Preplanning is the key to getting a seat on one of Europe’s busiest trains. I booked my TGV ticket online, several days in advance (visit http://www.voyages-sncf.com, choose your route, and pay by credit card online). The journey was a breeze once at the Paris Lyon TGV station. I zipped through the French countryside at lightning speed and was in Lyon in just over two hours.
Candice, our friend Abby, and her grandfather Jean-Paul met me at the station in Lyon. We hurried back to Jean-Paul’s home where I met Chantelle, his wife. After a little visit, we were off to explore the town.
Starting at the Cathedral, on the highest summit, we made our way downhill through woody parks, medieval cobbled streets, the Renaissance city, and finally the 20th century “new” town. It was a delight to have Jean-Paul and Chantelle as my private guides. I felt so special that they would devote a day to showing me around their hometown. An added bonus was visiting with Candice and Abby, not in Orange Park, but in France.
One of the highlights was our dining experience. The Restaurant Les Adrets (here is the TripAdvisor link) was located in the heart of the old medieval town and seemed to draw attention from only the locals. Jean-Paul told me that reservations were essential, and luckily, he had booked us a table! There was no menu and very few choices, but that did not matter, because the food was divine!
For my starter, I had toasted bread loaded with greens, olive oil, and fresh anchovies. It was amazing! A funny thing: when I asked Jean-Paul how to say “anchovy” in French, he laughed and said, “It is a French word, so it is anchovy.”
I’ve had a lot of salmon in the past few weeks, but Restaurant Les Adrets’s salmon plat was the best so far. It came perfectly prepared and fresh from the sea. The local wine from “Cote du Rhone” was presented in a traditional “pot” or glass bottle, only available in the Lyon area. The bottle had several inches of glass at the bottom. I speculated the bottles were made that way so that they would not tip over after a bottle or two!
Later, we returned to Jean-Paul’s and Chantelle’s home where we sat, talked, and visited. This was the best! I picked up so much about French culture, protocol, and customs. Like any grandparents, they were proud of their grandchildren and their immersion into their (French) culture. I am truly thankful to have had an opportunity to experience Lyon with the perfect hosts in Jean-Paul and Chantelle.
Candice and Abby, thanks for showing me around!