The Place des Terreaux is a large square behind the City Hall and in front of the Fine Arts Museum.
On the sunny side of the square there are five or six restaurants, all of which have ample outdoor seating and look more or less interchangeable. I chose the second restaurant from the right, for no particular reason.
The food was adequate but it was not a gourmet meal, by any means. Nor did it have to be, since I am not a gourmet diner. But it was very pleasant to sit in the shade and have lunch while watching the people going by on foot or by bicycle.
Second photo: Some of the restaurants at the Place des Terreaux.
As the name implies, this is sort of an alternative bistro (autrement means other or otherwise) which is quite informal and unpretentious. I sat at one of the seven or so little tables on the sidewalk, but they also have dozens of tables on the square across the street. The interior is decorated with old film posters and such, because the Lumière Villa and Museum is just half a block away.
This time I decided that I was going to try a regional specialty of Lyon and, believe it or not, that I was going to remember what I ate so I could write a proper restaurant tip for a change.
Well, I didn’t exactly remember, but I wrote it down. What I ate was an “Andouillette lyonnaise sauce moutarde à l’ancienne”, which is a sort of boiled sausage made of pork innards and served with a mustard sauce. It had a chalky texture and was rather bland, not as sharp or distinctive as I had expected, but it tasted quite pleasant and down-to-earth, just the sort of thing you would expect from a regional “resto” (restaurant).
My meal at Le Bistro Autrement was on a Sunday afternoon (Easter Sunday, in fact) and there were numerous customers especially at the many tables across the street on the square, served by a dozen or so enthusiastic young waiters and waitresses who had to keep dashing across the street carrying big salads and such. Fortunately there wasn’t much traffic on a Sunday, but enough that they had to pay attention.
Since I was very satisfied with Le Bistro Autrement, I was surprised to find later that the comments in French on the local websites were predominantly negative. People complained about the service and the food, about the alleged rudeness of the staff, about the tables being too close together and especially –- oh horrors -– about the fact that they don’t accept bank cards or credit cards, which for France is highly unusual, I must admit.
But a few others objected to these negative comments and suggested that the complainers would be better off going to “McDo” –- as the French now say since they have developed the habit of leaving off the last one or two syllables of commonly used words. (Especially the “ados” do this, the kind of folks we used to call adolescents.)
Second photo: Villa Lumière from Place Ambroise Courtois, across from Le Bistro Autrement.
Third photo: Inline skaters at Le Bistro Autrement.
Rue des Marronniers is a street close to Place Bellecour full of very nice restaurants full of local dishes.
Favorite Dish: The local culinary specialties are plentiful and varied: pork products and "Cervelle de Canuts" soft cheese with herbs, "bugnes" beignets, fried pork fat, Lyonnais salad, "tablier de sapeur" tripes, "gras double" tripes, "petit salé" ham with lentils, "quenelles" dumplings (a mixture of butter, semolina and fish), black pudding, "andouillette" chitterling sausage, "paillasson" fried hashed potatoes, and more, if you're still hungry!
On the seventh floor of the Opera House there is a restaurant called “Les Muses de l’Opéra” (The Muses of the Opera), with both indoor and outdoor tables.
The restaurant is open for lunch Monday-Saturday from 12:00-14:00 and in the evenings from 20:00-22:00, also after the opera performances by reservation only. There is a special elevator from street level to the restaurant, so it is also accessible when the rest of the opera house is closed.
The outdoor tables are on a terrace behind eight statues of the muses. Why only eight? Because a ninth statue would have spoiled the symmetry of the building, so you won’t find a statue of Urania, the muse of astronomy, but her eight sisters are all there. (Calliope, Clio, Erato, Euterpe, Melpomene, Polyhymnia, Terpsichore and Thalia, not necessarily in that order.)
Sorry to be a bit vague about the gastronomical details, but I have forgotten what I ate at Les Muses. I went for lunch and had their “Plat du jour” for fifteen Euros, plus a drink, dessert and coffee. I’m sure the food was satisfactory (though not very memorable, obviously), but I’m afraid I have to agree with most of the reviewers on the local websites that the service was slow and inattentive.
That didn’t really bother me, however, since I was up there for the view, more than for the food or the service.
Second photo: View of the Basilica Notre-Dame de Fourvière from Les Muses.
Third photo: View of City Hall from Les Muses.
Fourth photo: Les Muses poster at the opera house, by the elevator.
Fifth photo: Looking up at the eight muses from street level.
The word "bouchon" usually means traffic jam or bottle cork in French, but in Lyon it has a special meaning: bouchons are traditional local restaurants serving a simple and savoury kitchen (no fine restaurants where you have to watch your table-manners carefully). Your trip to Lyon will be incomplete if you don't eat at a bouchon!
Favorite Dish: Beware: Bouchons are no place for vegetarians and if you're not into blood and guts (like me), you may find few things to choose from. However, here's some choices that are definitely very yummy and won't gross you out:
- Salade lyonnaise (green salad with fried bacon and a warm eggyolk)
- Boudin BLANC (very light veal or porc sausage, Boudin noir is a blood sausage...)
- Quenelles (a gratin of very light dumplings in a bechamel sauce with cheese on top)
- Cervelles des canuts (means "silkweaver's brain", but don't be scared: it's just fromage blanc with herbs and scallion, makes a nice dip for fresh bread)
At some places (for example the Cafe des Federations) you just choose the main dish and will have other stuff (starters, dessert and side-dishes) served to you randomly.
Very nice room in a former cave with arcades and contemporary paintings. A large choice of salads and they cook very nicely the "Ravioles" a pasta which is a specialty from Lyon. The only problem: it is often full! come early or make a reservation!
Best website to have good tips about Lyon's best place to have a drink, a lunch or fun! Made by students from my school: they tested everything! When they found it fantastic they give it the best rate: "RPPP" (Recommandé Par le Petit Paumé!)
Favorite Dish: I like their 13€ menu: raviole + big and original salad + good dessert!
A question on Travel Forum: Where to have breakfast near the Park and Suites Prestige Lyon Part Dieu Hotel (near the Station Lyon Part Dieu.) And where to have lunch and dinner in the area. Reply:
Can't help with breakfast. If Park and Suites Prestige Lyon Part Dieu serves breakfast, consider having it there. If it's too expensive, go on a walkabout and have something at a café. That would be what was described above (croissant, chocolate-filled croissant or French baguette, coffee, butter and jam, maybe juice.) Breakfast is not usually very "consistent" in France.
For lunch or dinner, it's another matter. Try a Bouchon lyonnais, an institution in Lyon, where it's cozy (shoulder to shoulder :)) and where you'll find typical Lyon cuisine. Here are a few good Bouchons lyonnais:
Inexpensive. Doesn't look like much from outside but worth discovering:
« CHEZ MOUNIER »
3, rue des Marronniers
Lyon 2nd Arrondissement
04 78 37 79 26
(at the height of Quai du Dr Gailleton)
I recommend the following (same street as Mounier's), where I had good quenelles de brochet (pike balls, typical Lyon cuisine):
Chabert & Fils
11 Rue des Marronniers
(also at the height of Quai du Dr Gailleton)
I ate there twice for dinner and was very satisfied.
Slightly NORTH from the 2 above, still on peninsula (height of Quai Jean Moulin, Metro Hôtel de Ville, Le Garet is very sympatico:
Le Garet, Brasserie, Bistrot, 7, rue du Garet, 1st Arrondissement
To reach the peninsula (lovely area!), you can take the metro or walk in following general direction:
From Park and Suites Prestige Lyon Part Dieu on Boulevard Vivier Merle (which is in the 3rd Arrondissement I think, go WEST on Cours Gambetta. Cross Pont de la Guillotière onto the Presqu'île (Peninsula) in the middle of the Rhône. You're now in the 2nd Arrondissement. Nearest Metro is Bellecour.
Favorite Dish: At Bouchon Chabert, I had:
Quenelles de brochet
Profiterole au chocolat for dessert :)
Well, with wonderful Cotes du Rhone wines, and access to exceptional produce, dairy and meat, Lyon's restaurants are highly regarded. On a Saturday night (we forgot it was Saturday) with NO reservation (we should know better) we lucked into a table near the kitchen at Les Adrets. It turned out to be a good spot, as it was fun to watch the activity in the kitchen through a big glass window. Steve had the best choice of the night...a brochet of Lapin (rabbit).
Good raclettes, fondues and warm saucissons in a traditional, warm and welcoming atmosphere! Rustic setting.
They also make a classic Tartiflette, shavings of oven-cooked potatoes, onions, lard and melted Reblochon cheese, basted with a glass of Apremont Savoy wine... to die for! I know the Tartiflette but didn't have it there that time, it's usually a warming winter dish, and I was there during a warm October...
Favorite Dish: I had an excellent raclette (melted cheese with pickles, sliced small red potatoes, with some cured meats.
When I go back, I'll make sure to have the Tartiflette! love that dish!
Excellent Tapas in a fun environment.
Good choice of tapas written up on the black board, also main dishes available and a house selection of tapas for 10$ which lets you try a bit of everything.
Not the cheapest place to eat in town, but not too expensive either : you'll eat well and drink lots of wine or Sangria for about $20 per person.
Favorite Dish: I particularly liked the aubergine (eggplant) paté with cream of red peppers (capsicums). Also very good was the Soubressada, the carrots with Cumin were delicious and the spicy chick peas were pretty good too. They also have the standard selection of mussles, chorizo and tortilla.
A place of contrasts. Large but intimate. Old, but up to date. Informal, but elegant. We particularly loved the effort to explain dishes not familiar to us. Three staffers provided most service to our table and they were assisted by others if a need arose. Language was not an issue, staff tactfully switched to English when our rudimentary French failed. This "team" approach is not generally used in North America but we liked it, The room itself was fascinating and decoration no doubt has seen many variations in the past 170 years. It's mainly art deco with modern brew-pub elements.
We talked with a single diner at the next table. He described himself as an Italian who had fallen in love with French food and wine. This was a change from my Italian friends who claim their brethren taught the French to cook. A fresh sea food platter arrived at the next table. We were awed; there seemed enough to feed four instead of one hungry Ialian.
Favorite Dish: French Onion Soup, served with a small jug of Madeira wine. I gave up ordering F.O.S. many years ago. Too many insipid results. At Brasserie Georges, it was glorious - a full flavoured broth, smoking hot, capped with crusty but tender cheeese on a crouton raft. The heavy weight iron serving dish kept heat from dissipating. Marvellous. A few days later, my wife tried a similar offering at one of the Paul Bocuse bistros. Didn't compare.
Absolutely typical Lyon restaurent. Lots of meat & tripe dishes but also Quenelles which are fish dumplings. Wine comes in a "pot lyonnaise" which is less than a bottle and has a thick base to stop it being knocked over !
Very laid back and pleasant place in Lyon's 1st Arrondissement. Near the Jardin des Plantes. I had a very good dish of chicken (yassa I think it was called) and really enjoyed the warm welcome and smiles!
There're so many good restaurants that you won't miss around the town center (Bellicore). Especially there're two dense restaurant areas I know. Check if the restaurant has English menu (if you have limited knowledge of French...). I tried wild mushrooms and duck... I can't wait visit there again!
Favorite Dish: Wild Mushrooms
House red wine (half bottle)
Selections of cheese
over 40 flavors! open daily (except winter) till midnight; be prepared to queue during hot summer days! nice shaddy terrace; open since 70 years, this is a real institution in town
Favorite Dish: glace pain d'epice (ginger bread ice cream)