La place Bellecour is a large square in Lyon. In fact, it is the largest pedestrian square in Europe and makes a great starting point for visiting any part of Lyon. The town’s tourist office is located here and lies between La Saône and Le Rhône, forming the focal center of the city. In the center of the square, there is an equestrian statue of Louis XIV, made by François-Frédéric Lemot. It is accompanied, at the base, by two allegorical statues of La Saône and Le Rhône, created by brothers Nicolas and Guillaume Costou in 1720. Only meters away is the Place Antonin-Poncet designed by landscaper Michel Bourne in 1990. On the Place Antonin-Poncet, there is the bell tower from the old Hôpital de la Charité. The original hospital, built in 1622 by Martellange, was destroyed in 1934. The bell tower is all that remains. As one walks from la place Bellecour along the rue de la République, one eventually reaches another famous square in the north of the Presqu'île called the Place des Terreaux surrounded by cafés, restaurants, luxury shops, department stores, banks, government buildings, and cultural institutions. Perhaps the most famous of these is the Hôtel de Ville built between 1645 and 1651 by Simon Maupin and, following a fire in 1674, the building was restored and modified, including its facade, by Jules Hardouin-Mansart and his pupil Robert de Cotte. On the south side of the square is the Musée des Beaux-Arts and in the middle of the square is an allegorical fountain called 'Char triomphant de la Garonne', made by Frédéric-Auguste Bartholdi and inaugurated in 1891. It was originally made for the city of Bordeaux and represents the Garonne River and its four tributaries jumping into the ocean, all of which are symbolized by a woman leading a Quadriga chariot pulled by four horses. Also not far from the Place des Terreaux is the Hôtel-Dieu, a functioning hospital since 1454 as well as the Opéra National de Lyon. The original opera house was re-designed by the distinguished French architect, Jean Nouvel between 1985 and 1993 and is named after him. A highlight of any trip to Lyon is to see the town lit up at night. Another experience that everyone should try is to visit an authentic bouchon, a type of restaurant that serves traditional Lyonnaise cuisine, such as sausages, duck pâté or roast pork. The atmosphere is delightful with tables for two to four set close to one another. During the evening of my first night in Lyon, I ate an extraordinary meal at a local bouchon called “Le Mercière”. The pictures above and below are of the table setting and food that I had which included an amuse bouche of white beans, lentils, pork pâté, and potato salad served with bread and butter. I also drank a nice bottle of red wine from 2009—a Brouilly Beaujolais. Of course, I didn’t eat alone. My friend had the “fond d’artichaut and foie gras mère Brazier” as his first course. His second course was “pied de porc désossé et farci, sauce au Porto, purée ‘maison’ aux graton lyonnais”. As for me, I had the “petit saucisson chaud lyonnais avec pommes vapeur” for my first course and the “quenelle de brochet avec sauce Nantua et épinards frais” for the second course. Afterward we had a cheese course which consisted of “fromage blanc à la crème” and “cervelle de canut”. For dessert we had “le gâteau Lyonnais” and “salade d’ananas à la menthe fraîche”. It was all so delicious but I must admit it was somewhat costly. I didn’t treat myself to such culinary delights the rest of the time I was in Lyon but instead chose to purchase sandwiches and bottled water when I was hungry or thirsty. The Palais de la Bourse is another beautiful building I saw while I was in Lyon. Designed by architect René Dardel, it was built between 1856 and 1860. The building was inaugurated by Napoleon III and Empress Eugenie on 25 August 1860.