Basilica Clock in Lyon France

Walking the Walk in Lyon

In France, Travel by Daryl & Mindi Hirsch

Considering how great the food is in Lyon France, it’s a good thing that we like to walk. We love everything about this French city, especially the markets and the bouchons.

We tend to eat a prodigious amount of food when we travel, so we need to walk a lot in order to break even with the calories. In fact, there were some days in previous trips to Paris, Lisbon, and Mexico City where we walked as much as 8 to 10 miles.

Luckily, we like to walk.

On this trip to France, due to weather and the rental car, we hadn’t walked enough. Until Lyon.

We parked our rental car upon our arrival and didn’t use it again until driving to the airport. We took one subway and one funicular. Otherwise, we walked.

Lyon is a highly walkable city, which is a great thing because it’s also one of the great food cities of the world.

We had heard that French people spend a big chunk of their income on food, and we can understand why. The food really is that good. Plus, they don’t have to spend so much money on insurance, education, retirement, etc. – but that’s a different topic altogether.

Les Halles de Lyon Paul Bocuse in Lyon

We started our first full day in Lyon with breakfast at our B&B. We then walked to Les Halles de Lyon – Paul Bocuse.

We spent hours exploring, tasting and photographing the market. What a feast for the eyes and taste buds. There are over fifty vendors selling top quality cheese, pastries, meat, chicken, fish chocolate, wine and more.

There were no bargains, but sometimes you have to pay for quality. And we did.

Desserts at Seve in Lyon France

Seve Desserts

Chopping Salmon in Lyon France

Chopping Salmon

Foie Gras Cornucopia in Lyon France

Foie Gras Cornucopia

Bresse Chickens in Lyon France

Bresse Chickens – Heads Included

Charcuterie Counter in Lyon France

Charcuterie Counter

Escargots in Lyon France

Escargots in Three Sizes

Market Produce in Lyon France

Market Produce

France Shaped Cheese in Lyon France

France Shaped Cheese

Prawns in Lyon France


Once we got our fill, we left knowing that we’d be back again.

Basilica of Notre-Dame de Fouvière

We walked through the city, enjoying the views along the Rhone and Saône rivers, crossing bridges and stopping to window shop along the way. We walked through Place Bellecour and into Vieux Lyon, where we took the funicular straight up to the impressive Basilica of Notre-Dame de Fouvière.

View Through the Funicular Window in Lyon France

Through the Funicular Window

Basilica of Notre-Dame de Fourviere in Lyon France

Basilica of Notre-Dame de Fourviere

Basilica Clock in Lyon France

Basilica Clock

View from Fourviere Hill in Lyon France

View from Fourviere Hill

Vieux Lyon

We strolled through Vieux Lyon, and we appreciated the architecture, shops, cafes and people watching. We stopped at Terre Adélice for some Saint-Marcellin flavored glace, which tasted earthy, sweet and surprisingly good.

Vieux Lyon Street in Lyon France

Vieux Lyon Street

Glacier Terre Adelice in Lyon France

Glacier Terre Adelice


We then walked up the hills to the Croix-Rousse neighborhood since we liked it so much the night before. We bumped into a gallery night that reminded us much of First Friday in Philadelphia. We got to see a variety of local art, we met some local artists and we nibbled on snacks along the way. We even learned that the French drink box wine too.

Gallery Night in Lyon France

Gallery Night

Gallery Night Spread with Box Wine in Lyon France

Gallery Night Spread with Box Wine

French Couple in Lyon France

Lyon Couple

Philadelphia Couple in Lyon France

Philadelphia Couple in Lyon

Disappointing Dinner at Le Potager des Halles

We left the gallery fun for a dinner reservation at Le Potager des Halles, a restaurant that had been recommended to us by a wine dealer in Philadelphia. Although the food looked good as evidenced by the photos, the execution in the kitchen was lacking.

For example, the octopus dish was way overcooked and the ice cream quenelle arrived at the table broken and melting. Plus, we felt that we were seated in a section for tourists or, as coined during a previous trip to Rome, in the “ghetto in the ghetto”. Alas, it was our least favorite meal in Lyon.

Gazpacho at Le Potager des Halles in Lyon France


Pretentious Plating at Le Potager des Halles in Lyon France

Pretentious Plating

Overcooked Octopus at Le Potager des Halles in Lyon France

Overcooked Octopus

Chocolate Dessert Served with Melting Ice Cream at Le Potager des Halles in Lyon France

Chocolate Dessert Served with Melting Ice Cream

Fantastic Lunch at Café des Féderations

The next day started much the same with breakfast at the B&B and a walk to the market, this time to buy gifts at Sève and Voisin. We abstained from tasting more treats since we had late lunch reservations at Café des Fédérations.

We ordered a bottle of house Beaujolais Morgon wine and picked out our main courses and desserts. Starters were served family-style and included a smoked fish spread, lentil salad, pickled pig’s feet salad, charcuterie and crusty bread. We earned respect for eating and enjoying it all.

Our main courses were Quenelle de Brochet (fish dumpling) and Braised Pig Cheeks. Both plates were delicious. We finished the meal with molten chocolate cake, one last praline tart and espressos served with Valrhona chocolate.

The bouchon’s atmosphere reminded us of a delicatessen – casual and unpretentious. Needless to say, we loved it.

Smoked Fish Spread at Cafe des Federation in Lyon France

Smoked Fish Spread

Lentil Salad at Cafe des Federation in Lyon France

Lentil Salad

Pickled Pigs Feet Salad at Cafe des Federation in Lyon France

Pickled Pigs Feet Salad

Charcuterie at Cafe des Federation in Lyon France


Quenelle de Brochet at Cafe des Federation in Lyon France

Quenelle de Brochet

Braised Pig Cheeks with Potatoes at Cafe des Federation in Lyon France

Braised Pig Cheeks with Potatoes

Molten Chocolate Cake at Cafe des Federation in Lyon France

Molten Chocolate Cake

Praline Tart at Cafe des Federation in Lyon France

Praline Tart

Last Night in Lyon

We spent the rest of the day walking and enjoying the sites of the city. We were so full from lunch that we shared a dozen briny oysters for a light dinner. Though simply served, the oysters were delicious and tasted as if they had just been plucked from the ocean.

We walked lots more after dinner and made a stop at a dive bar called Cassoulet, Whisky, Ping-Pong for one last drink. We toasted Lyon and our eventual return to this city filled with light, color and flavor. Then we walked back to the hotel, adding a few more miles on our feet before beginning our long travel day home.

Briny Oysters in Lyon France

Briny Oysters

Dive Bar in Lyon France

Dive Bar

Good Night Lyon France

Good Night Lyon

Hungry for great food in Lyon? Check out our Lyon Food Guide for great food and drink options in Lyon.

Research Lyon Hotels

Click here to research the best rates for hotels in Lyon France. Or, if you want access to a kitchen, click here to find a great Airbnb apartment.

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About the Author

Saveur Magazine's BEST TRAVEL BLOG award winners Daryl and Mindi Hirsch share their culinary travel experiences and recipes on the 2foodtrippers website and YouTube. The married Food and Travel content creators live in Lisbon, Portugal.

We update our articles regularly. Some updates are major while others are minor link changes and spelling corrections. Let us know if you see anything that needs to be updated in this article.

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