Lyon, France

During our visit in Lyon (pics), France’s 3rd largest city, Paris was subjected to three days of terror which began with the attack on the offices of Charlie Hebdo, a satirical periodical.  Certainly, the people of Lyon felt the effects and we saw the signs of support for the people of Paris as well as Lyon’s Unity rally which took place at the same time as the one in Paris.

Nous sommes Charlie

From the 15th to the 18th century, Lyon developed into the leading textile and silk weaving center of Europe.  At its peak, Lyon boasted 100,000 weaving looms.  In the medieval section of Lyon, know as Vieux Lyon and close by neighborhood of Croix Rousse, the silk weavers built passageways that would allow them to move from one workshop to another without exposing their materials to the weather.

Traboule in Vieux Lyon

These passageways are called traboules.  They wind their way through apartment buildings, under streets and into courtyards.  In all there are 315 traboules that link 230 streets.  Most were built by the silk weavers in the 19th century although a couple in Vieux Lyon date from Roman times.  Many of them pass through lovely courtyards and wend their way up fabulous spiral staircases.  It was quite fun locating and exploring these interesting “hidden” parts of Lyon.

Snails - Les Halles de Lyon

We also had fun exploring French foods through open air markets as well as through Lyon’s famed indoor market Les Halles de Lyon which has over 60 purveyors of gourmet French foods.  There are the cheeses, sausages, snails, frog legs, pastries, the brioche, the pate and the quenelle.

Galette des Rios

One particularly fun pastry item is the galette des Rois.  This is a thin cake made with flaky puff pastry layers with a frangipane or apple filling.  It is traditionally used to celebrate Epiphany and is generally sold in the bakeries during the month of January.  In addition, a small figurine called a la feve is hidden within the cake and the person who has the figurine in their slice becomes king for the day and is responsible to offer the next cake.  The figurines have become popular collector items and some bakeries offer their own unique line of la feve that may follow certain themes.  A paper crown is also included with the cake so that the person finding the figurine can be properly “crowned”.

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