Manger du lion

Lyon, or Lyons as it’s often spelled in English, is the third largest French city.  It’s located in the east of France, about in the middle of the country. I enjoyed a weekend here enormously; Lyon is very like Paris, but it costs a lot less to live there. The Rhône and Saône rivers converge to form the peninsula where the city was founded. The impressive basilica Notre Dame de Fourvière dominates the hill above the city. For the faint of heart, there’s a funicular (I walked; no faint hearts here.)

Its importance used to be based on silk weaving. Some of the old streets have small canals in the center where the fabric was washed and the houses had hooks to hang lengths of drying fabric from under the eaves. Today, it’s a center of French gastronomie and boasts many Michelin starred restaurants.  It was also the home of the Lumière brothers, the earlier pioneers of French film.  There are also several museums, the Musée Lumière, Museum of Resistants and Deportation, and the Musée des Beaux Arts are just three. Vieux Lyon, the Medieval and Renaissance part of the city, has cobbled streets, narrow passages, and the oldest buildings in the city. Jules Hardouin-Mansart built the impressive City Hall. Lyon is easy to get to via the TGV and it’s near some other great places to visit, including Pérouges and Beaune.

Today’s expression, manger du lion (manshay due leeohn) literally means “to eat some lion.” Figuratively, it means to be suddenly angry or combative. Lyon and lion are pronounced the same in French and there are plenty of lion statutes and images throughout, including on the city seal. Dining at a Michelin starred restaurant while in Lyon and then walking through the cobbled streets will surely calm even the most combative person.

Lyon Pocket Guide

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About Patricia Gilbert

Patricia Gilbert is a French teacher. She's Canadian, lives in the United States, but dreams of living in France. Follow her on Instagram @Onequalitythefinest and on Twitter @1qualthefinest.
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