The day of the lights and meeting Bernard again
Lyon Travel Blog› entry 7 of 10 › view all entries
When Maxime and I woke up around 9 AM, we were still full after the dinner at Paul Bocuse the day before. It must have be one of the fullest meals I ever had. I probably had calories for a full month; it actually felt like that.
We discussed a little about what to do this morning; we knew that we were meeting Bernard and his wife Danielle at the Côté Cuisine in the Hotel Le Royale and situated in the middle of the city on Place Bellecour. One thing we wanted to do from the start of this day was to find the metro.
We left the hotel without having breakfast; naturally and head with our city in the wrong direction! It was not that bad but we went a little the wrong way.
We went down to the metro station, bought our day tickets and entered the unmanned metro train that would take us to the city centre. We didn’t realize it at this point but we were extremely lucky to live close to this unmanned metro line because all other public transportation was on strike in Lyon; on the biggest day of the year for Lyon’s transport system. This was and I am sorry to say it; typical French. Whenever you can hurt people the most the unions will use it; it is not the first time I meet this in France and probably not the last as well.
Being lucky and sitting in an unmanned metro made us move fast in to the city centre of Lyon.
The Place Bellecour is a huge town square measuring 312 m by 200 m (62,000 m²), and it is the largest clear square, without any patches of greenery, trees or any other kind of obstacles in Europe and also the largest pedestrian square of Europe. It is the third biggest square of France, behind the place des Quinconces in Bordeaux which measures 126,000 m² and the place de la Concorde in Paris which measures 86,400 m.
After taking some pictures of the big wheel and the statue of king Louis XIV mounted on a horse, we walked towards the Saone River via Place des Célestins and the beautiful Théâtre des Célestins.
The Célestins Theater is one of the oldest theatres in France.
Here we decided to enter Brasserie des Célestins, which is a nice little café and a place where the interior actually match the cozy impression from outside.
We were at this seeking a place where we could get a cup of coffee to heat our hands on. Seen from the outside this place looks like it has a long history, even thought the modern outdoor furniture speaks a more modern history. Two large vases were marking the ends of the cafés territory; they were decorated with branches and large green leafs, and some sprayed with silver.
When we entered things looked like the probably had done for years.
He directed us to one of the first tables just inside the door and let us sit down before he took our orders, which he then gave the waitress who was a beautiful femme fatale; anyway that was our best guess because she was on the phone all the time talking to a girlfriend about her last night with some guy.
The chairs were the typical wiener ones in black and they were all quite new but fitted well in the rest of the environment. The tables were small and square and all were decorated with red flowers. The long bar was made of wood and painted red with a black granite or marble plate. The classic old fashion beer taps fulfilled the picture of a nice bar.
Behind the bar there was a wonderful old stone wall with two large arches that had been fitted with huge mirrors and glass shelves; this opened up the bar and gave it a more spacious impression, because fact was that it was not a large bar.
We got our coffees made by the beautiful waitress and handed over by our jovial café owner. While we were sitting there he had started on a project making a Christmas decoration in the two large vases outside the café. I was impressed that he was standing out there in the cold with a short sleeved T-shirt, while we still kept our jackets on inside.
The coffees were good and just as we wanted them and after 20 minutes we left; paying the waitress while she was standing behind the bar taking to a friend on the phone about man from yesterday.
We had still one hour before we were meeting Bernard at a restaurant and therefore headed towards the Saone River. We walked the river all the way to Rue Sala which we followed.
At Place Carnot there was a huge Christmas market which we avoided; it was way too crowded and there were people everywhere. Instead we walked back towards Place Bellecour along the nice Rue Auguste Comte which had really nice design shops and antique vendors. While we returned to Place Bellecour it was time to join Bernard and Danielle at the Côté Cuisine in the Hotel Le Royale.