Lyon Capital Of Gastronomy

Ah Lyon! We had to come down to this city after all! A city I know darn well and a bit partial to, because it’s my home town!

Lyon is the city where I was born, went to school, worked, and started my Drama (theater) venture.  Not only I, but my mother and brother were both born in Lyon as well.  Since my mother and brother stayed more local than I did they have kept that typical “ accent Lyonnais ” more than I did too.

I’m so partial to Lyon that I once wrote a letter to an American magazine asking them why the heck they spelled it “Lyons instead of “Lyon” and they gave me the lame explanation that according to the English language both spellings are correct.  I know that’s true, but that just doesn’t make any sense to me.  Since in French, there is only one spelling and that’s L.Y.O.N with no ‘S’,that’s how I will spell it all throughout this post.

Few Facts about Lyon

Lyon is the second largest economic metropolitan of France after Paris with over two million inhabitants and the largest subway system after Paris as well.  The city is located in the Rhône Alpes region and it’s the capital of the Rhône department.  Lyon has 9 arrondissements versus 18 for Paris.

Lyon is about two hours from the most famous mountains in the country such as the Massif Central and the Alpes, and about three hours from the Mediterranean sea.  Lyon is called the “doors of the south” and enjoys a nice climate usually much warmer than Paris in both summer and winter.  Most times, if you hop on a TGV train in Paris and get off in Lyon (2 hours later) you will feel instantly warmer as you get off the train.  Lyon is 470 km (300 miles) from Paris to its North and 320 km (180 miles) from Marseille to its South.

Lyon is also a student city with four universities and t’s the capital of gastronomy.

Capital of Gastronomy

The city is home to what we call “bouchons” which are a type of restaurants found only in Lyon where the food served is only local.  Les bouchons de Lyon ( the Lyon’s bouchons) are very popular in the city and with tourists.

The bouchons were born in the 19th century during the silk industry boom when Lyon became the capital of the silk.  If you are on a diet, however, I do not recommend you to go to a bouchon, because the food is very, very rich in this type of restaurants.

Lyon is home to many types of food and dishes such the saussisson (typical type of large sausage) cooked or dried (saussisson cuit or saussisson sec). The Quenelle, which is a stick souffle (or dumpling) made out of flour, eggs, cream and fish.  It’s usually served accompanied with tomato sauce or a white sauce, either steamed or baked (it’s delicious).

Lyon is also home to a vegetable called cardon not found anywhere else. Usually cooked in water and then backed with Swiss cheese on top.

The cuisine of Lyon was certainly not known for being light, but famous Chef Paul Bocuse, native of the city, has brought not only fame to the food of Lyon but lighten the fat traditional French cuisine of this area.  Bocuse owns several restaurant in and around Lyon.

L’ accent de Lyon

People in Lyon are known to have a specific regional accent called “l’accent Lyonnais” as well as a good doze of slang “argot or jargon” that is not necessarily known in other part of the country.  Slangs such as “gone” for “garcon”(boy), “gonse” for “homme”(man), “qu’elle heure c’est” instead of the correct “qu’elle heure il-est? or qu’elle heure est-il? (what time is it?). Also words ending in “é” sound more like “ai” and the “ah” sound is much deeper than in Paris, for example.

Guignol and Gnafron

Guignol and Gnafron are the name of two famous muppets created in Lyon and which became some kind of emblem to the city ( you can see them on the picture above).  The creator of the muppets was Laurent Mourguet.  This artist created Guignol after  himself; jovial, rather smart and with a sense of justice. And h created later, Gnafron after his collaborator and friend liking Beaujolais wine a bit too much (thus the red face).  Purposely, both muppets speak with a very strong “accent Lyonnais”.  You can see Guignol and Gnafron at the “Theatre Municipal de la ville de Lyon” (Municipal Theater of the city of Lyon).

Parc de la Tête d’OR

Le parc de la tête d’Or (park of the golden head) got it’s name because according to a legend a golden head representing Christ was buried under the ground where the park is now standing.

The Park is located in the 6th arrondissement and it’s the largest city park in France and one of the largest city parks in Europe and it includes a lake, a rose garden, an exotic garden, a zoo, a velodrome, and lots of green areas.  The park is famous for attracting wedding parties for pictures.

Famous People Born in Lyon

Quite a few famous people where born, died or lived in the city of Lyon over the centuries.

The Old Lyon

The New Lyon

Please, leave your comments below…


9 thoughts on “Lyon Capital Of Gastronomy”

  1. That was interesting Sylviane.

    Doesn’t it make you mad when they misspell things. That’s one reason I never took my maiden name back because no one ever spelled it right. Just irritating.

    Your hometown sounds so special. Having food from only there and a particular accent. That’s really kind of cool Sylviane. I bet you miss it and the videos were an added bonus. Thanks for sharing such a beautiful place with us. Your hometown! 🙂

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    1. Hi Adrienne,

      The saddest part of that misspelling is that it’s how it’s spelled in the US for the most part and it’s considered correct. As I was just telling Carol, it just bugs me, though 🙂

      Thanks for coming by and glad you enjoyed 🙂

  2. That’s so funny that you mentioned the spelling because when I first saw “Lyon” I thought, “Where’s the S?” I have always seen it written with an S! I guess that’s what you get for living in America 🙂

    This sounds like my kind of city. I love the idea of local food, which is so hard to get around here unless you really find a very specialized place and it’s also usually expensive. As for rich food, I don’t mind that either! I wouldn’t mind a nice quenelle sitting on my desk right now…

    I can also see why the park attracts weddings. It’s gorgeous. So colorful! So here’s my idea of a perfect summer afternoon… a nice fattening lunch at a delicious bouchons then a walk through the park and the zoo. And maybe a nap on the park bench 🙂

    As always, I enjoyed a trip to a new place! Thank you for all the fun information.
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    1. Hi Carol,

      Isn’t it a shame that many people in the US think that this city spells Lyons? Yuck, it always bugged the heck out me 🙂

      I really like your idea of a perfect day in Lyon, I’m sure you would love those quenelles too. I love this dish and it’s one of those that I miss here.

  3. Hi Sylviane,

    thanks for sharing your insights about your home town…

    Although we usually try to bypass Lyon on our to and from the South, I second you on the fact that it’s truly the door to the south because the climate changes rapidly, either way, once you pass by Lyon.

    Unfortunately, we have never taken the time so far to explore it further ! Shame on me…

    Be blessed


  4. Sylvianne,

    Loved this post especially all the little facts you included including the famous people section.

    strange about the “S”. That happens with Marseille as well. Non French spell it with an S too. Not always but often enough. It’s just weird to me if you ask me. It’s a name. You can’t change the name even if it’s just by adding an S.

    I digress, Lyon was on our list of places to live before we chose Marseille to live in but alas the ocean and mountains called us to move to the south.
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    1. Hi Annie,

      Glad you enjoy the post, and I’m glad I added that famous people section who are or were from Lyon.

      I totally agree with you about the fact that a name can’t be changed or translated. That’s kind of grammar rule as I remember learning in school a long time ago. We do not write New Yorks or Washingtons in French do we? That’s just one of the stupid things that can’t be explained I guess!

      I’m sure that if I had a choice where I wanted to live in France, I would have chosen the water as well 🙂 But you don’t choose where you’re born 🙂

      Thanks for your input, Annie!

  5. Sylviane,

    Thank you for the wonderful tour of your home town! It was not only wonderful to take this virtual tour, but I also need to eat afterward. LOL

    It seems to be a beautiful place to visit. Do you miss living there?

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    1. Hi Donna,

      To answer your question, you know how it is, you don’t appreciate something as much as when you don’t have it anymore. I took everything in France for less than granted all the years I was there, now I totally cherish it, even the people, for pete’s sake, which I did like at all in the past.

      That’s the way it goes I guess. Now, yes, I do miss all this.

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