Sunday, August 10, 2014

Roman ruins, water fountains and incredible food - Lyon, France is perfect

Ahh, Lyon. Only Lyon.

I sigh every time I think back to our time in Lyon, France and can't help but smile as I reminisce about Calvin exploring the Roman ruins with boundless enthusiasm and squealing with delight as he splashed in the fountains with the other children - all running around in their underwear.

We were fortunate to have the most perfect weather imaginable - around 29C, sunny, no clouds and a light cool breeze. Lyon is one of the few European cities to have 2 rivers surrounding it, La Saône and La Rhône, so it has double the waterfront space, double the number of tree-lined walks and so many gorgeous bridges to cross. At night, the rivers reflect all of the beautiful lights and I wonder why Paris is called the City of Lights when Lyon is just as entitled to it. Lyon also boasts its own, though somewhat smaller, metal (Eiffel-like) tower, that is up next to the Fourviere basilica and is all lit up at night.

We wandered through the old town of Lyon. So charming with it's quaint street, cobble stones and boutique shops. Some might call it a tourist trap but it is so beautiful that you can forgive it a bit and still enjoy your delicious ice cream while watching the street musicians play in the shade, slowly dragging on their lit cigarettes in their mouths. Lyon also boasts a strikingly high number of playgrounds sprinkled throughout the city. We had no issues finding playgrounds for Calvin as it seemed there was one around every corner. There were two large playgrounds (one for older children and one for smaller children) that preceded a string of fountains and wading pools. It felt so warm and welcoming, that we couldn't resist taking off our shoes and wading in. While perhaps very un-French of us to do so, we really didn't care. After a day of lazily wandering the city, we felt so relaxed that standing in the water and letting Calvin splash on a hot day seemed like the best idea of all.

Running through the old town

Lyon is most known for its delicious food and a Lyonnaise special is the quenelle. I can't describe it well and the Wikipedia link doesn't do it justice. Basically it is delicious and worth a try. I had the poultry quenelle and it was so rich and creamy. Lyon specializes in offal (organ meats) and while I was a bit put off, Jon was brave and tried and LOVED pressed pig's head tureen (head cheese). If you are going to ever try it, Lyon is the place to do so.

The Roman theatre that sits atop Fourviere is also a must-see if you are in Lyon. Anytime I see Roman ruins, my mind is just completely blown by the mastery of their construction. The site is still used for cultural events and the stage crew was working busily while we were there, adjusting the lighting and stage platforms for an upcoming performance.

Only a 2 hour train ride away from Paris, I would return to Lyon in a heartbeat to spend more time. The weather was consistently beautiful for our entire stay, the people were extremely friendly and helpful and it was the perfect place to roam for a family with young children.

Happy to take part in:
Wander Mum


  1. Great post Lisa! You all look so happy and care-free which is as un-French as your barefoot fountain adventure. I still can't grasp what a quenelle is but I'll make sure I'll try a creamed fish one the next (and first) time I visit Lyon. Thanks for sharing your vacay ;-)

  2. Very great post ! Lyon is a very beautiful city


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