A stunning mixture of old and new, Lyon is the capital city in France’s Auvergne – Rhône – Alps region. Sitting high above the old part of the city is the Basilica of Notre Dame de Fourvière. The architecture includes both medieval and Renaissance styles with the occasional Roman ruin. The traboules or hidden stairways are tucked between and in buildings. These were passages for the silk trade, but later they were used by the French resistance to evade the Nazis. Lyon’s Les Halles de Paul Bocuse is a mecca for foodies and wine tasters like us.

Lyon

Lyon

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Lyon

Lyon

Lyon

We arrived by train, since our car was gone, and took an uber to our apartment. Once again getting in was like solving a puzzle. Enter the back door with the wrench and Mrs. Peacock. Well, not that bad, but it did include a code for a lock box attached to a bike rack across the street and on a opposite corner behind a commercial building. Yikes. The hallways to the place look a bit, well, like New York in the 80’s. but once inside we were happy to fine a chic, ample apartment with a great kitchen and comfortable sitting area. The shower and heating system proved to be more challenging.

Fortunately for us, Rama, my dear friend of over 40 years, hopped across the pond to join us. She has traveled for business and pleasure in Lyon for years, so she was a terrific guide for the many neighborhoods and sights of the city. We walked the main street in our neighborhood the first night after her arrival, and over drinks she laid out a plan for the next few days. This included shopping at the famous street markets… which seemed to be nonexistent on our neighborhood’s mostly empty streets. So, imagine our surprise when she bounded into the apartment at 7:30 the next morning with apple fritters shrieking about the markets which had materialized in every sidewalk overnight. Fruit, rotating  chickens turning  above fat-drenched potatoes; fresh fish, shrimp and oysters; veggies, breads, spices, olives and cheese. OMG!

Despite this bacchanalian spread, we headed to Les Halles de Paul Bocuse to meet Rama’s friend Hélène and grab brunch at one of the most sublime food mecas of the world. It was a squeeze to get into a bar area of one of the busy restaurants, but worth the effort for the yummy small plates of delicacies and wine. The following day was a hike up to the Basilica followed by a visit to one of the most fascinating museums of our time in Europe: the Gallo-Roman Museum of Lyon- Fourvière, where we walked down and down a spiral ramp with exhibitions off in display rooms and along the way. This collection includes pre-roman mosaics, everyday objects, sarcophagi, jewelry and statues. After this, Driftwood Cottage seems almost new.

Sadly, John came down with a rather bad cold, so that left Rama and me to explore the ancient part of  the city alone. First, back to Les Halles for seafood, including giant crab claws, sea urchin, and oysters washed down with a nice French Champagne. We wandered, shopped,  laughed and grabbed a beer at an Irish pub with a guy in a kilt sitting in front that looked as old as the buildings. We logged about 7 miles, so we earned our feast. It was a day that I will always savor – back with my partner in crime, but this time on the streets of Lyon, France rather than Hartford, Connecticut.

Poor john dragged himself to dinner with Rama and me at a neighborhood spot  serving tiny plates of food ordered from a menu that challenged my French. The next morning, we took a forty five minute car ride to the car agency to pick up our replacement car. Thankfully it went smoothy.  We dropped Rama at a hotel in another part of the city where she would continue her vacation for a few days. John mustered the  energy to drive us on to our next destination : Dijon.