Aerial view of Lyon, France (PhotoDisc)

Fontaine des Jacobins, Lyon, France (Ingram Publishing)

Lyon Arial View Fourviere Basilica (iStockphoto)

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What to do in Lyon

French cuisine has long been the world’s standard for delicately crafted, sophisticated food. Where, then, do the French look for inspiration? The answer, it turns out, is just near the middle of the country in Lyon. After Paris, it’s France’s second-largest city, but when it comes to cooking, UNESCO-protected Lyon is widely considered the gastronomic capital. The city’s signature bouchon restaurants look like bistros elsewhere in France—red-and-white checked tablecloths, drippy candles, and densely packed tables—but the food is uniquely Lyonnais. Expect rich dishes with an emphasis on sausages, duck paté, and this, that, and the other parts of pork. (Vegetarian foodies might prefer the baguettes and cheeses of Paris.) If you’re drawn to France by visions of Julia Child’s Boeuf Bourguignon, then Lyon is your crème de la crème.

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