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Learn Lyonnais to Navigate Lyon

So, how is your French nowadays? Are you speaking French well, or have you just started to learn this beautiful yet pretty difficult language? At whatever level you are on, I have an interesting proposition for you. I am planning to complicate your life a little bit…because I am still very in love with Lyon! And I would like to show you a little bit more of it.

This time I would like to give you a chance to get to know Lyonnais by introducing their specific, unique Lyonnais language. Well, I am not sure if Lyonnais language actually exists or maybe this is just me, but I know you will hear these words in and around Lyon. Use my ready-made list of the top words in Lyonnais Language to help you better understand the city.

Lyonnais History & Culture Vocabulary

Canut or Canuse: Lyonnais silk weavers from the 19th century
Carimentran: a straw doll symbolizing Mardi Gras (Shrove Tuesday)
Cheval de bronze: the statue of Louis XIV located in the Place Bellecour
Gnafron: a shoemaker puppet who likes to drink red wine
Gone: generally a resident of Lyon
Guignol: the famous Lyonnais puppet created by Laurent Mourguet
Lumignon: small candle placed in a glass and stood on windowsills on the evening of 8 December
Mariste: pupil of the Externat Sainte-Marie school in Lyon
Martin: pupil of the La Martinière school
Traboule: a typically Lyonnais passageways used to transport silk yarn between silk workers and the silk traders. Nowadays, there are many of them to visit in the Croix Rousse and Vieux Lyon.

Lyonnais City Vocabulary

Allée: apartment block corridor
Cyclopolitain: green cab – ecological taxi for the price of a bus
Ficelle: old-style cable car running on the tracks: Saint-Jean to Saint- Just and Saint-Jean to Fourvière
La Ré: the big shopping street called rue de la République
Mairie: city hall
Vélo’v: a self-service of 4,000 bicycles spread out over 345 pick-up and drop-off points in Lyon and
Villeurbanne. Free of charge from 30 minutes up to 1 hour once you registered.

Lyonnais Food Vocabulary

Andouillette: typical Lyonnais pork sausage served hot
Bouchon: traditional Lyonnais bistro which serves home-made food in a friendly and warm atmosphere. It is run by families and has a specific look and feel reserved from old times.
Bugne: a doughnut in a shape of a twist traditionally eaten during ‘Mardi Gras’
Canon: a small glass of wine
Cardon or carde: a celery-like ribbed vegetable
Caviar de la Croix-Rousse or du Puy: a traditional Lyonnais lentil salad
Cervelle de canut: the white soft cheese seasoned with herbs and garlic
Clapotons: sheep’s trotters, often served in a salad
Cochonnaille lyonnaise: Lyonnaise cuisine like pigeon ficelé or tied pigeon and pork-based dishes like lard chaud, grattons, paquet de couenne le Jésus and la rosette, rillettes and pâtés de campagne.
Crique or paillasson: grated potato cakes which have been pan fried
Faisselle: type of fromage frais
Fillette: 37.5 cl bottle of wine
Gâteau de foies de volaille: chicken liver soufflé served as a starter
Gratin de cardons: oven baked cardoon with beef marrow
Gratinée lyonnaise: onion soup with croutons and cheese
Grattons: grilled pork fat served hot or cold
Jésus – Rosette de Lyon: a pork sausage made with sow meat and hard pork La Ré: the big shopping street called rue de la République
Mâchon: used to be a snack eaten by the silk-workers who were coming back from Mairie: city hall
Matefaim: a large Lyonnais pancake
Mères lyonnaises: ‘Lyon mothers’ – famous and robust Lyonnais cooks who shaped Lyonnais cuisine
Mère Filloux: the first famous Mere who started the tradition and attracted other talents to follow
Mère Brazier: the last famous Mere Lyonnaise and the first woman to receive three Michelin stars. She trained Paul Bocuse.
Omelette sourde: a traditional omelette
Pot: 46cl bottle of wine with a very thick base
Poulet Célestine: chicken sautéed with mushrooms and tomatoes, flambéed with cognac and white wine
Quenelle: the best Lyonnais speciality served in the bouchons, the soufflé of fish or poultry, whisked with flour or durum semolina
Sabodet and saucisson à cuire: sausage made with pig’s head and rind, to be cooked in red wine
Salade lyonnaise: curly leaf salad with bacon, croutons and soft boiled eggs
Saucisson brioché: hot sausage cooked inside a brioche
Tablier de sapeur: a dish of gras-double (beef tripe) in a long grilled slice

Did you already know some of these words? Are they new to you? While these words will help you navigate Lyon, my aim is to also help you understand Lyonnais history, traditions and culture. Lyon is a special French city.

You are ready now, aren’t you?

For more on France, read our posts on France and discover more from author Aga on her site, J’adore Lyon (http://shopaholicfromhome.com/jadorelyon/).

Published July 11th, 2016 by Aga Marchewka
Posted to Expat Blog

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