Last July, we visited family in Voiron, nearby Grenoble, which was an opportunity to briefly visit Lyon, just for a day. Although we were there in December for the Star Wars Exhibit, we only got to scratch the surface of this living and dynamic city and with little time, once again, we had to make choices ! We suggest you discover the story of our beautiful summer day in the heart of Lyon, between must-see and odd activities!
Little bouchon and basilica, the Lyon must-sees
The most fervent representative of the Lyon gastronomy remains the petit bouchon, it is imperative to test one during a stay in Lyon! It is a type of typical local restaurant with a friendly and homely atmosphere and which serves a traditional, rustic and generous cuisine washed down with a good wine of the region. Always curious and eager to discover new flavors, we found the address of a bouchon to try out located in the heart of the city center through the Le Petit Paumé website. Created several years ago by students from Lyon, this website is now a very complete guide for restaurants, bars and cultural attractions in Lyon, a very good tool that was recommended to us by several friends from Lyon! Well, in our case, it must be said that the result was not good. After browsing the website for a long time in the search of an affordable bouchon, we selected the Pique Assiette, located at the rue de la Baleine. We were accompanied by Nath’s sister, and besides the manager’s racist joke that was kind of hard to swallow (“It’s hot today but you must be accustomed to it!”), we unfortunately had a not-so friendly service and the dishes lacked flavor, we just didn’t understand the 4 out of 5 stars rating on the website! We definitely will have to try out another bouchon when we get back there! The second restaurant we went to in Lyon that evening was much better! We ate delicious burgers at the Café 203. It is a charming restaurant located in a busy street of the city center with impeccable service, you absolutely have to try it out! It was so good that we ate it all before even thinking about taking photos!
Feel free to click on the images to enlarge them!
Let’s take a little height now to reach the Basilica of Notre-Dame de Fourvière, ideally located on the Fourvière hill overlooking the entire city. The road to get there from downtown is particularly steep and winding, it was really not easy to drive there as a tourist! Once arrived, we noticed that it was possible to get there by subway which would have been perhaps simpler. Upon arrival, the show is already waiting for you. The many sculptures adorning the facade each have their meaning and sublimate the building here and there. The majestic statue of the Lion of Judah guards the entrance, unperturbed. This 19th century statue was designed and sculpted by Dufraisne and represents strength, vigilance, justice, wisdom and courage. Inside, after walking among many tourists, we have been truly shocked by the size and excess with which the building was designed and decorated. Gilding, stained glass windows and statues are scattered all around the religious building and we just didn’t know where to look! We loved to discover and explore the different sections of the Basilica although we were sometimes puzzled by it. We keep in memory this beautiful golden mosaic in the basement representing a holy scene where you have to put €1 to let it illuminate itself and thus enjoy the show, a shame. However, we thought the gallery made of Virgin statues offered by several christian communities of the World was pretty interesting, a beautiful symbol. The other highlight of the place is undoubtedly the stunning panoramic views overlooking Lyon and its periphery. For maximum benefit, you have to take an unusual visit which ends on the roofs of the basilica. This was part of our planning but unfortunately we were too late and missed the last visit of the day, we were very disappointed!
Odd visit at the Musée Miniature et Cinéma
To finish off the day in style, we’d like to tell you about a somewhat unusual activity, a little bit off the beaten track. Knowing that we would have little time to visit Lyon, we had done a lot of research to find a fun unusual activity and quickly, the Musée Miniature et Cinéma (Miniature and Cinema Museum) caught our eye. We are, as you surely know, big movie fans and we always jump at the chance to incorporate this passion in our travels as we did in New York City or in Roubaix. This time again, we were very pleasantly surprised. Far from the dusty and boring grunt museum exhibitions, the Musée Miniature et Cinéma displays many fun and original movie props, costumes and models used in many prestigious movies. V for Vendetta, Batman, Mrs. Doubtfire, Independence Day, Alien, Star Wars, Perfume, X-Men, the examples abound and there is certainly something for everyone. Enough to instantly fall back into childhood and spend hours observing the props, read shooting anecdotes and learn about the techniques and tricks used when making a movie. The best part of the tour is, we believe, what lies in that dark room mysteriously closed by a curtain preceded by a sign that says: “The area behind the curtain is not recommended for children or sensitive people”. It didn’t take much more to pique our curiosity and what was behind that curtain did not disappoint. We found ourselves facing the Alien Queen which appeared in Aliens and Alien Vs Predator. It is a beautiful 3 meters high, chained and mechanically activated animatronics robot accompanied by sound and light effects making it larger than life, pure magic! We stayed several minutes to observe it, absolutely fascinated by this technical feat. It was really something!
Feel free to click on the images to enlarge them!
The last part of the visit was devoted to miniature models made by Dan Ohlmann, the Musée Miniature et Cinéma creator. It is an absolutely unique collection of reconstructions and, although we weren’t really excited by this part of the tour, we must recognize that the thoroughness and attention to detail on thoses pieces are quite impressive. Finally, the “extravagant Dolls” exhibition by Julien Martinez was the temporary exhibition of the moment and it left us quite perplexed. These very expressive and perfectly staged dolls were kind of creepy and, quite frankly, we just wouldn’t take one home with us! What, you’ve never seen the Chuckie movies?!
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