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November 23, 2018

France: Lyon, Restaurant Paul Bocuse

Filed under: Europe, Food, France, Photography, Travel, Travel, Writing — Tags: , , , , , , — anotherheader @ 4:59 am

Banks of the River Saône near Restaurant Paul Bocuse

Just north of Lyon in Collonges-au-Mont-d’Or is a culinary attraction; the famous Restaurant Paul Bocuse is located on the right bank of the River Saône about ten kilometers from Vieux Lyon.

A visit to Paul Bocuse’s restaurant is gastronomic pilgrimage. The restaurant has held three Michelin stars since 1965, the longest stretch of any eating establishment. Though the food has modernized, this is still a place to experience the classics of French cuisine. A meal at Paul Bocuse is a step back in culinary history to the time when unbridled creativity took a backseat to elaborate recipes executed with extraordinary finesse in the kitchen. While dining at Paul Bocuse is easy to imagine having essentially the same menu items in the 70’s and 80’s as are served today.

Église romane Notre-Dame on Île Barbe

Helpful hint: When you don’t have a toque handy a paper bag will do.

The restaurant has been described as a museum, as a negative comment. There certainly is truth to the idea that Paul Bocuse performs the role of a keeper of culinary gems. And indeed there is a museum-like quality to the dining experience. But are restaurants that are effectively culinary museums a bad thing? Isn’t it good to preserve dishes in the style of days passed so we can experience what people ate fifty years ago? I don’t want every, or even most, restaurants to serve “old-style” food. But it’s good to have a few restaurants faithfully preserving the classics for future generations. And that is what Paul Bocuse has done.

Sadly Paul Bocuse passed in January of 2018 at 91 years of age. His legacy restaurant continues on, as it should. I for one have to hope that his food doesn’t drift from the classics that he carefully guarded through the years.

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We dined at Restaurant Paul Bocuse in September of 2017.

Pont Schuman on the Saône below Collonges-au-Mont-d’Or

 

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