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Remembering Lyon - the dorm

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For 2 weeks, I lived in a dorm across the street from the rest of the school. Luckily, I had a single with a private bath.

Here is a bird's eye view on Google maps --

This was my "fridge". Yes, it was a drawer with a lock. Each room had an assigned drawer. If you look carefully, you will see vents for the cold air. You are looking at my breakfast - drinkable yogurt and vegetable juice.

Above the drawers were "hobs" or electric burners as we say in the States. The microwave was so cool but wasn't photogenic. It would microwave, convection bake, grill and other stuff I don't remember. I wish we had them in the States.


The best part of my dorm was my window! I had a nice view and this great window shade. They use them in Scandinavia - the land of the midnight sun. When the shade was completely lowered, I couldn't see my hand in front of my face. Darth liked the darkness too!


Posted by CaitlinMcC 20:03 Archived in France Tagged lodging Comments (0)

I'm at the Met museum of art w my old friends

Monet, Manet, Van Gogh, Matisse, Sargent


There were French people everywhere in NYC. How could I tell? The women were proudly showing off their pregnant bellies and walking in heels.

At the museum, I saw photographs of Lyon when the rivers flooded (I wonder if this is the great flood that impacted the Festival of Lights in Dec). There were photographs of Haussman's rebuilding of Paris - creating the City of Light - in the 1800s.

Posted by CaitlinMcC 14:00 Archived in USA Tagged armchair_travel Comments (0)

Remembering my arrival in Lyon

It doesn't seem that long ago



When I was preparing for my trip, Ken (who is a UConn MBA student in Hartford that I had never met before) sent out an e-mail asking if anyone wanted to travel with him. Thanks to the Internet, I found out that he is a triathlete so he would probably make a good travel companion and said yes!

We met at the TGV station at Charles De Gaulle and took the high speed train to Lyon. Ken is so laidback that he didn't notice that my flight was delayed 3 hrs.
We had a great time trying to figure out all of the ticket machines for the different kinds of trains.

After checking into the dorm on Sat evening, we made our way to Flunch and Carrefour for groceries before everything shut down. We had to go uphill, in the mud, over cobblestones -- ugh!

On Sunday, I was certain that we would be stuck in our rooms forever but Ken knocked on my door with another UConn classmate, John, and John's girlfriend. Lizzy was French!! And she had a car!!!! I was soooo excited. We went into Old Lyon and had brunch at this restaurant. We ate in an alcove room in the basement. It was heaven!



Here is a bird's eye view on Google maps --

Posted by CaitlinMcC 10:38 Archived in France Tagged food Comments (2)

Now - they have fast food!!

Now that I'm no longer wandering the streets of Lyon looking for a cheap, fast, easy to identify meal ... now they have fast food!

They have such rules about eating in Lyon - never order your coffee at the wrong time.

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Paul Bocuse could make French fast food the next nouvelle cuisine
David Appell / For The LA Times

QUICK BITE: Ouest Express in Lyon, France, is fast food by chef Paul Bocuse.
How do you say 'to go' in French? Superstar chef Bocuse says he 'saw the opportunity to feed thousands of people going to the cinema' -- and others in France are following his lead.

By David Appell, Special to The Times
July 23, 2008
LYON, FRANCE -- REVERING la bonne cuisine as they do, many French are still fighting the good fight to hold the line against le fast food.

But long gone are the days when the mention of a cheeseburger could earn you a Gallic sneer and protesters drove tractors into a McDonald's; these days, burgers are being served in upscale Paris restaurants. And now, fast food from a Michelin three-star chef?

Yes, while classic French restaurants are making a comeback in Los Angeles (Thomas Keller's highly anticipated Bouchon in Beverly Hills, Anisette in Santa Monica, West Hollywood's Comme Ça), the most legendary chef in France -- and probably the world -- turns around and opens a fast food joint in the country's culinary capital.

Paul Bocuse, whose "back-to-basics" nouvelle cuisine tilted at the culinary establishment of the 1970s and who is a towering pillar of the establishment today, says he "saw the opportunity to feed thousands of people going to the cinema."

Bocuse is based in Lyon, France's elegant second city, two hours southeast of Paris by high-speed train. His "mother ship" remains the high-end, Michelin three-star L'Auberge du Pont de Collonges just outside Lyon, but he's also spent the last decade and a half opening a slew of bistros around town. Well beyond too: Japan, soon Switzerland, and in the U.S., Les Chefs de France, which plays French cuisine's greatest hits at Disney's Epcot theme park in Orlando, Fla.

He also oversees a highly respected culinary academy, and since 1987 his annual Bocuse d'Or competition has been the culinary world's Formula One, Oscars and World Series rolled into one. (By the way, for the next one, in January, the Yanks are coming: For the first time a U.S. team will be competing, headed by Daniel Boulud and Keller, consulting with the likes of Mario Batali and Jean-Georges Vongerichten. Allez, U.S.A.!).

Express service

YET AT age 82, spry Monsieur Paul is far from stuck in the past. Some of his newer bistros are sleek and buzzy, with menus boasting trendy world-cuisine touches. And in January he launched this latest venture, right around the corner from his hippest restaurant, 5-year-old L'Ouest. Attached to a new Pathé movie multiplex in a gentrifying industrial district in the northwest part of town called Vaise, Ouest Express serves up fast food, Bocuse-style -- his boldest step yet into the mass market. As they say, if you can't beat 'em . . . .

And certainly since Wolfgang Puck, the idea of high-end chefs going down-market is hardly a shocker. Tom Colicchio of Craft and Gramercy Tavern fame has even coined the term "fine fast." Even here in more tradition-bound Lyon, "fine casual" is gaining steam: Besides his creative Michelin two-star restaurant, enfant terrible Nicolas Le Bec just opened a laid-back spot called Espace Le Bec -- at the airport.

The new "McBocuse" brings to mind what you might call "Jetsons chic": a large, rounded, fluorescent-lighted space with a high-tech look in white with red accents and a large glowing clock, presumably to underscore the "fast" concept. Red, padded booths and banquettes line a circular dining area, with additional white plastic tables and chairs along the outside and higher chairs along counters facing the floor-to-ceiling windows accented with long, low planters of wheat grass.

The service counters curve around one end of the room, including not only the expected menus above but display cases below, showing off a cavalcade of fresh sandwiches, salads, pastas, quiches, desserts and libations. As with his midrange bistros and "gastronomic" restaurant, Bocuse says, "we insist on good, fresh ingredients. The pasta is cooked in front of the clients, and what really makes the difference for the sandwiches is the bread -- they bake it every two hours."

On the menu

THERE'S NOT a burger or Happy Meal in sight. Instead, rigatoni with boletus mushroom sauce, a fresh chèvre sandwich on sun-dried-tomato ciabatta with olive-tomato tapenade, and a nicely balanced strawberry tart. Other sandwich offerings, all about $6.75, included sweet and prosciutto-style cured ham on pain de campagne (country bread), sliced roast chicken, and smoked Norwegian salmon (both on ciabatta). Crudités are served with tapenade and lemon tartar sauce (about $8.65); the daily entrée special on a recent visit was sliced chicken in a French Basque-style sauce of tomatoes, onion and sweet red Espelette pepper, with rice and salad (about $15).

For that same price there are also formules (combo menus) -- sandwich, salad, quiche (such as onions, mushrooms and lardons, or bacon) or pasta (such as farfalle with a seafood sauce made with squid and mussels), plus frites, a drink and dessert. Gaufres, anyone? The waffles are served plain, or with powdered sugar, chocolate sauce or Chantilly cream. Wines include a Guyot Côtes du Rhône and Georges Duboeuf Mâcon Villages. Service is fairly friendly and the clientele varied -- a recent drizzly weeknight drew a large group of twentysomethings and various twosomes and threesomes ages 16 to 60.

Bocuse says he's been asked by Hilton Hotels Corp. to open branches at a number of its properties. Because he impishly promises, "I will last another 20 years," that still leaves the "Lion of Lyon" plenty of time to keep spreading his gastronomic gospel to the masses.

Posted by CaitlinMcC 11:16 Archived in France Tagged food Comments (1)

I've been too vague

"So Caitlin, why exactly were you in France?"

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A friend just e-mailed me and told that I'm being too vague about why I went to France. Here is the answer for everyone.

I'm at the end of MBA program at the University of Connecticut and we are required to take a class called Strategy as one of our final classes.

Also, my program (the working professional/part-time program) has an international requirement. Most of the students go on a trip with faculty for 1 week to Prague, China or Latin America. They go on tours, etc and then write a paper when they return.

By doing an exchange program with EM Lyon, I was able to satisfy both requirements in 2 weeks at one of the top business schools in Europe!! www.em-lyon.com There is no work due afterwards like writing a paper. Then Teresa and I were on vacation in Paris for a week.

The class was taught by a UConn professor (with an international background) and the other 10 Americans were UConn MBA students (8 from the Hartford campus so I didn't know them previously). Class was conducted in English and met every day. The French-speaking students were a mixture of Masters in the Science of Management, 4-9 International MBA and 1 Executive MBA. I think there were 35-40 students total.

No, I don't speak French but my Frenglish is good and my charades (party game for guessing words) are excellent. Luckily, my French-speaking classmates were fluent in English and took care of me/us. One taught me how to order tap water because bottled water was sooooo expensive - 5-10USD for a small bottle.

Posted by CaitlinMcC 09:41 Archived in France Comments (0)

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