Christine! Vieux Lyon, Court Bouillon, Funicular/Basilica, botanical paintings, Mojgan Iranian restaurant – Lyon

Our friend Christine, who we met four years ago in Norway, took the train up from Provence, where she lives with her French husband (Christine is from China) to meet us for the day in Lyon, which was a treat. On a cold day that began with rain and snow and then cleared, with shocking blue sky and a bracing wind, we wandered through lovely Vieux Lyon, the old city with narrow cobble stoned lanes, pretty old stucco buildings, occasional alluring shops, bakeries and cafes. Lyon reportedly has the most Renaissance-era buildings of any city in France.

I bought some bright pink pralines (a Lyon speciality) at Pralus Pastry Shop (27 rue Saint Jean), recommended by the woman we say next to at dinner at Le Musee. The special bread dotted with pink pralines looked too sweet to eat. At a shop specializing in botanical drawings, Vincent Jeannerot’s Aquarelles Botaniques, we bought elegant linen tea towels (as gifts) and a print.

With Christine in Vieux Lyon

Lunch was at Court Bouillon, recommended by our hotel owner Laurent and it was excellent, (although Christine seemed less impressed…she’s truly French now.😂). Later we took the funicular up to see the dramatic white Basilica that towers over the city high on a hill, not unlike Paris’s Sacre Coeur. It was stunning up close, set against the blue sky, and crazy ornate inside. The view from on high looking down at the city and confluence of the two rivers was very dramatic. It was also very cold thanks to the wind. We got a coffee and hot chocolate at an elegant cafe next door.

Dinner was Iranian food, for a change, but similarly elegant to the French meals we’ve had. The chef at Mojgan is female and came out to chat. Very lovely. She has three school age kids and didn’t start cooking until after they were born. She studied with Paul Bocuse, has won a big chef award and is the rare female chef in France, let alone Iranian-born female chef cooking French-inspired Iranian food. (pomegranate juice with sparkling wine; eggplant with some exotic spices, duck with Fois gras sauce etc.)

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