Angela May's Travel Black Book

Angela May’s favourite food stops in Lyon

The gastronomic French city of Lyon is more charming than Paris to TV presenter Angela May

Who: American-Thai host and TV presenter Angela May (left), 41, opened her first restaurant, Angela May Food Chapters, at Robinsons The Heeren on Thursday.

Favourite destination: Lyon, France

Why: Not only is Lyon one of the gastronomic cities of the world, but it is also a lovely, historic city with many cobblestone streets to wander along and get lost in. Built along the banks of the Rhone and the Saone Rivers, Lyon is more charming than Paris.

Favourite hotel

Villa Florentine (25 Montee Saint- Barthelemy; www.villaflorentine. com). It is perched on top of the Fourviere hillside in the city's west, surrounded by cobblestone streets, hidden staircases and views of the Saone River.

I like finding a little path to walk up to the hotel after lunch and burn off some of the meal in preparation for dinner.

Favourite restaurant

Comptoir Thomas (, a small tapas-style restaurant with a lively and friendly vibe that is tucked away on Rue Laurencin, a small side street in the city's second arrondissement. It is a place full of locals and its pata negra (cured Iberico ham) for €15 (S$23) is fabulous.

It has a fine-dining restaurant, a cafe and a bouchon, a restaurant which serves traditional Lyonnaise food, along the same street.

Favourite site

La Basilique Notre-Dame de Fourviere (8 Place de Fourviere;, which sits on top of Fourviere hill, is surrounded by lush, gorgeous gardens which zigzag up the hillside. Once you reach the top of the hill, you have a beautiful view of the city centre, and is worth the hike.

Favourite neighbourhood

Vieux Lyon (Old Lyon), at the foot of the Fourviere hill, is one of Europe's most extensive Renaissance neighbourhoods, packed with small cobblestone streets and hidden passageways, where I can wander, get lost, window-shop and soak in the city.

Meet the locals

I always go to Les Halles de Lyon - Paul Bocuse (102 Cours Lafayette;, the famous indoor food market, which is also my favourite place to go shopping in Lyon.

The market has more than 60 vendors selling fresh produce, butter, cheese, poulet de Bresse (a highly regarded variety of chicken from the eastern French province of Bresse), bread and pastries. It is a meeting place for the locals and a Disneyland for food lovers.

You cannot miss the stall of fromager (cheesemonger) La Mere Richard, another institution in the market. Known for its marvellous Saint-Marcellin cheese, it has a secret stash for its best customers.

Best breakfast

Bernachon (42 Cours Franklin Roosevelt; is a good place for breakfast. Waiters come with silver trays loaded with pastries and you can choose what you like. It is very posh. I always buy its chocolates as gifts.

Where to relax

The Parc de la Tete D'Or (www.loi is a lovely place. The 117ha park in the sixth arrondissement is popular with joggers and cyclists. In the middle of the park, there is a small zoo with giraffes, elephants, deer and other animals.

Boating takes place on its lake in summer and there is also a boules (balls) court, pony riding and train rides for children. I usually go to Bernachon for breakfast and then take a walk around the park to get some fresh air before heading somewhere else for lunch.

Must try

Quenelles de brochet, airy dumplings made of pike fish and often served with cream sauce, is a very traditional Lyonnaise dish. Try Daniel et Denise Saint Jean (36 Rue Tramassac; or Brassiere de L'Ouest (1 Quai du Commerce; www.nordsudbrasseries. com) for some of the city's best quenelles, but you can find the dish easily anywhere in Lyon.

Ideal length of stay

Five days, then rent a car and do a road trip to see other small towns in the Rhone-Alpes region.

Unique food souvenir

Praline rose is a sweet made of pink caramelised sugar-coated almonds, which is found only in Lyon. You can find it in the markets and most boulangeries (bakeries), where they are sold in bags or used to make gorgeous, bright pink pastries and tarts.

Once you see them, you will certainly be charmed into buying a few bags for your friends. Prices vary from place to place, but A La Marquise (37 Rue Saint-Jean;; Boulangerie du Palais (8 Rue du Palais de Justice; www.face and Boulangerie Jocteur (5, Place Henri Barbusse; www.boulangeriejocteur. com) are some of the best places to get them.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on May 15, 2016, with the headline 'Stunning views and good food '. Print Edition | Subscribe