From Gare de Lyon, Paris, we board a train to Lyon, only a couple of hours away. We are travelling by TGV or ‘train a grande vitesse’, which simply means…very fast train. And that it is, there’s barely any time to grab a coffee from the food cart before you arrive at Lyon Part Dieu Station.
Lyon is a lovely city with clean, cobble-stoned streets, wide squares and beautiful period buildings. It’s a very different feel from Paris, and for us, a most welcome change.
We are staying at another Citadines in Lyon and we are looking forward to cooking with some great local produce. Which is exactly what we do the morning after we arrive. The Marche Quai Saint-Antoine (Saint-Antoine Quay Market) occupies the banks of the Saone every day of the week, except Mondays, from early in the morning until around midday. There’s an array of great provincial goods – sausages, cheeses, fruits and vegetables, flowers, breads, olives – all sorts. And it’s such a lovely way to start the morning and practice a bit of French! We stocked up on chicken, potatoes, salad greens, tomatoes, eggs, the most beautiful strawberries, cheese, a fresh loaf of bread and a sausage (mushroom flavoured).
With that crusty fresh bread, we just had a very simple breakfast of bread with butter, but for lunch, we made a gorgeous ploughman’s style meal and it tasted amazing!
Lyon built on a narrow peninsula flanked by the Saone and Rhone Rivers and the point at which these two rivers meet is called La Confluence. At this exact point a set of train tracks head into the water. The rails were once used by the Mulatiere’s dam lock in the 1950’s. There was a workshop at the tip of the peninsula where rolling stock and maintenance equipment were kept and the rails transported tip trucks from the workshop to the dam.
La Confluence has always been the seedy part of town – home to prisons, slaughterhouses and the city’s red light district. Recent redevelopment has occurred and this area once considered to be a wasteland is starting to flourish. New museums (Musee des Confluences), the green and orange cubes (orange is the headquarters of a real estate developer and contemporary furniture showroom), the green is home to Euronews).
We see all of this on our free Lyon City Cruise of both the Rhone and Saone Rivers (which was free thanks to our Lyon City Card).