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Lyon, France

Fast Track to Lyon
The culinary capital of France

DAY 3

For those who have a full 72 hours (or more) to visit Lyon, Sofitel is probably the best hotel to stay at for exploring the city and the surrounding region. Note that its interior is much more refined and attractive than its exterior. It offers all of the creature comforts expected from a nice hotel. If you like the tranquility of the riverside of the Saône, though, you can choose the Hôtel Métropole, a well-kept establishment which offers regular shuttles to the Peninsula. You would then be very close to the world-famous Paul Bocuse restaurant at Collonges au Mont d'Or which is not to be missed.

The two rivers that flow through Lyon, the Rhône and the Saône (and the Lyonnais speak of a third—the Beaujolais river), contribute to the region's charm. Admire the lights of the city from one of the many bridges.

Musée des Beaux Arts
Musée des Beaux Arts*

On this third day, you should visit the Musée des Beaux Arts (Museum of Fine Arts) on the Place de Terreaux. It houses one of the richest collections in France. Among the masterpieces to be admired, you will find "l'Ange et la Vierge de l'Annonciation" (the Angel and the Virgin of the Annunciation), an Italian work from the early 14th century; the department of Egyptian Antiquities and of the civilizations of the Mediterranean Basin; as well as a beautiful collection of Impressionist paintings. The museum, which has benefited from a renovation that lasted ten years, is located in the Palais Saint Pierre on the Place de Terreaux. You can access the museum via the cloister gardens, which offer a pleasant transition from the city.

You should also not miss the Musée des Tissus et des Arts Décoratifs (Museum of Fabrics and Decorative Arts), in which you will find collections that are closely linked to the silk industry in Lyon. Prevalent themes in the museum are the Orient and the West and the history of developing techniques for weaving in Lyon, and their applications for the textile industry of haute couture. An impressive collection of suits, dating from the 18th century to today, is on display. The museum is peacefully situated behind high walls and a garden in the Ainay quarter, which is also an area where you will find most of the antique shops of the city.

Further, just 20 miles away from Fourvière sits the site of Saint Romain en Gal, near the city of Vienne. In a 15-acre park you can admire the relics of the Gallo-Roman culture, which include mosaics, items from the daily life in a Roman house, and the temple of Auguste and Livie.

Paul Bocuse
Paul Bocuse*

However, before leaving the city, you should take advantage of the gourmet shopping at the famous butchers of Lyon, "les sabodets," where you will find a variety of pork sausages: pistachio sausage, "les rosettes" (a type of slicing sausage particular to Lyon), and "les jésus" (a sausage that is wrapped in string exactly like infants were in the past). These specialties can be found at Reynon, Chorliet and Sibilia. You can also do some shopping at the Halles de Lyon, the same market frequented by the great chefs of the area. Early in the morning, it's not uncommon to pass Paul Bocuse. A few steps from the market in the 6th arrondissment, the chic quarter of Lyon, you can try some chocolates at the celebrated Bernachon. This store sends its goods throughout the world but only has a single boutique in Lyon.

Photos courtesy of Tristan Deschamps and J. Du Sordet / Office du Tourisme de Lyon

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(Updated: 04/21/08 MG)

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