Lyonnaise adventures...Institut Paul Bocuse and the beginning
|Insitut Paul Bocuse, Ecully, France.|
Salut tout le monde! I am Hanna Mathe of WIT, Bachelor of Honours in Culinary Arts, and you might remember me from my rambles about my experiences in a Budapest Michelin starred restaurant. I am back again, this time having moved to the third biggest city in France, Lyon. As I am writing this just after the middle of February, I can happily say I have already been here for 6 weeks and boy has it been a ride!
If I may say a word of warning to anyone wanting to move to France, particularly Lyon(lets not even mention Paris) I would highly recommend looking for accommodation at least 3 months in advance. My search lasted roughly a month and a half and finished around the middle of December, a mere 2 weeks before my move. To say I was delighted when something turned up on Airbnb is an understatement!
Lyon as a city: The city itself is divided up into 9 districts, and is the capital city in France's Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes region. The city is a reflection of most other architecturally rich European cities, with Vieux Lyon(the old town) being the highlight. It is a truly beautiful city with a fantastic ambiance and unbelievably great wine.
|Visiting Vieux Lyon.|
I myself am living in the 9th district, a rough 40 minutes bus ride from Institut Paul Bocuse . I am truly amazed by the incredible public transport networks here. Connections between the metro, subways and buses will get you anywhere in generally less then a half an hour within the city itself!
|Sirha Culinary expo- Lyon, France.|
My first few weeks in Institut Paul Bocuse were a challenge for certain. I made the move to France with a fellow classmate, Derek McClelland. Unfortunately upon our arrival, Institut Paul Bocuse weren't certain about our skills within the kitchen and decided we should be placed with the first year classes. After several tries of talking with management and trying to fix the issue, we realised the only way was to prove our skills and positions within a kitchen. Having been here six weeks, I was moved up to join the third year group just over a week ago. :)
The academic system in Institut Paul Bocuse is very different to that of ours in Ireland.
|Example of a dish at restaurant F&B- cod, garlic aioli.|
For the past four weeks I was part of the morning rotation in restaurant F&B of the Institut, which is essentially the staff/student canteen. Hours began at 6.30 am in the morning and would finish anywhere between 3.30-6 pm. The restaurant serves 350-450 people in the morning shift and 150-250 on the evening. The students are taught in a very regimented, rule-based system and there is an enormous amount of supervision from the chefs. The French system certainly didn't disappoint the stereotype! It was an immensely frustrating situation to overcome, but one which taught me patience and persistence. Similar to my previous experiences in Budapest, it is necessary to muster all my remaining strength some mornings just to get out of bed, and the motivation to start the day is often very hard to find. But French chefs truly appreciate presence, motivation and initiative within a kitchen! I continued to tell myself I had no choice but to work hard and be persistent if I was to advance. Eventually, the hard work paid off.
|Les Halles de Paul Bocuse food market.|
The language: I have always studied French, from secondary to also having done a year of French in college. But after a month and a half I am proof that there is no better way to learn a language then to drop ourselves in the deep end! With major difficulties at the beginning first 3-4 weeks, I can now say I speak the language relatively well. French people speak VERY fast, and it is absolutely necessary to ask them to slow down, and listen carefully. Being in an environment where the majority of individuals dont speak English one has no choice but to adapt to the language themselves.
Although I would highly recommend getting into French music and turning Netflix settings to French, being in the country and a little bit of motivation goes a long way when trying to learn!
|Vieux Lyon Fourviere- at the top of the city. <3|
Top tips for moving to Lyon/France:
1) It is worth getting a TCL transport card as early as possible. It costs 31 euros with a student card,is valid for 30 days and usable on all forms of public transport within the city of Lyon.
2) Having a French bank account makes things a lot easier in France. It is easy to create an account with Nickel bank (most popular French bank with tourists) in any tabac shops around lyon!
3) If wanting to make any particular memberships while in France, a French phone number is also a plus.
4) Time passes extremely fast, I cannot believe I am almost halfway through my semester. Savour every moment of food, wine, the city and use weekends to your maximum abilities!
A bientot les amis,
I shall be back next month!
Love from Lyon, Hanna <3