It is every blogger’s joy to get enthusiastic feedback and I am no different. Whether this feedback is posted in the Reply section or, as is more often the case, shared in conversation and accompanied by a glass of excellent wine, I always happy to expound.
“I’d love to go there!” is the usual opening, followed by a litany of requests. These questions are always welcomed and often amusing: Favorite table? Preferred hotel? Optimal bar-stool? Secret shoe store? Recommended masseur? And so forth. Fortunately, I have many opinions and have never been shy to share them.
I am adding a new feature to my blog “my favorite things”. Periodically I will post short notes on my favorite aspects of a place I have visited. They will also be listed in a tab on my blogsite. I hope you will find them helpful, maybe even inspirational. Most importantly, I hope these brief posts will stimulate a conversation amongst my readers. I have no doubt that many of you will have many wonderful experiences to share and recommendations to make. Let me know. I’m starting with Lyon.
Lyon is one seriously beautiful city. Paris lite but in the best way imaginable. It is packed with phenomenal restaurants, amazing museums, and breathtaking views. And some pretty formidable hills to climb in order to see them. Or cheat and take the funicular. Souvenirs of the long fascinating history are scattered throughout including a Greco Roman amphitheater, home to many a rock concert, the church where Marie de Medici married François I and a medieval old town with bar lined cobble stone streets. Perfect for a long weekend, I could just as happily have stayed a month.
Sleep: Villa Florentine. This former 17th century convent is a little taste of the Italian renaissance in the heart of France. Perched on the side of the hill, the 29 rooms and suites are spread across several buildings connected by a maze of charming tunnels and paths filled with antique fountains and frescos. The lobby encompasses a chapel dating from 1741, the restaurant has a Michelin star and the service is impeccable. The pool, heated to 29 degrees all year round is hard to leave. The renowned black marble chaise-lounges heal all troubles. No bargain, it is a Relais & Chateaux. Still paying up for a room with a view is a must. As is the homemade Nutella at breakfast. The stuff of dreams!
Shop: The Boutique at the Textile Museum. The museum traces the history of fabric for more than 4000 years, starting with the Egyptians. It was established in 1856 to inspire, teach and preserve. And to glorify the important role silk played in the history of the city. The museum and its cousin The Museum of Decorative Arts are housed in neighboring beautiful old 18th century mansions. One ticket lets you into both. A wonderful pair allowing a fantastic step back in time. But it is the store that really inspires. A seemingly endless selection of scarves, ties, shawls and souvenir made from silk and cashmere. The quality is high and the prices are low. I bought a ton have been wishing I’d bought more.
Eat: Tetedoie. Lyon is the gastronomic capital of France so it is no surprise there are a lot of great restaurants. My favorite was Tetedoie. I has a view, funky décor and the food was everything I love. Fresh ingredients prepared in creative ways. The 9-course tasting menu gave me a chance to sample a wide variety of dishes. Christian Tetedoie has been cooking a long time. He trained with George Blanc and Paul Bocuse and worked in the Presidential Place before opening his eponymous place. He leans on traditions of the past to create very modern clean food. Tender frog’s legs float in a light froth atop pureed asparagus. His signature dish of calf’s head and lobster is tweaked slightly depending on the season… mine was served on carrot foam, surrounded by delicate slices of carrot and chunks of lobster after simmering for 7 hours. It sounds challenging, it was not. Just a great mix of textures and flavors. Not all dishes were so adventurous. The broccoli salad was a work of art; the florets chopped and served like a grain. A vegetarian orgasm.