The final morning of our program featured a cooking class at the Institut Paul Bocuse. The information at the link describes multi-week courses, but they also offer a half-day program for amateurs. We once had a fabulous meal at the Paul Bocuse Auberge du Pont de Collonges, and it was this particular cooking class that inspired us to sign up for the entire program. Good things come from good things!

The pictures of the cooking class below were provided by Agathe, who was always ready with her iPad.

Hotel Royale, Lyon

The Bocuse Institute is located in the Hotel Royal in downtown Lyon on the Place Bellecour. In addition to cooking classes it offers instruction in hotel management.

Signing InWe were welcomed at this elegant desk and escorted to our kitchen.


Everything was ready for us in our dedicated kitchen workspace. We were brought coffee or tea to sip during the morning's work. To my dismay, I might add, I discovered that Earl Grey was THE favored tea throughout our travels. I will take my own next time.

The workspaces slide out for easy access and back into place once the day's work is over.

Two different levels of workspace made it easy to accommodate Marilyn, who was more petite than the rest of us.

Chef Philippe Jousse

Our able instructor was Chef Philippe Jousse. He had done a lot of the pre-preparation and was patient and informative as we executed our various assigned tasks.


Chef Jousse explains how to prepare the tomatoes for the tomato jam that we will enjoy as part of dessert. Since it will take a long time to cook, we started with dessert. A man after my own heart!

The snazzy orange aprons were our souvenirs to take home along with a logo paring knife and peeler.

It was not an easy meal. All of the recipes were marked with two chef's hats (but I don't know out of how many). 

Hard at work

Once we got our marching orders, we all repaired to our individual stations and got to work.

The menu included an appetizer of fish mousse with wild mushrooms, rack of lamb with artichokes and other vegetables in addition to the dessert of fresh strawberries with tomato jam.

The artichoke preparation is something we look forward to trying here.

Jim & ME

Beware a man with a large knife!

Our recipe "books" described all of our dishes and had plenty of space to make notes. I turned into a demon note-taker, especially as to the sequence of things. I also observed that what we actually did wasn't exactly what was specified in the recipe.

That's probably true kitchen-wide -- except for me. I work on a recipe until I like it and then I follow the recipe exactly.

Fish mousse

The fish mousse appetizer with wild mushrooms was a heavenly experience. It was a multi-stage effort with separate preparation for the fish, the mushrooms and the sauce. But ooh-la-la! The result! Yum doesn't begin to describe it.


The lamb was also good, but perhaps the least memorable of the dishes. The veggies were the standout in this course.

The wine pairings were from the Rhone valley, certainement!


The dessert was scrumptious. The strawberries were molded and served with the tomato jam and crispy beets. This is another course that I would like to try here.

I hope the recipe listing includes the drizzle. I forget what it was. Everyone did their own drizzle and I'm afraid that mine would not win prizes for presentation!

Kitchen Komrades

The few; the proud!

The sated.


After our morning of cookery, we had another afternoon free.

Jim and I had been to Lyon before in the winter and we wanted to visit the Fourvière rose garden. The path to the garden starts at the basilica that we visited earlier.

This front view shows the elaborate decoration. This level of detail was intended for the entire exterior.

Unfinished details

Money ran out, however, and then history overtook the project.

When we visited in the past, we thought that this exterior decoration was intentionally abstract. Notice the bare forms of the angels here.

On this trip our local guide burst the bubble. Oh well, we still like the spare look.


Now that we had learned more about Lyon, this overview has more meaning.

We are standing on the hill where the Roman settlement was located.

The tile roofs with chimneys in the foreground are the "old" medieval city.

The river Saône can't be seen, but it is past the tile roofs and outlined in green trees.

The high-rise apartments beyond the river are the heart of the Renaissance down-town.

The modern city with its skyscrapers is beyond the Rhône. The tower with the pointy top is locally nicknamed "The Pencil" for obvious reasons.

Rose Hips

Unfortunately we were still too late in the year for the major display of roses, but we got to see a lot of rose hips.

We didn't know that the "rose garden" was created as the "Way of the Rosary." It was only when we saw a variety of brass landmarks set into the pavement of the way that we became intrigued enough to do some research.

It was harder to pick this up at the time as we were walking downhill. Most of the Rosary association was predicated on walking the path UPHILL.


There were a few ... a very few ... roses still in bloom.

Maybe next time we're in Lyon it will be rose season.

Throughout our walk in the garden we kept seeing signs for the "Hortensias." Neither of us could puzzle out what that meant, so we followed the signs. They led to a small patio or plaza in the woods, but there was nothing around to identify it. There were quite a few hydrangeas surrounding the plaza, which were of course long past their bloom. Yep, hortensia is French for hydrangea.


But all good things must come to an end. Our final dinner together was on, of all things, a bus! Le Trolley des Lumières drives around town while the passengers enjoy a tasty meal and wine. On this evening, exceptionnellement, we were the only guests. As luck would have it, the minimum guests that they will run the bus for is six!

It was a unique experience to drive through the streets of Lyon while dining. We were particularly delighted to see that the tables had special holders to secure the wine glasses as it went over rough spots.

Between the main course and dessert we stopped at an overlook over the Saône and had an opportunity to walk through a park and stretch our legs.

Agathe gave us each a sieve and scraper identical to that used to make the fish mousse in our class. We also received bags of Herbes de Provence and Camargue salt to bring home from our culinary expedition.

Of all the wonderful Road Scholar trips we have taken, this one was the most amazing.

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