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November 20, 2018

France: Lyon, Les Halles de Lyon-Paul Bocuse

Les Halles de Lyon-Paul Bocuse

Lyon is the gastronomic capitol of France. Every capitol warrants a shrine and in this case its Lyon’s covered market, Les Halles de Lyon. In 2006, after renovations, Lyon’s market shrine was renamed Les Halles de Lyon-Paul Bocuse, honoring the city’s famous chef Paul Bocuse, who passed in January 2018.

The market has a distinctively gourmet bent and it is priced accordingly. The stalls feature the very best of the many French luxury culinary ingredients. You might see finer ingredients elsewhere but you will have to look very hard to find them.

A fishmonger

A deli inside the Bocuse market

Among the vendors’ stalls are numerous attractive restaurants. In France the restaurants near vibrant markets are often good. This is definitely the case inside Les Halles. It is a foodie paradise.

We did not do a full survey of the restaurants at the market, as worthy a goal as that is. One restaurant we did like and returned to was Chez Antonin. Usually after shopping we’d order Atlantic oysters and something else. One day we decided to splurge and the “something else” we ordered was the lobster. The lobster looked delicious on the other diner’s plates as we walked to our table. Unfortunately the waiter told us the “homard” was “complet”. The famous French blue lobster was sold out. That, of course, meant that we would be certain to order lobster on the next visit.

And we did. This time we were lucky; there was one last lobster remaining. It would be ours.

Fish for sale

Before the cooked and chilled crustacean was taken to the kitchen to be prepared for the table, the waiter brought it to us for approval. We acquiesced with nods of the head to the recently squirming homard. What other choice was there? This was after all the last one available and it clearly wasn’t a cheap imported Canadian crustacean.

As the waiter took the lobster to the kitchen to kitchen and we nibbled on the bread.

“C’est manifique!”

The loud exclamation came from kitchen through the open slot.

Soon the chef was excitingly inviting all of the restaurant’s staff into his kitchen for a viewing of our lobster. And the viewings continued even after we were served the lobster at our table. Every member of staff who had missed the chef’s show and tell in the kitchen discretely came by our table taking discrete peeks at the remains of the lobster that Becky and I were slowly savoring.

We had to purchase this stunt hommard later to take a picture as at the magnificent lobster before we thought to take a picture. The lobster from the market was not prepared this way.

Undoubtedly we were not worthy of such a prize, but it wasn’t going to stop us from eating the lobster. And indeed, it was a most excellent homard. In retrospect we were fortunate that our lobster had escaped the kitchen without being the victim of a tragic culinary “mistake”.

Monsieur-dame. Je suis désolé que votre homard n’est plus!” 

Particularly good was the large amount of the orange roe that was unusually spread through much of the inside of the shell. The roe was like butter, but richly lobster flavored butter. Most likely the distribution of the roe was the feature that had excited the chef. And for good reason too as we could hardly keep from shouting “C’est manifique!” as we worked through the lobster. It was the best lobster we’ve ever had.


Hum, cheese at the market

Apparently we had hit the lobster lottery in Lyon and we didn’t even know that we had purchased a ticket.


Les Halles de Lyon-Paul Bocuse is accessible using Tram T1 from the Palais de Justice Mairie du 3ème stop. A tram map is here

We visited Les Halles in the summer of 2017.

There are outdoor markets in Lyon also. The food is more affordable.

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