Lyon is the gastronomic capitol of France. Every capitol warrants a shrine and in this case its Lyon’s covered market, Les Halles de Lyon. In 2006, after renovations, Lyon’s market shrine was renamed Les Halles de Lyon-Paul Bocuse, honoring the city’s famous chef Paul Bocuse, who passed in January 2018.
The market has a distinctively gourmet bent and it is priced accordingly. The stalls feature the very best of the many French luxury culinary ingredients. You might see finer ingredients elsewhere but you will have to look very hard to find them.
Among the vendors’ stalls are numerous attractive restaurants. In France the restaurants near vibrant markets are often good. This is definitely the case inside Les Halles. It is a foodie paradise.
We did not do a full survey of the restaurants at the market, as worthy a goal as that is. One restaurant we did like and returned to was Chez Antonin. Usually after shopping we’d order Atlantic oysters and something else. One day we decided to splurge and the “something else” we ordered was the lobster. The lobster looked delicious on the other diner’s plates as we walked to our table. Unfortunately the waiter told us the “homard” was “complet”. The lobster was sold out. That, of course, meant that we would be certain to order lobster on the next visit.
And we did. This time we were lucky; there was one last lobster remaining. It would be ours.
Before the cooked and chilled crustacean was taken to the kitchen to be prepared for the table, the waiter brought it to us for approval. We acquiesced with nods of the head to the homard. What other choice was there? This was after all the last one available and it clearly wasn’t a cheap imported Canadian crustacean. Moments later the lobster was in the chef’s hands.
The loud exclamation came from the chef through the open slot to the kitchen.
Soon the chef was inviting all of the restaurant’s staff into his kitchen for a viewing of what turned out to be our lobster. And the viewings continued even after we were served the lobster at our table. Every member of staff who had missed the chef’s show and tell in the kitchen discretely came by our table taking quick peeks at the remains of the lobster that Becky and I were slowly savoring.
Undoubtedly we were not worthy of such a prize, but it wasn’t going to stop us from eating the lobster. And indeed, it was a most excellent homard. In retrospect we were fortunate that our lobster had escaped the kitchen without being the victim of a tragic culinary “mistake”.
“Monsieur-dame. Je suis désolé que votre homard ne soit plus!”
Particularly good was the large amount of the orange roe that was unusually spread through much of the inside of the shell. The roe was like butter, but richly lobster flavored. Undoubtedly the distribution of the roe was the feature that had excited the chef. And for good reason too as we could hardly keep from shouting “C’est manifique!” as we worked through the lobster. It was the best lobster we’ve ever had.
Apparently we had hit the lobster lottery in Lyon and we didn’t even know that we had purchased a ticket.
Les Halles de Lyon-Paul Bocuse is accessible from the port at La Confluence using Tram T1 and stopping at Palais de Justice Mairie du 3ème. A tram map is here.