Lyon Food and Wine Tours
Visit the Underrated Gastronomic capital of France
Paris may be the de facto capital of the country, but Lyon is the gastronomic capital of France. And if France is known internationally as the home of great food, then it’s no mean feat for Lyon to be regarded as the country’s gastronomic centre. Fabled as the place to embrace the true art of living, or 'art de vivre', Lyon’s near-Mediterranean climate, a thriving cultural scene and the welcoming attitude of locals make it an unforgettable destination for all the right reasons. In the cultural shadow of the capital, France’s second city is undeservedly a lesser known foodie destination, but that’s just how the locals like it. Here the focus is on local produce and fantastic wines, combined to create rich, memorable dishes that you’ll find on menus all over France – all away from the crowded streets of Paris.
With principles of quality and simplicity in mind, a few classics tend to dominate Lyonnaise cuisine. Pork is found in many popular dishes, and the general rule that ‘tout est bon dans le cochon’, loosely means that if it’s pig, it’s getting served. Other well known staples expertly blend simple techniques with locally sourced ingredients, including salade lyonnaise, a green salad served with lardons, croutons and a poached egg, as well as the mighty gratin dauphinois. It won’t take you long to realise that the foundations of French cuisine are all around and, as a result, it’s almost impossible to find a bad place to eat. There are around 2,000 restaurants inside the city, from Michelin-starred establishments to family-run bistros, all offering unique takes on the classics with rich, hearty food bursting with flair and flavour.
For a closer look at any city’s relationship with food you have to take a stroll through its produce markets; Lyon is no different. A wander through Les Halles from famous French chef Paul Bocuse is sure to delight your foodie senses, with more meats, cheeses and beautifully fresh food than you can possibly imagine.
Admittedly you’re never too far away from fantastic wine no matter where you are in France, but sitting at the meeting point of two great rivers, the Rhône and the Saône, Lyon and the surrounding area is especially renowned for its wine production. Two nearby wine countries of note are Beaujolais and Côtes du Rhône, which together produce some of the best reds in in the world. Running south from Lyon, the Rhône valley in particular is famed for its stunning vineyards, which are well worth a tour amidst the lush French countryside.
With an impossible number of high class restaurants alongside the freshest of ingredients and peerless wines, there’s no doubt that Lyon is firmly established as a world leading gastronomic paradise. There’s certainly no better place to savour the true art de vivre.