Lyon, France Tourism – Food, Culture and Family

Lyon – A city of east-central France at the confluence of the Rhone and Saône rivers north of Marseille. Founded in 43 B.C. as a Roman colony, it was the principal city of Gaul and an important religious center after the introduction of Christianity. Its silk industry dates to the 15th century.

Yet for years, Lyon was largely overlooked apart from the cuisine, seen mostly as a thoroughfare for those on their way further south. This is no longer true. Lyon has significantly broadened its already substantial cultural fare of late. There are absorbing, intelligently planned recent museums, adding to a raft of well-established ones, and a striking opera house and ballet venue: the city certainly has no shortage of ways to engage visitors in between meals. It is also accessible, just a couple of hours from Paris by high-speed TGV train, and less than two hours flight from London.

Train, by far the most relaxing way to reach Lyon. Take the Eurostar from St Pancras, via Lille if possible to avoid the stressful traipse across Paris from Gare du Nord. Lyon is the gastronomic capital of France – famous British-based chefs such as Michel Roux Jr, Antonin Bonnet, from the Greenhouse and Claude Bosi, from Hibiscus, all worked here. And if you aren’t prepared to loosen your belt and empty your wallet, you shouldn’t be here.

The city’s gastronomic heritage is the legacy of its mères, the mothers who provided vast and nourishing breakfasts for their menfolk before they set off for long days in the silk mills. Today, Lyon has a galaxy of Michelin stars and even among the bouchons, the small bistros serving outstanding value Lyonnaise cuisine, reputations are carefully nurtured.

Lyon, more than any other city in France, embodies that illusive French “art of living” – the joyful synthesis of all that makes life worthwhile: food, wine, culture, friends and family – and it’s an art that the Lyonnais are very happy to share with even the most casual visitor.

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