. Some are public and some private. Our guide took us through both pointing out the significance of them and the regulations governing them. Most are simple looking doorways that lead to passages that open into courtyards with exits to other streets.
She also pointed out to us some rather unique street art that can be found around Lyon, the patching of flaws in the pavement with mosaic by a couple of local artists.
Our second stop was at a glorious shop selling all things pork. We learned a lot about some of the local cured meats then were made to eat an awful lot of them!
Then it was straight on to our third stop. A local authentic bouchon where we tried a few dishes. Pate, pork cracklings and my favorite, a dish of poached egg with bacon and croutons in red wine sauce. We were told about the difference between the authentic bouchons and the more touristy ones and how to spot the difference.
Completely stuffed full of food now it was time for a break from eating and a little more history. Our guide took us past some of the many Michelin starred restaurants in Lyon to the last remaining authentic silk weaving store in Lyon. In times past there were hundreds of them but now only one remains, still doing commissioned work for some of the many castles in France. I made a mental note to return later and buy some silk scarves.
Now it was time for desserts(s). First dessert was at a local gelato shop that prided itself on interesting flavour combinations. We were able to have 2 flavours. First was black sesame and poppy seed with lemon zest, and the second was orange blossom with dates. Neither were ones I would have ever have ordered myself, both were delicious.
After more traboules we made it to our final stop, for a coffee, or a cold drink, and tart made from Lyon’s signature pink pralines. I have to say that the tart was just a little too sweet for most of us, delicious but you only needed the smallest piece.
Four hours after we had met we all said goodbye knowing so much more about Lyon and its food. Another excellent food tour.
With the rest of the day free I didn’t really have much planned. We had discussed during the tour the Lyon murals and I decided to go and find the most famous of those, the Mur des Canuts. It was a bit of a walk from Vieux Lyon, and it started to rain, so the streets were pretty clear. I managed to get a few photos despite the rain and was very grateful for my umbrella on the walk back. This is the one location of my trip where the weather was wet every day. But hey, it also has plenty of bars to kill some time waiting for the weather to break.
I spent the latter part of the afternoon shopping for a few last French souvenirs and gifts then sat down at a bouchon for another Lyonnaise salad and dessert of chocolate fondant with whiskey cream and salted caramel. What a huge few days I’d had in Lyon, no wonder I was so tired. An early night for my last one in France.