Frugal Traveler - A New York Times Blog
A New York Times Blog
July 15, 2009, 8:17 am
In Lyon, a Day Devoted to the Stomach
La FamilleMatt Gross for The New York Times La Famille, a cozy restaurant in Croix-Rousse, a hilltop neighborhood in Lyon once populated by silk workers.
In the city of Lyon — France’s gastronomic heartland — no name is more important than that of Paul Bocuse. Father of nouvelle cuisine, holder of three Michelin stars, one of the first superchefs of the modern era, Mr. Bocuse, now 83, can see his name adorning the city’s edenic marketplace, Les Halles de Lyon-Paul Bocuse, and attached to the international culinary Olympics, the Bocuse d’Or.
You might think, therefore, that Mr. Bocuse’s astronomical influence on Lyon would extend to the prices of its restaurants. And you’d be right — but not in the way you think.
Ouest ExpressMatt Gross for The New York Times A meal at Ouest Express.
A year ago, he opened Ouest Express (41, rue des Docks; 33-4-7217-9595; www.ouestexpress.fr), an affordable, franchise-ready fast food outlet in a former industrial area on the Saône River, merging his love of local ingredients and McDonald’s-style burgers and fries. The cooking won’t win any Michelin stars, but the vichyssoise — which I tasted the evening I arrived in Lyon by train from Paris (84 euros round trip, via www.voyages-sncf.com) — was perfectly chilled and almost sweet, a testament to Mr. Bocuse’s faith that fast food can be fresh food, too. (It cost 3.90 euros, or $5.54 at $1.42 to the euro.)
With Mr. Bocuse’s innovation in mind, I came to Lyon to construct a single perfect day of indulgence, on a budget. Could I eat well in the best French dining city outside Paris and not go broke? Read more…