France’s Fabled Food Market: Les Halles de Lyon

In France, a country famous for cuisine, many cities have central food markets known as halles, and in the gastronomic capital of Lyon, you’ll find one of the best: Les Halles de Lyon Paul Bocuse. Named for the famous Lyon chef who helped popularize the nouvelle cuisine style of French cooking, Les Halles is a foodie mecca where some 60 stalls and restaurants will tempt you with fresh and fabulous fare. It’s a featured stop on our French Waterways river cruise, as well as the Culinary French Waterways river cruise that adds more food-oriented activities on select dates. Either way, you will relish the chance to savor the most refined cuisine in the world.

Lyon: France’s Second City

Vantage’s Deluxe ms River Discovery II glides to the crossroads of northern and southern France on both the Saône and Rhône rivers to reach France’s famous second city. With its cobbled streets, medieval churches, and impressive Renaissance architecture, Lyon remains a prosperous city known for its art, museums, history, and gastronomy. You’ll be in the heart of a city where foodies dine at the best restaurants and also at authentic bouchons, where you can sample a particular style of French comfort food that is distinctly Lyonnaise. There are more than 2,000 restaurants in Lyon, many located in the central district called the Presqu’ile, and more than a dozen are honored with Michelin stars.

Discover Lyon’s Food Mecca

The chefs of Lyon frequent one special food market to stock up on the top-quality ingredients they incorporate into their recipes — Les Halles de Lyon Paul Bocuse. Bocuse once said that in cooking, there are “two secrets to success: quality and creativity.” Both are in abundance here. Wander the aisles where you wil be overwhelmed by the sights, sounds, smells, and tastes that delight the world’s finest chefs and gourmands. Here, more than 60 food traders showcase their products—a dazzling array of fresh-baked breads, cakes, and pastries; cheeses from all over France; charcuterie stalls brimming with pates, smoked meats, and sausages; rows of locally produced honey, preserves, olive oils, herbs, and other prepared foodstuffs; fresh seafood and shellfish (oysters are a specialty); and plenty of organic fruits and vegetables.

There’s always time to sample. Sit at one of the oyster bars or ham bars to choose something new to taste. Try local specialties including gâteau de foie (chicken liver souffle), saucisson brioche (pork sausage cooked in pastry), and cervelle de canuts (a cheese spread with herbs, garlic, onions, and a splash of vinegar for a tangy finish). The selections of sweets are seemingly endless, including the creations of confectioners and chocolatiers that take beautiful forms and colors as well as tastes.

Don’t worry about over-indulging…. Lyon is a great walking city with its riverside quais, pedestrian-only squares, and hilltop Notre Dame de Fourvière Basilica, which is also reachable by funicular, in case you’re in a hurry to get back to the temptations of Les Halles.

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