Gourmet Market -Les Halles de Lyon -Paul Bocuse

What are the first three words coming to your mind when you hear about the city of Lyon? Mine were beauty, silk and gourmet. Chosen for the best gateway city in Europe for last year, Lyon has become my favorite city in France too. Famous as the Birthplace of cinema, world capital of silk, Lyon is also known as the gastronomic capital of France and most probably the world as well.

One of my favorite spots while in Lyon was the Gourmet market – Les Halles de Lyon Paul Bocuse, located in the business district of Lyon- Part Dieu.

Here, I will just mention that last year I spent about 8 months working on a river cruise. The ship I was on, was doing the stretch Chalon-sur-Saone – Avignon and back on weekly basis, so I ended up visiting Lyon, something like 32 times for 2 days each time. Unfortunately, I decided only now to write about my experience while traveling, but I will try to recover most of my collected such in series of posts in the next months.

Les Halles de Lyon is one of the biggest and most famous covered gourmet markets in France. It first opened in the Year of 1859, so this make it one of the oldest as well. Today it houses more than 50 traders – cheese makers, bakers, pastry and chocolates stores, oysters and sea food corners, butchers, florists, bars, restaurateurs and wine merchants, all of them offering their finest production to their visitors and all located under one roof.

The name Paul Bocuse (The famous French Chef born Lyon, Michelin star holder and eternal ambassador of great cuisine)  raising the popularity of the market, making it must-see-spot while in Lyon.

Open from Tuesday to Sunday from 7:00 am to 7:00 pm, Sundays and Holidays until  1:00 pm, the market is livelier in the morning hours until the early afternoon. Some of the vendors are closing up around 4:00 pm, but in general you could enjoy any time when you decide to visit it. Most of the traders are really hospitable and will invite you taste a lot from their finest. Below are few of my favorite vendors with some of my favorite products.

Beillevaire – All about  cheese. http://www.fromagerie-beillevaire.com/ .

# Picture below taken from the official website.

 

Chocolate, chocolate – I did bought from all, but how could you resist “Delices de Sens http://www.chocolat-delices-des-sens.com/.

 

Wine and more Wine  – as for the wine merchants – Nicholas wine store  with more then 500  stores in France and Fac and Spera by Michel Chapoutier. Both of the wine stores are located in both opposite sites of the market.  http://www.halles-de-lyon-paulbocuse.com/filter/vins-spiritueux/

Misty Milano in March

Is there anyone, who has visited Italy and didn’t fall in love with the country and its La Dolce Vita ( that sweet life, that you want or not, you get to be part of, once finding yourself in Italy). I did love Italy, its language and culture, very long before I visited it and now I have been so many times and in so many cities. From Venice, Verona, Florence to Rome, Amalfi coast, Sorrento, Capri and Sicily, now it was turn to visit the Fashion and the Business capital of Italy-namely Milan.

Here I have to admit that traveling to Milan in March means you rather have the wet and still cold season, but with  enough warm clothes, rain boots and an umbrella,what left is to enjoy the city. And if and when you get wet or cold and wished to warm up, the choices of coffee and pastries shops, art museum or luxury stores are with no count.

The first day of the visit did not proof me wrong – it was raining literally the whole day, but it didn’t bother us ( I did took a good friend of mine sharing the same love and passion for the country). I remember that in the early afternoon, after being completely wet, I actually end up buying fancy rain boots, which I still wear if the weather home permit. One positive thing of visiting Milan in March, was, that the number of tourists was way lower then in May/June or September.

Visiting the Duomo for example happen with no troubles and with no waiting time. Anyway we decided to visit it certainly during one of the next days when there was no rain and it is absolutely worth it.

La Rinascente,where Obica Restaurant is located,  was recently nominated “The Best Department Store in the World” according the Global Department Store Summit 2016 and you will see why. We ended up getting small gifts for ourselves and our families back home and if the shoes and bags are coming a bit to expensive, you could always bring your favourite brands made from fine chocolate. As a chocoholic, I did that as well.

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Pinacoteca di Brera

For the time being (an extended weekend consisting from 3 1/2 days) and since we both enjoy art, we couldn’t leave Milan without  visiting la Pinacoteca di Brera, maybe the best art museum, I, personally, have ever visited and housing some of the greatest mastepieces of Italian and Foreign Art.

It was my first visit in Northern Italy, so I wanted to see lake Como as well. Lucky for me, so did my friend.  We decided to spend the entire Sunday at the lake Como. The train ride took less then an hour to a town with the same name-Como.

The town of Como is located in the southern corner of the lake and like every other town in Italy, has very historical and lively squares and in additio,it alse has splendid lakeside villas. There was a lovely farmer market with products made in the region in the city center. I remember that the day we decided to visit was foggy, even misty but I did like it and can only imagine how beautiful and lively it is in the warmer months of the year. Recommended would be to take the funicular up to the town of Brunate to enjoy the panorama down to the lake. I will,the next time I have the gateway from Milan.

Milan is actually a great home base for all kind of gateways. It is the beating heart of Italy and meeting point of rich past and modern present. With its ” Fashion District”, lovely art galleries and museums, fascinated architecture,many many cafes,aperitivi bars and restaurants,busy night life, Milan attracts visitors,students and businessmen from around the world. One look to the people on the street and you know why it get to keep its place where one of the top 4 Fashion weeks is taking place, twice a year actually. It’s the city where I will proudly attend an Italian Language course next May and so much looking forward to it already…

 

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Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II

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Duomo di Milano 

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From the top of the Duomo di Milano

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The iconic trams of Milan

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Chocolate shoes and bags on the last floor of La Rinascente

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Tiramisu and cappuccino for desert

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At the lake Como

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Everyone’s shopping list

St. Barths- part of beautiful Europe in the Caribbean

Just three hours away from New York or with easy access from most of Europe’s finest – Paris, Amsterdam, London there is small piece of exclusive land, a heaven, so worth  of visiting – St. Barthelemy island or St. Barths.

Even though, I didn’t like most of the Caribbean islands, I have visited, St. Barths was different. With a multicultural background, St. Barths belongs to France nowadays. The official currency is Euro, but US dollars are widely accepted. It is also bilingual, which made it even more favorable then France ( in terms of talking to people).

So chic with  unique scenery, gorgeous beaches, hidden bays, beautiful and fresh cuisine, designer boutiques, interesting villages, top hotels and restaurants and so, so friendly and beautiful inhabitants. I couldn’t help a lot, but to make sure, I was ashore, every time my ship was calling the port of Gustavia, which is the main city and port of the islands. It is a home of impressive yacht port as well. I red somewhere that there is law not allowing to build a cruise terminal, where a cruise ship could dock and honestly I hope they keep the rule.

Arriving in charming Gustavia by tender boat was an experience on its own, watching the super yachts, made me sometimes wonder what are those people doing for a living, but then the architecture of Gustavia and especially the contrast of nature and the colours of the roofs took over my toughs. Gustavia is actually considered as quieter then the resort of St. Jean for example but it has everything you might wish-cute art galleries, beautiful spas, designer stores, high class restaurants or such ones with menu and prices for everyone, pristine beach and more.  Since I adore the beach, I often made a visit at the Do Brazil or Shell beach, just about 15 minutes walk from the drop off point of the tender. The name Shell beach completely matches the surface of the beach, but the shells are so small, so it was fine to either walk or sit on the beach. Better idea though would be to call and book your sun-chair or table at the Do Brazil Beach Bar, especially if you are visiting the St. Barths during the high season from November to March/April. Don’t miss out the cocktails, wine or sea food at Do Brazil while here. I never failed of getting a bottle of French wine, french macaroons or Chanel item on the way back to the ship.

During the next visit of St. Barths, I visited the Nikki Beach, located just on the opposite site of Gustavia. It was about 10 minutes drive by car. If a reservation for the Shell beach is recommended, a booked table at Nikki beach is a must. The name sails itself and you might actually happen to see a celebrity enjoying time off here. Judging by the many photographs and their long lengths,  me and my friends though that someone famouse was about to make a visit at Nikki beach or was already inside. Apart of the bar/restaurant the stores just outside were amazing.

The luxury property of Eden Rock was overlooking de Plage de Saint Jean and herewith was overlooking at us while at Nikki Beach. Opened in the 50’s last century, the Eden Rock was preferred place to stay for the glamorous such as Rothschild or Rockefeller.

One of the next times, we were about to visit Gustavia, there was an idea that we have lunch in either Taiwana hotel, Eden Rock or Chaval Blanc – all exclusive places, we often made reservation for our guests, but now we decided to experience on our own. We picked the restaurant at Taiwana hotel, because of its menu – fresh sea food served while enjoying the amazing ocean views.

Add this place to the list and for the other reason, that it was kind of intimidating comparing to Nikki Beach for example and it does have the best and widest beach I have at least visited while at St. Barths. Famouse Cheval Blanc Isle de France is located next to Taiwana hotel, so you could cover both within short time.

A true pearl at the Caribbean, St. Barths ranks among the most expensive gateways on the planet. With a reason, but it could be enjoyed by everyone with several simple rules – do your research before visiting the island, do the necessary bookings of the restaurants or clubs you wish to dine/party, be truly nice to the locals ( this is not difficult) and bring a lot of  income…

Bon voyage,

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Colours of St. Barths

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Main shopping street in Gustavia

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At Nikki Beach