Wednesday, 23 September 2015

A Taste of Lyon for my Birthday!

Welcome on board everyone! It's been a while since my last blog, but let's just say, as well you know - life gets in the way sometimes!

Never mind, why not put aside its stresses today, as I invite you to share in my birthday treat; a weekend in Lyon, the gastronomic capital of France. Well, it was a milestone birthday, so I guess it had to be a pretty good present and Lyon certainly didn't disappoint.

We flew into  Lyon-Saint Exupéry airport on Friday afternoon and took a taxi from the airport to our hotel, booked by my lovely daughter and her husband, as a treat for mum. That's when the fun began! Arriving at Mama Shelter Hotel Lyon is a great way to forget your age, because it's all about having a good time. It begins at reception, where the hotel's unique design by Philippe Starck ignites the senses and encourages even the older guests to prepare to let their hair down!  

Mama Shelter Lyon - Reception

Mathieu Viannay
After settling in that evening we met in the bar for a cocktail, before heading off to the centre of Lyon, where we were about to experience fine dining at it's best. Our table at La Mere Brazier found us in the capable hands of Mathieu Viannay, their two Michelin starred chef and what followed can only be described as a gastronomic adventure! The evening was finally topped off with a visit from Mathieu himself and leaving we stepped out into the night, our taste buds still savouring the memory of haute cuisine at it's best.  

Saturday found us exploring the city as it straddles the wide River Rhone and is overlooked by the amazing Basilique Notre Dame de Fourviere, perched high above the city. Let's just say, for shopping and those looking for a bit of retail therapy, Lyon is hard to beat and, as my lovely daughter is expecting twins, we spent the day in its many baby boutiques. Finally the evening is topped off with a visit to a Korean restaurant with a tasting menu to die for. Oh! Let's not forget the beautiful 2006 Riesling specially chosen for the occasion by my son-in-law, which literally blew my mind!

Basilique Notre Dame de Fourviere
Sunday morning, after a lazy breakfast at the hotel, we returned to Lyon centre and climbed the steep cobbled streets to explore the Basilica. Breathtaking, is the only way to describe the interior of this late 19th century building. It is dedicated to the Virgin Mary, who saved the city from  bubonic plague, the 'Black Death', that was sweeping Europe in 1643 and its unique interior is bedecked in mosaics of beautiful shades of blue and gold. In fact every inch of this amazing building has been tastefully bejewelled to amazing effect. Katie and I loitered around the altar, sitting down, as we have in so many holy places, to soak up the unique beauty of man's creativity to the glory of God. 

Back down to earth and, after admiring the view of the city from the front of the Basilica, we head down in search of Les Halles de Lyon Paul Bocuse, Lyon's renowned covered food market. The market named after Lyon's famous chef, Paul Bocuse, houses stalls featuring every ingredient of Lyonnaise cuisine, both to buy and also for tasting. We wander its stalls in mouthwatering amazement at the diversity of its produce from oysters, cheeses, wine and meats, to tapas and breads of every possible size and shape. Lining the counters, shoppers sit on high stools tilting their heads back to savour oysters washed down with crisp, white wine. I end my birthday weekend sharing seafood with the people I love, before heading back to the airport with treasured memories of a beautiful city and the taste of Lyon still lingering on my tongue.

 Les Halles de Lyon-Paul Bocuse