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  • Rita Selles

Lyon

Lyon, France's second largest city and capital of the region we live in (Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes), is located on the junction of two rivers, the Soâne and the Rhone. It is just over an hour away from Grenoble and during a visit with friends we saw the highlights of the city and then again with the students the following weekend we saw more.

Up on the hill, Basilique de Notre Dame de Fourvière (Basilica of Notre-Dame de Fourvière). The basilica was built in the 19th century and the interior is in the byzantine style.


Close-ups of the floor, ceiling, pillar


Our visit actually began with a walk through the market, followed by a visit to another well-known edifice, the Cathédrale Saint-Jean, built in 1180.


A more sobre cathedral, but very bright inside. This is also where Henry the 4th and Marie de Medecis were married.



You are looking at a Roman theatre in Lugdunum, the most important center of Roman Gaul, founded in 43 BC. This Roman city in Lyon covered more than 300 hectares and for four centuries was the hub of city life. At the time, the theatre itself could hold almost 11,000 people. Today, it is used for outdoor events and can hold 4,500 spectators. Acoustically, it was built so that a person seated in the top row could hear a person on the stage below. I tested this with Otto and indeed I could understand what he was saying.




In the Saint-Jean district of Lyon, where we visited the Saint-Jean Cathedral, you will find "traboules". These are a series of passageways originally used by silk manufacturers to transport their products. They date back as far as the 4th century and are now private property for apartment dwellers. Fortunately these doors are open to visitors in the afternoon.



Some of the interior courtyards are quite beautiful.



At some point we did have lunch, at a "bouchon", a traditional restaurant that has its origins in inns/restaurants for silk workers passing through Lyon in the 17th and 18th centuries. The food is very rich and hearty! A typical first course could be a soup, or here, a salad with a local cheese, St. Marcellin, warmed to melt all over your salad.



We ran into an antique market. A lot of history behind some of these objects.


Finally, Lyon is know for its rose-colored pralines (candied almonds (or hazelnuts) with the addition of "cochinelle" or red food coloring. They are used in brioches, tarts, cookies, syrups, or liquors. Although the pink praline dates back to the 19th century, and became popular because of the pastry chef, Saint Genis-Sur-Giers who created the St Genix (praline brioche) there is no clear idea on who invented the rose-colored pralines.

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I tried both the brioche (a small one!) and a small praline tart. For the brioche, just imagine some extra crunchiness in a bite. For the praline tart, I really don't know what to compare it to. It is made with cream, butter, sugar, and of course, pralines. Sweet pink/red richness, that's what it taste like.

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