This past weekend was lovely. The weather was in the mid to high 50s all weekend (sorry to those in Boston!) and what that means is that the Lyonnais open air cafés are back in business! Well, technically, these bars/cafés were open all winter long; they just couldn’t open up their patios and put tables out. But since the weather this winter has been mostly mild with the exception of the freak snowstorm in late November, it was time for the bars to go out in “plein aire” again. I went out with two guy friends on Saturday and Sunday and we café-hopped, for lack of a better expression. Both days we wandered around the rivers, did a little shopping in centre ville, but more importantly, we went for drinks.
Saturday our first drink was on a cafe next to the Saone river where I had a French café. We Americans would call it an espresso. Strong, hearty. I’m turning into a real coffee enthusiast- I don’t drink it for the caffeine, but I drink it for the social aspect and for the taste. And I’ve come to realize that coffee tastes infinitely better when it’s strong, un-sweetened, and without milk or cream. In other words, black coffee is pretty good. A few hours later, we headed to one of Lyon’s most famous and fancy cafés- Le grand café des négociants. I ordered a “chocolat chaud,” expecting just a cup of hot chocolate. Nope, out comes the waiter with a silver platter with a small pitcher of thick melted chocolate, and another pitcher of foamed milk. You could mix them to your liking, and wow, it was amazing.
By Sunday, I had my system down. First drink: a French cafe at a bar next to Hotel de Ville and L’Opera. Then, up to the Croix Rousse for drink #2: hot chocolate. See below for photos of some cafes along the Boulevard de la Croix Rousse. The hot chocolate wasn’t nearly as good as the one from the café des négociants, but it was pas mal.
Ah, Lyon. You’re fabulous. I so love living la vie tranquille. Not bad for a weekend in the first half of February, ce n’est pas?