Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Lyons, France

Lyon is a city in east-central France in the Rhone-Alpes region situated between Paris and Marseille. The residents of the city are called Lyonnais.
The population of Lyon is 483,181 and together with its suburbs and satellite towns Lyon forms the largest city in France outside Paris. The city is known for its historical and architectural landmarks and is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Historically it was known as an important area for the production and weaving of silk and in modern times has developed a reputation as the capital of cuisine in France. There are over 1,500 restaurants/cafes.
On board the ship a silk printing demonstration was featured. 
  Hand painting silk scarves is quite labor intensive. Must be the reason why they are so costly.

Here in Lyon you need to know some Roman Catholic history. 
In the days of old Rome, basilica referred to any public building built in the shape of a rectangle with a main aisle down the middle and flanking aisles separated by columns (i.e., from above, it looks like a cross). Once Rome became Christianized, a lot of these buildings were converted into churches. So if a church was built in this style, it can rightly be called a basilica. Unless, of course, it’s a Roman Catholic church.
Why? Roman Catholic basilicas must be designated as such by the pope himself! Just to clarify, a regular church can get called up to the majors if it has particular spiritual or historical significance to the capital Church. The granddaddy of all basilicas, for instance, is St. Peter’s, one of seven major basilicas in Rome.
To add a bit more confusion some basilicas are also cathedrals. A cathedral is the home church of a bishop or archbishop.

To the west in Lyon is Fourvière, known as "the hill that prays", the location for the highly decorated basilica of Notre-Dame de Fourvière, several convents, the palace of the Archbishop, theTour métallique (a highly visible TV tower, replicating the last stage of the Eiffel Tower). 

For several centuries Lyon has been known as the French capital of gastronomy, due in part to the presence of many of France's finest chefs in the city. This reputation also comes from the fact that two of France's best known wine-growing regions are located near Lyon: the Beaujolais to the North, and the Côtes du Rhône to the South. Beaujolais wine is very popular in Lyon and remains the most common table wine served with local dishes. We took a tour of the old town to see some of the fine restaurants.

Donkey sausage seems popular.

As we walked the streets of old town we found out about some 350 secret passages throughout the city. 10% are open and they are like shortcuts to other parts of the city. Lyon was a centre for the occupying German forces and also a stronghold of resistance during World War II, and the city is now home to a resistance museum. The traboules, or secret passages, through the houses enabled the local people to escape Gestapo raids. The city was liberated by the 1st Free French Division and the Forces Françaises de l'Intérieur on 3 September 1944. Below is a picture entering one of the secret passages and the other walking through the passageway.

This is when you are really happy to have a guide so you don't get lost.
I managed to keep my vow to skip a meal so I could at least justify this lunch. 
Creamy tomato basil with pesto on top and drizzle of cream.
This would be easy to prepare, an open face chicken sandwich. It was served on toast points with sliced cucumbers with ranch dressing.
Dessert was chocolate mousse with a red currant sauce topped with a strawberry. 

1 comment:

  1. That secret passageway looks a little close and intimidating for me. But the food, ah, now that looks wonderful. How much fun it must be to sample these dishes.