Derailed

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Hotel La Cour des Loges

Foreign assignments, while sweet, often involve surprises. Enroute to an interview at a chateau in Provence, my plans to enjoy an easy and quick TGV ride from Paris to Avignon were scuttled thanks to the French rail union, which has decided to walk out en masse to protest Mr Sarkozy’s policies.

So I  fly to Lyon and prepare to rent a car, but flight schedules dictate I must spend the night. I check in for the evening to La Cour des Loges, a beautiful and curious 17th-century arcaded structure built around a five-story central atrium. So that’s where Hyatt got that idea.

The old section of Lyon, with splendid Renaissance palaces, is such a delight to walk around I almost forgive the French unions, especially as I savor the thought of dinner. That Lyon is a capital of French gastronomy was confirmed by my taxi driver, who rattled off my many Michelin options in the city (and, learning I was fron New York, informed me he was a friend of native son Daniel Boulud’s cousin).
But, drat, it’s a holiday. Something the French seem to have as much as strikes. So all the good places are closed. I stroll down to a local bouchon, which produces a simple but excellent entrecote.

But when I pay bills for the evening, especially the 25-minute taxi ride from the airport, which ends up being $100 U.S., I think, it’s we American tourists, with our rock-botton dollar, who should go on strike.

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