Hometowns: Lyon, France and Bonn, Germany

By January 11, 2018 No Comments

By Isabel O’Brien


In this edition of the Hometowns Series, the Travel Section writer Isabel O’Brien catches up with Carole-Louise Ashby and Carolien Van Hoof to hear what they had to say about their cities: Lyon, France and Bonn, Germany.

Photo: Amandine Hess//TheSundialPress

Where is Lyon?

Lyon is in the second largest city in France and is located in the region of Rhône-Alpes in the southeastern part of France.

What are your favorite things to do there?

Rue de la République, the main shopping street in Lyon, is always animated, so I go there often. Nevertheless, my favorite thing to do is to just wander around the little streets and the traboules (a collection of passageways leading to the river within the Old Town) and then go to one of the café-theatres.  

Any must-see sights?

The old part of Lyon (Le Vieux Lyon) is definitely my favorite part of the city because it’s full of history. There you can take a tram up to the Basilique Notre-Dame de Fourvière and enjoy a view of the whole city.

If you were a tourist, what would you skip? In other words, what’s not worth seeing?

I personally think that the Part-Dieu quarter and its well-known mall are a bit overrated. I’d only go there if I needed to run some errands. If you are visiting for just a few days, you should skip it and spend your time somewhere else, like the Presqu’île area.

Photo: Amandine Hess//TheSundialPress

What are your favorite foods and customs native to Lyon?

Lyon is known worldwide as the “capital of food” and has many gastronomic specialties and world-famous chefs, like Paul Bocuse and others. It’s hard to pick just one because there are so many amazing dishes! The most traditional ones are les quenelles (pan-cooked dumplings), la rosette de Lyon (local salami), la Cervelle de Canus (don’t panic — it’s not a brain, it’s cheese!), or even the famous Coussins de Lyon or the Praline (candies).

Favorite restaurants?

The most typical restaurants are the Bouchons Lyonnais, where you can eat local specialties, but my favorite place is called Ma Petite Factory because they serve home-cooked and healthy meals.

What’s the nightlife like in Lyon?

It is pretty active in general because of the amount of students living in Lyon, thus there are a wide range of bars and nightclubs to satisfy everyone. But my favorite way to spend a night out with my friends is to have a drink in Les Pentes de la Croix-Rousse, a unique section of the first arrondissement where you can find lots of small night clubs that play throwback songs (my faves).

Photo: Amandine Hess//TheSundialPress

When you’re in Reims, what do you miss the most about Lyon?

Mostly the atmosphere. It’s just not the same; Lyon has a lot more to offer than Reims because of its size and its many cultural sites. What I certainly miss the most are all the theater plays and events in Lyon.



Photo: Carolien Van Hoff//TheSundialPress

Where is Bonn?

It’s in the west of Germany next to the Rhine river.

What are your favorite things to do there?

It’s a beautiful city, so I love to just walk around in and enjoy the view. There are a ton of great restaurants and parks I like to visit, too.

Any must-see sites?

In April there is a famous street (Heerstrasse) filled with cherry blossom trees in full bloom that is so beautiful. During the holidays the Christmas Market in Bonn is also incredible.

Photo: Carolien Van Hoof//TheSundialPress

If you were a tourist, what would you skip? In other words, what’s not worth seeing?

One popular tourist attraction, the Beethoven house, is pretty simple. It’s just a museum in the house where he was born — there really isn’t much to it.

What are your favorite foods and customs native to Bonn?

Pretzels! And Glühwein! Honestly, anything German at Christmas is delicious! They do Christmas markets so right.

Favorite restaurants?

Madame Negla, located on Heerstrasse (the cherry blossom street) is an adorable little restaurant. There’s a dog that greets all the customers and the walls have cherry blossom trees painted on them. Also Hans im Glück is a pretty famous German chain restaurant that has the best burgers I’ve ever eaten!

What’s the nightlife like in Bonn?

It is a university city, so it’s not too bad but it’s mainly a lot of bars; there really aren’t any good clubs.

When you’re in Reims, what do you miss the most about Bonn?

The view, for sure. I can never get enough of the Rhine with the mountains in the background.


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