Traveling - Les Halles in Lyon
As tradition dictates, all friends and family should be subjected to
slide shows of boring vacation photos after a loved one's recent trip.
BUT, if you like food and believe in vacationing in a manner of
purposeful eating, then you will wish you came with me and Dan as we
traveled "au stomach" and perhaps then, our photos won't be too
painful. To base a vacation on eating, what better place to start than
in the South of France, where we visited LA Lunchbox South of France correspondents, Brynn and Mark Smedra, and journeyed to Lyon, Aix en Provence and of course, El Bulli in Roses, Spain - Restaurant Week's 2007 best restaurant in the world.
Part I - Les Halles in Lyon, France
Lyon is said to be the gastronomical capital of France. As a former Roman empire capital,
the city is situated between the Rhone and Saone rivers, nestled in
some of the best wine areas in the world, like the Beaujolais and Cote
de Rhone. From St. Cannat, where Mark and Brynn lives (near Aix en
Provence), we drove three hours north through the beautiful countryside to Lyon.
We timed it so that we would arrive in Lyon when Les Halles opened at 1pm.
Les Halles, is now officially named the Paul Bocuse Les Halles. I was surprised how modern the building was that enclosed all the food stalls.
I had imagined something a little more chaotic and partly open air,
like the Forum Les Halles in Paris. But it reminded me instead of the Grand Central Station Market and San Francisco's Ferry Building.
Not all the stalls are opened on the same day, we are opened, and seasonal stalls like the oyster bars, are only
around when the catch is fresh. But even in the middle of week, there was plenty for us to forage from.
We tried to stay together but our stomachs that directed us to our morsels of choice for the picnic lunch
we were building. We were to divide and conquer and share our treasures
in one hour.
What we found: fresh, organic fruit and vegetables, artisanal cheeses,
bread, pastries, macaroons (both savory and sweet), charcuterie, foie
gras and wine.
After perusing all the goodies, we each made our purchases and walked to a nearby
park. At the park, we watched some kids skateboard as we drank
champagne, and ate our bread and cheese, foie gras, cherries,
charcuterie and white nectarines.
Our not so light meal left us feeling like we could only move at a
glacial pace. Which was a lovely contrast to the slick moves of
Lyonnaise skateboarders. It would take a tugboat of caffeine to get us
off that bench.
We settled on getting espressos. Close enough.