24 Hours in Lyon
Any city where celebrity chefs hone skills and sharpen knives with uncanny regularity and food-mad denizens clamour for quality is a place you want to camp out for a day or two. Lyon, a foremost gourmet capital and temple of gastronomy in France, famously teems with a constellation of Michelin stars and a vital ensemble of UNESCO World Heritage landmarks.
The capital of the spectacular RhÃ´ne-Alpes region is a worthy second fiddle to Paris. As a potential gateway to the likes of Chamonix-Mont Blanc, Grenoble, Annecy and Switzerland, Lyon is supreme. Make ample time, however, to enjoy the 2013 European Capital of Culture candidate.
Authentic sustenance It borders on utter folly to venture to Lyon – even for 24 hours – without a comprehensive meal plan. The city demands visitors squish in extra courses between breakfast and lunch, lunch and dinner. You can choose from one of two options when you dine in Lyon (or both, if you have the ambition, budget and time). Essentially it boils down to Michelin star icons or traditional bouchons. With the former, visitors to Lyon have a surfeit of Red Guide gems to choose from, from fresh stars like Takao Takano (14 r. GrolÃ©e) to Laurent Rigal (L’Alexandrin – 83 r. Moncey) to the chef of chefs and icon himself, Paul Bocuse.
A bouchon, on the other hand, is not quite a bistro or brasserie but a traditional kitchen that delivers Lyonnaise classics like coq au vin, pÃ¢tÃ© and boudin – with regional wines of course. Convivial, no-nonsense fare and a far cry from haute cuisine. Two of the best bouchons in the city, Val d’IsÃ¨re and Ã€ Ma Vigne, lure Michelin chefs and bus drivers alike to worship at the altar of rustic, simple, straightforward cuisine.
64 rue Bonnel
Ã€ Ma Vigne
3 rue Jean LarrivÃ©
40 rue de la Plage, Collonges-au-Mont-d’Or
Where to stay: Relais & Chateau Villa Florentine Hotel Lyon
Museums comprise points of pride for the average Lyonnais, with many fine ones to target. The MusÃ©e des beaux-arts (Museum of Fine Arts) is the standout but far from alone as a worthwhile special trip with a day to spare in the city. Consider if you will the treasure trove of relics at the MusÃ©e Africain or that most paragon patron of the avant-garde in France – La SucriÃ¨re contemporary art space. The future MusÃ©e des Confluences will not open until 2013 but has natural science and anthropology buffs abuzz already.
Museum of Fine Arts
20 Place Terreaux
150 Cours Gambetta
47 Quai Rambaud
Where to stay: La Cour Des Loges Hotel Lyon
The UNESCO World Heritage area of Lyon deserves a thorough tour on foot. As the international body aptly puts it, Lyon is a place that bears exceptional testimony to the continuity of urban settlement over more than two millennia. With that, take a long walk and look around. The bulk of heritage landmarks unfurl throughout the FourviÃ¨re, Presqu’Ã®le, Roman, Renaissance and Silk quarters; all easily identifiable and manageable for game pedestrians. Some of the best points of interest include Basilique Notre-Dame de FourviÃ¨re, CathÃ©drale Saint-Jean-Baptiste de Lyon, HÃ´tel de Ville de Lyon (City Hall) and Place des Terreaux.
Where to stay: Boscolo Grand Hotel Lyon