Les Editions Intrépides and the Croque Monde travel guides
I have been working for a new publishing house since they launched their first book in 2015. I have had the pleasure to take all the pictures for their travel guides called Croque Monde. These guides take their readers to all the highlights of a city and its surroundings through culinary walks. They lead food, architecture and history lovers to all the sites and the best yummy spots! http://www.editions-intrepides.com
It was only fitting that the first travel guide of a collection called Croque Monde (Bite the World) would be set in the gastronomy capital of the world: Lyon.
I wanted to write about my experience photographing this guide as it was a great experience. Unfortunately I cannot write about all the places I have seen and all the people I have met but if you would like to know more I encourage you to buy this very well written and interesting travel guide and go experience Lyon for yourself!
It was with great excitement that I set out to Lyon. Camera gear in the boot, windows rolled down in the scorching heat of an unusually hot spring day, a bit of stress in the back of my mind as the shot list was huge, I drove the 5 hours from Nice to Lyon.
As I arrived in this city that I barely knew, I was surprised with how quaint and chilled the 3rd biggest city of France seemed to be. No traffic jam, an efficient subway system, people hanging out in grassy parks and cafe terrace… just enough people to make the city feel lively but not crowded.
To get to the bottom of my shotlist I had to photograph a bit of everything every day as I had appointments with chefs and local producers spread out on the calendar and all over the city and surroundings.
Lyon Markets and Halles Lyon-Paul Bocuse
One of my recurring subject was markets. The Lyon metropolis hosts over 220 markets every week. It was such a treat wandering through the rows of fruits and vegetables to find the most photogenic radishes, tomatoes, salads, etc. Or to talk to the local producers and take their portrait in between two cheese sales. Lovely smells of strawberries and beautiful stands of charcuterie made it quite impossible to not go trigger happy!
Local restauranteurs get their fresh produce from their local market or from the famous Halles (covered market) Lyon - Paul Bocuse which was another place on my shot list and another wonder for food enthusiasts! Inside this incredible place I found a selection of all the local delicacies: pralines and all its derivatives, poultry from Bresse and all the local cheeses and cured meats. And it is open all day as opposed to the markets!
This amazing and massive photo job took me to discover a few of the traditional Lyon restaurants : the Bouchons.
They serve rustic, hearty food comprised of charcuterie, gratons (pork scratchings), tripes, pork and wine of course. I had an appointment to shoot a portrait of the chef of a modern bouchon and take pictures of a more traditional one in the old town. Both were very nice and it was interesting to see 2 very different takes on the same cuisine.
The bouchons were lovely and i got to photograph plenty of other amazing restaurants in Lyon for this book but my favorite one was La Table.
Chef Thierry Lhopital is a warm and welcoming host. My colleague Cecile and I felt like very special guests as soon as we opened the door of this modern French cuisine restaurant. The atmosphere is refined and relaxed. Beautiful massive black and white photographs of a busy table hang on the walls. Cecile, the writer and I order the steack and fish. As the dishes arrived I needed to photograph them. It always takes a bit of time to find the best set up for a photogenic shot. When I was done with the photo shoot we got ready to eat but the chef insisted on heating up our dishes for us. He was mortified that we might eat something that was not to standard because it got cold. That is the level of quality he strives for. As the plates came back we were delighted to taste these beautiful refined dishes.
This delicious restaurant is located in the buzzing artsy neighborhood of la Croix Rousse. It sits on top of a hill. Going up and down the streets of Croix Rousse to take pictures of the breath taking views of Lyon, lively squares filled with bars and narrow streets full of history and shops was the perfect way to burn off the 3 course meal I took pictures of and ate at la Table!
Croix Rousse, vieux Lyon, les Docks, la Guillotière, la Presqu’ile, Fourvière….
So much to see, so much to photograph, so many sites, so much history, so many restaurants to eat at!
La Limonade de Marinette
On the third day of my trip I spent a lot of time in Vieux Lyon. Walking through the narrow streets of Lyon’s oldest neighborhood, opposite the Saint-George church, I arrived at another place on my list and another of my favorite spots. A café full of vintage objects. The owner, Gerard Murat has a passion for advertising art and vintage packaging. Old trinquets are like wall paper coloring this delightful place. I could have spent a whole day here just to look at these objects and still discover some new ones. Posters, cans, tins, wrappers, toys are some of the many old school things that cover this place. You can imagine that such a place is a photographer’s heaven! But I had many other things to take pictures of and had to cut short my urge to stay there all day.
There were so many places to shoot in Lyon and I ended up walking to all of them, my podo-meter was going off the charts! I started very early in the morning and sometimes late at night because the night life of Lyon was worth capturing on camera. The evening I enjoyed the most was one spent on the river bank where groups of friends sit on the grass to talk and drink or hang out on the barge bars. Such a nice atmosphere.
Lyon country side
Lyon is surrounded by beautiful country side and lucky for me this was part of the brief! I had to make my way to photograph three beautiful regions: the Rhône region which Lyon is part of, the Ain and the Loire.
This region has many culinary specialties but the main one is wine.
Driving around this region I fell in love with the scenery. Rolling hills covered with vineyards, monasteries and beautiful golden villages. The local stone is yellow so the villages are called “villages aux pierres dorées” (golden stone villages) and I got to discover a few of them for the guide.
After discovering the scenery I stopped at a stunning castle and vineyard, le Château de Corcelles in the Beaujolais area. A beautiful place full of history. The castle offers tours, wine tastings and of course wine.
After a couple of days I changed regions and got to the Ain which is specialized in poultry.
The scenery was different, the country side is flat and dotted with ponds. The villages have a very medieval feel to them. Cecile, the writer and I stopped at a restaurant on the bank of the river in the village of Châtillon-sur-Chalaronne to take pictures of the beautiful setting and their famous creamed chicken. The food was delicious and photogenic and the atmosphere lovely. Cecile and I decided to take a break from our crazy schedule and enjoy the quiet sounds of the river to eat our delicious food and talk about all the wonderful places we had been to so far!
The Loire region is where I had the biggest to-do list. It is in this region that famous chef Michel Troisgros has his restaurant. Roanne is its biggest town and it is focused on gastronmy. I had a lot of people to meet there. Fruit and veg producers, restauranteurs, chefs and even a potter were on my crazy list and each and every one of them was enthusiastic about their craft, their products, their region and our project.
My favorite encounter was Laurent Mons, a cheese provayer who started selling high quality cheese in the Roanne Halles and is now all over the globe. It was such a pleasure taking his picture and listening to this very passionate man’s interview.
After taking all these portraits and listening to these amazing people I set out to discover the region. And it is a beautiful one again. I fell in love one last time before heading home to my French Riviera as I stopped in Saint-Maurice-sur-Loire, a beautiful village surrounded by water. Cecile and I walked through the streets and up to the tower with our tired legs to discover the most beautiful view of this picturesque village surrounded by dark blue water and lush green gras and trees. It was the cherry on top of the cake at the end of a long road.
The end of the road!
Two weeks had gone by since I had started taking pictures in Lyon. Two wonderful weeks full of beautiful sceneries, delicious food and great encounters. Two weeks of fun but also of very hard work and it was with a heavy heart and very heavy feet that I finished this journey and went back home to finally rest before and intense round of editing and photoshop of thousands of pictures!