I just got back from 24 hours of “Paulomania” in Lyon. “Paul” being Paul Bocuse, one of the most influential chefs of modern French cuisine. I went to the graduation ceremony for his cooking school that I attended back in May-June; it was for the students graduating with Associates, Bachelors, and Masters degrees. I probably wouldn’t have gone (I’m a little shy of events like that), but another student from my program was coming down from Switzerland, and she stopped here on the way…so it seemed like the thing to do. And I had a wonderful time.

E. stayed the night at our home before we headed down to Lyon, so we had time to cook together. We prepared a fall menu, with oven-roasted chestnuts, walnut pesto pasta with nuts from a friend’s tree, pumpkin gratin, roasted guinea fowl, and pumpkin soufflé.

The following day we went to Lyon early to spend the afternoon moseying around the city before the ceremony began, so we had a lovely lunch together at a perfect French restaurant called Théodore, and then strolled around looking at cooking shops and cookbooks in bookstores…including books by Paul Bocuse, the hero of our little story.

Here’s a little Paul Paraphernalia, gathered from his restaurant when our class got to visit back in June.

With Bill Clinton…
Yes, that is a re-make of da Vinci’s The Last Supper, with Bocuse as Christ.
So apparently a lot of artists like to render his likeness.

The graduation ceremony was great…and very very different than American versions…my favorite part was that they played dance music while announcing the graduates, and the white-haired monsieur handing out the diplomas would occasionally bust a move.

Mr. Bocuse was present, and there was a moving moment where everyone stood to give him an ovation.

We got to see another one of our classmates and the chefs who taught us during our course. And we got to partake of the fabulously impressive spread of hors-d’oeuvres prepared by the students and staff of the school. My pictures really don’t give justice to the detail and intricacy of these masterpieces—I really can’t imagine the organization involved to produce those thousands upon thousands of mini works of art.

The following morning E. and I went out to coffee, and I kid you not, who should be sitting there in the same café, enjoying his morning coffee and newspaper, was Paul Bocuse himself. A totally surreal moment.
Later we went to the gastronomic indoor market named after Bocuse…Les Halles de Lyon Paul Bocuse, just to round out our Bocuse weekend experience. It’s a fabulous place, full of the finest of French cheeses, pastries, and other artisinal foodie wonders. 

And then, on my way home to St. Albain on the train, we passed by his legendary restaurant, where you can get a bowl of his famous soup for a mere $111.00.

Meeting Bocuse at his restaurant, at the end of my course at the Institute Paul Bocuse.

bike trip to spain

So…….here’s the post about our bike trip that I started but never got around to finishing! Better late than never!

To sum it up, we had a fabulous time…wonderful friends friends, beautiful scenery, sweet biker-shorts tans, and a whole new appreciation for campsites that actually have grass and picnic tables. And there were some rough moments, usually involving steep hills combined with intense sun, but all’s well that ends well…and it ended very nicely with two days of lolling around on a beach in Spain eating churros, corn nuts, and cheap tapas.

Sorry this has turned into quite the travelogue…on a trip with excellent photographers one ends up with way too many great photos and it’s nearly impossible to weed them out!

 Starting out in front of our house. We will soon be much more tan and slightly more fit.
Starting off was fairly flat,
but we soon got to hills. (All good things must come to an end.)
Maps spread out, trying to figure out the next day’s route. A recurring theme.
Thankfully we were traveling down this hill and not up.
Bekah getting her lunch stolen. This picture cracks me up every time I look at it.
The route was planned en route, haha, which made for some interesting discussions and tested our group decision-making skills. 😉
Our wheels.
The hills were killer. But we prevailed with special reserves of Girl Power (and pain au chocolat).

Waiting for the bakery to open…meals are the best part of the day on trips like this.
My love of French signage continues…
Loved biking with this girl! And we had matching bikes, matching shirts, shorts, and haircuts, which for girls, makes everything more fun.

More good times with food.
Castles are seriously everywhere in France.

 You just can’t beat the French countryside. It’s perfect. And so varied!

The Ardèche river; this region is magical and wild, and feels kind of old-west-y.

Watching Lost together…a favorite Dreisbach-Hocking activity.

Mid-morning coffee break!

I was relentlessly mocked for my hobo-like appearance…just had too much stuff to fit into those paniers!


Slate roofs…sooo picturesque! I love that there are people who go to the time and expense to keep traditions like this alive!
More of the Ardèche.


Fitting in with the natives.

Surely we should have tripped the speed camera.

We managed to hit some fabulous sights along the way, like Pont du Gard, 

and Carcassonne.
One of my all-time fave pictures of Jay, being his goofy self at Carcassonne. I especially love the guy in the background.

Paul and Bekah being awesome.

1,000 kilometers!
Aahhhh…dirt and gravel campsites…

Collioure, famous for many artists who painted there.

Crossing the Pyrenees! 
The end of the trail: Roses, Spain.

Enjoying our two days chilling at the beach,
and of course eating lots of churros with chocolate.

The bus ride back home…so lovely to travel so rapidly with such little effort! And while eating pot pies made by our genuinely British bus driver. Bliss!