Our last day aboard #AMAKristina came fast and furious after we cruised the last stretch of the Rhone into the heart of Lyon late yesterday. This mornings’ program was unscripted #ReturntoTravel so we were able to take a long walking tour of Lyon on our own.
We left the ship docked on the right bank of the Rhone and walked along the embankment to Avenue Lafayette to reach the famous Les Halles food market. I will admit that I was a bit disappointed as this market is not your traditional fruits, veggies, fish and meat market. Instead it is a collection of high end fine gourmet shops with boulangeries, traitteurs, patissiers, and oyster bars. It is dedicated in its entirety to the French King of cuisine – Paul Bocuse whom singlehandedly established France as the culinary leader. While still a stunning visit, it was just not as vibrant and active as your typical market.
The afternoon consisted of a fantastic wine excursion to the famous Beaujolais region. Our fabulous guide Jean Alexandre took us across the countryside to the quaint “most beautiful village of France” named l’Oingt. Absolutely charming, this collection of medieval houses is perched atop a hill with panoramic vistas across the area. Our walk through the narrow streets provided the backdrop for countless food and beverage stories – what else would one talk about in France 🇫🇷!
Our final stop on the excursion to the “campagne” (Countryside in French) was a stop at a local winemaker. AMA Waterways split our tours up into three coaches – each visiting a different winery. Here we learned what makes up the three types of Beaujolais wines. While always of the single grape varietal Gamay, the Appellation d’Origine Controle (AOC) board dictates that the wine must either be labeled Beaujolais or Beaujolais Villages (10 such villages are recognized) or it is called a Grand Cru. Always red, fruity and expressive of it’s terroir (soil it grew in), this wine was made famous by George Duboeuf whom was very close friends with Paul Bocuse. In fact, the rise of gastronomy and Beaujolais mirror each other. Cheers to that!