River Saône: Lyon, Restaurant Paul Bocuse

Wanderlust at the pontoon in Collonges-au-Mont-d’Or

The rumors are true; we do brake, or moor, when fine dinning opportunities present themselves.

Just upstream of Lyon in Collonges-au-Mont-d’Or is one such culinary attraction; the famous the famous Restaurant Paul Bocuse is located on the right bank of the River Saône about ten kilometers from Vieux Lyon. Conveniently there is a pontoon mooring ideally located for restaurant access. It is a perfect place to stagger back to the boat after consuming a little too much alcohol during a gourmet meal’s wine pairing.

Wanderlust pushing upstream in Lyon

Wanderlust approaches Pont Schuman

A visit to Paul Bocuse’s restaurant is gastronomic pilgrimage. The restaurant has held three Michelin stars since 1965, the longest stretch of any eating establishment. Though the food has modernized, this is still a place to experience the classics of French cuisine. A meal at Paul Bocuse is a step back in culinary history to the time when unbridled creativity took a backseat to elaborate recipes executed with extraordinary finesse in the kitchen. While dining at Paul Bocuse is easy to imagine having essentially the same menu items in the 70’s and 80’s as are served today.

The restaurant has been described as a museum, as a negative comment. There certainly is a truth to the idea that Paul Bocuse performs the role of a culinary museum. And indeed there is a museum-like quality to the dining experience. But are restaurants that are effectively culinary museums a bad thing? Isn’t it good to preserve dishes in the style of days passed so we can experience what people ate fifty years ago? I don’t want every, or even most, restaurants to serve “old-style” food. But it’s good to have a few restaurants faithfully preserving the classics for future generations.

The fully loaded commercial barge Mecesa presses on downstream.

Église romane Notre-Dame on Île Barbe

Sadly Paul Bocuse passed in January of 2018 at 91 years of age. His legacy restaurant continues on, as it should. I for one have to hope that his food doesn’t drift from the classics that he carefully guarded through the years.


Wanderlust stopped Collonges-au-Mont-d’Or for the night of September 28 2017 on her way up river to Saint Jean de Losne.

Helpful hint: When you don’t have a toque handy a paper bag will do.

Settled in for the night

Gigi gets shore leave

2 thoughts on “River Saône: Lyon, Restaurant Paul Bocuse

  1. Did you have a meal at the restaurant? How was it? I think if we ever ate at a three-star restaurant, we probably would document it fully with photos and all. It would never happen twice!

    • Yes we did. I used to take pictures and document these things but the picture processing became overwhelming. It is also tricky with the color balance.

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