Saturday, May 26, 2018

A Lyon Postcard -- Au Marché

Less down-time this trip, which is considerably less "Slow" than I prefer, especially because of the complications of the train strike. Our bus travel to Lyon from Paris went well enough, but took much more time and was less comfortable than the train would have been -- comfortable enough, but the slight stress of not being familiar with the system (which, believe me, includes no coddling at all!). The tiny toilet (and me wearing my new jumpsuit with an unbuttoned shirt over it -- not so easy to manage in those surroundings, especially given my supreme desire that none of my clothes touch any of the surfaces. . . ) And not having realized how limited the options would be for buying food enroute -- we had only enough change to buy one sandwich and one bottle of water at the station vending machines. For a six-hour trip -- which we embarked on with empty tummies, breakfast having been skipped in the hurry to the early bus.  . .

But at least now we know how bus travel works here, at least on one of the lines (FlixBus).  . .

And the AirBnB our taxi driver delivered us to is quite comfortable, functional, and quite well equipped. Importantly, there's a decent little kitchen, and since I was speaking of empty tummies, you might understand the focus of this post. . . our visit to the Marché de la Croix Rousse, just up the hill from us, a marvellous market that stretches over half a kilometres.

Gorgeous produce, beautifully arranged, but perhaps what pleased me most was how friendly all the vendors were and how readily they accepted our French -- no exaggerated puzzlement over our pronunciation, no immediate switch into English. . . I don't think it's because our French has improved dramatically, but we were able to chat with this Monsieur about the obscenely large asparagus he displayed but wasn't selling -- I'd assumed it would be too tough to eat, but he assured me that once he'd peeled it, he sliced off pieces to eat raw and found it delicious.

At another stand, the young vendeuse came over to offer help, but I directed her to Paul, saying that he was the one buying and I was just looking and admiring. She applauded our division of labour, and then I joked with her about how dangerous it was for us to be there given that we were only in Lyon for three days, and there was only so much food two travellers could eat in that short time.

These beautiful endives, for example, we had to resist. . .

And these sumptuously sculptural artichokes -- magnificent, aren't they?!

We resisted them as well, but Paul chose richly coloured tomatoes from the selection the vendeuse pointed out after she'd ascertained that we wanted to eat them for lunch -- if we'd wanted them for tomorrow, she'd have had us choose from less ripe fruit.  He also scooped up several handfuls of the beautiful thin green beans -- haricots verts--that are so much harder to find at home -- and so much more expensive when we do find them, and rarely as sweet and fresh. . .

We didn't buy these mushrooms -- Mousserons from the Auvergne region, which we back-packed through so many years ago. . .

Nor did we scoop up any of these beautiful oranges into a metal pan to be weighed and bagged and taken home with us. . .

But I did ask the vendor who makes up these beautiful bouquets for a botte of pivoines (peonies), an 8Euro indulgence I couldn't resist even though we'll be leaving before they're fully opened. Had a little chat with this vendor as well -- I hadn't known the word botte before in this context (it also means "boot") and was trying to remember whether I'd learned it at the Bordeaux market in past years. Did it signify a handful, I wondered, and made accompanying gestures to illustrate. His brows furrowed a bit, and he asked if we were anglais, and then he asked what the word was in English. . . Too funny, because of course that's exactly what I didn't know. 

There was some chat about the word bouquet which works in both languages, and then I wondered if botte was also a word mainly used in the flower-arranging context, and at that he nodded heartily, probably relieved the language lesson was over. I've since found that when it's not denoting boots, botte means something like "bunch," sometimes even "clump."

Now that my glossary had been augmented, the vendor chatted with us about the beauties of his city while he trimmed each tige of my botte of pivoines and wrapped the bunch in cellophane. He was worried that our three days wouldn't be enough to enjoy his très belle ville -- and we already knew it was not enough to taste its food.

But as he wished us a Bon Séjour, we at least had a good sampling of the city's fresh produce and a handful of fragrant peonies as we walked back to our little apartment for lunch. . .

One more OOTD made up from my carry-on-only Capsule Wardrobe. The linen wrinkles, yes, but it's been very comfortable in the warm weather. J Crew skirt is a few years old and the Eileen Fisher tunic was a birthday gift from my guy. Birkenstock Arizonas are two years old, but Birks have been a staple in my summer closet for decades.
And here is the repast Pater put together with our market gleanings -- except that it wasn't until we'd sat down and begun eating that we remembered to had the roast chicken half we'd also bought. Don't worry -- we found room on our plates for it.

This seems to be a postcard that turned into a letter -- longer than I'd intended or thought I'd find time for. I hope you'll excuse me not responding to your comments consistently while we're travelling. I do read and enjoy them all. . .

We're moving on tomorrow, earlier than we'd planned thanks to the train strike, and we're crossing our fingers that the train connection we're leaving early to make will happen. . . Cross yours for us as well?

From Lyon,
Wish you were here. . . 


  1. Thinking of you during your travels and empathising throughout. Lovely vocabulary lesson in the market and your dinner looks delicious. Hope the train goes according to plan, fingers are crossed over here. Not so very far away. B x

  2. It is very nice to see all your holiday snaps , thanks for making time for us . We had to make a long bus journey once when there were train problems . It was from Singapore to Kuala Lumper & turned out to be the highlight of the holiday - travelling with the locals & all their paraphernalia . That outfit is perfect for blending in & being approachable . Just what I would choose . Enjoy the rest of your travels .
    Wendy in York

  3. Ah! La botte! It used also with radishes. Do you ever paint from a photo? Those artichokes might be a worthy subject...

  4. Hi Frances, it's so tiresome that your travel plans have been disrupted by the strike, but the very worst has to be navigating a bus toilet in a jumpsuit! Eek! (I have a similar thing about touching as few surfaces as possible in a public loo.)

    Still, you are certainly making the most of your time on the ground; the meal looks delicious, photos are lovely and I love your simple OOTD - linen for the win!

  5. lovely--photos and storytelling. It's got me excited about my upcoming workshops in Lyon!

  6. We eat a ton of asparagus this time of year. Stu picks the wild stuff that grows along the verges between country roads and farmers' fields. It is the best... even the huge ones are so succulent. Much better what we used to have from Stu's asparagus patch. He finally plowed it under in favour of growing garlic and tomatoes.
    We tried fresh asparagus from a market when we were in Avignon in 2015 and were so disappointed that it was tough and stringy. Hope your lunch was delish. It certainly looked it!
    P.S. I see from Une Femme's post that they are on their way to Lyons as well.

  7. Oh, gosh! Those veggies are so gorgeous! Love your postcard that turned into a letter. And thanks to your post and to Une Femme Susan's posts this week, I've learned a few new French phrases.

    I'm guessing y'all and they will hook up in Lyons. I hope so. :)

    Bon voyage!

    Ann in Missouri

  8. Ok,comment lost
    Fingers crossed,hope that everything will be ok

  9. Botte is a bunch--it can be carrots, onions, asparagus, flowers...a bouquet would be more arranged than a botte.
    The fat asparagus do have to be peeled, and they are white because they're grown either buried in sand or under a cover (my husband used to grow them in the crawlspace under the house)--the covering keeps the chlorophyll from activating and turning green. Personally, we like the finest green ones.
    The last time I was in Lyon, I gained five pounds from eating so much. In a long weekend!

  10. I laughed outloud at " supreme desire that none of my clothes touch any of the surfaces..." I AGREE! And I love jumpsuits and overalls. Recently brought out my 20+ year old Gap denim ones for some fun with my white sneakers.
    Your lunch spread looks yummy! Have fun meeting up with your blogbuddy! So fun to be included in your travels!
    Thanks for sharing...
    charlene h

  11. Thanks for sharing. All that wonderful food - YUM YUM.
    Lovely travel outfit at the the market. And I can totally relate to not wanting to touch any of "those" surfaces...haha
    Suz from Vancouver

  12. This description of your "scavenged" lunch encapsulates everything I love about travel. Your selections look simple yet delicious. I can only hope that most of your remaining days on this journey are as charming as this one. Bon voyage!

  13. Oh! I miss the asparagus. I ate as much white asparagus as I could, earlier this month. Your choices look delicious and of course, the flowers. French markets are food heaven, enjoy every bite!

  14. Oh, I remember wearing a jumpsuit on a flight years ago. I thought I looked great. However, plane washrooms being how they are...I was paranoid about any part of my clothes touching anything. That was the last time I ever wore a jumpsuit.
    Lyon is on our bucket list, sadly not for this year.

  15. Gorgeous food, flowers, plated dinner, and the roast chicken of our shared imaginings. As always, thank you for bringing us along on your travels. And enjoy it all. x.

  16. Lovely market snapshots...such a bounty from the farms.
    Your OOTd looks perfectly comfortable and I love linen for its cool factor...never mind the wrinkles :-))
    We are enjoying our garden asparagus...strawberries will be next...but mostly flowers and roses in our garden right now...the tomatoes, radishes and cukes are growing in the greenhouse.

  17. What a delightful description of your encounters with the market vendors! Hope the balance of your trip is equally wonderful.

  18. Oh I so envy you that market! How fabulous. Feeling the need to get back to France now, and you did that to me with Croatia as well over on Instagram!


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