Mini guide to shopping in Lyon
Whether cooked or raw, food is the centre of life in Lyon. (Walter Bibikow/Getty)
Grand old Lyon is France’s third-largest city and its gastronomic capital. Food shopping is an unmissable part of the city’s experience and its famed outdoor markets are the place to pick up a whole host of culinary delights.
Best for fashion and design
Looking more like a plush pad than the fine furniture and interior decoration specialist that it is, Mis en Scène (the work of design graduate Mariane Sauzet) revels in bold and playful pieces in punchy colours, baroque lighting, sleek Modernist water features and striking textiles and carpets (4 Rue du Colonel Chambonnet; closed Sun & Mon; glass lamp from £85).
Occupying one corner of the elegant central square of the Place de la République, this baby sister of the grand Parisian department store Printemps sells fashion, lingerie, shoes and jewellery on five floors, with a separate menswear store next door. Winter collections this year include Jérôme Dreyfuss handbags and Claudie Pierlot dresses and tops (42 Rue de la République; Claudie Pierlot pullover £145; closed Sun).
Kaolin, a famed luxury homeware boutique, is so beautiful it could almost be a museum. The shop is located on the corner of one of the largest squares in Lyon, and is filled with unique, handmade creations and contemporary design pieces that are often exclusive to the store, including colourful, post-modern Philippe Starck chairs and glass vases by the Italian designer Ettore Sottsass (00 33 4 78 37 53 56; 1 Place Bellecour; closed Sun & Mon; vases from £200).
Best for food
Capitalising on Lyon’s reputation for culinary excellence, In Cuisine is a bookshop dedicated to food. It’s bright, vibrant and well stocked: sections include wine and vines, world cooking, chef’s books, and health and nutrition. It also has a good café, open Monday to Friday, serving gourmet coffee and generous lunches (incuisine.fr; 1 Place Bellecour, 2e; books from £4, coffee £1.50, lunches £10).
This tiny but world-famous cake and chocolate shop run by the Bernachon family treats chocolate not as a sweet, but as a gourmet food in its own right. Not only do they make chocolates here, they make the chocolate itself: raw cocoa beans are roasted, grinded and blended in-house. Try the signature Le President, a flamboyant chocolate cake (42 Cours Franklin Roosevelt; cakes for one person from £2.50).
More than 60 traders tout their wares at this popular indoor food market Les Halles de Lyon, which has been in operation since 1850. It’s the place to stock up on ingredients – from speciality cheeses, such as the impossibly runny St Marcellin, and seasonal fruit and vegetables to fresh jamón serrano, snails and oysters. You can also enjoy a sit-down lunch at the stalls (102 cours Lafayette, 3e; closed Mon; St Marcellin from £2 for 100g).
Best for outdoor markets
Every Sunday morning, sculptors, painters, jewellers, fashion designers, poets and musicians come together at Marché de l’artisanat et des métiers d’art on the banks of the Saône river. Amble while browsing the clothes, ceramics, paintings and prints for sale (00 33 4 72 10 30 30; Quai de Bondy; Sun 8am– 1.30pm; silk scarves from £8).
Soulful Croix-Rousse – a hillside quarter known for its silk industry – has a villagey feel and a fantastic food market. More than 100 traders set up their stalls every morning to sell local cheeses, meats (try saucisson de Lyon, a local speciality) and crusty bread. Tuesday is the best day to visit as silkware, crafts and fabrics are also for sale (00 33 4 72 10 30 30; Bld de la Croix-Rousse, 4e; closed Mon; saucisson de Lyon from £2).
Set up in 1979 by writer and ethnologist Jean-Yves Loude, Marché de la Creation in Vieux Lyon attracts creatives and art lovers eager to snap up paintings, photography, crafts and engravings. The stylistic range of the paintings is incredible – from classical landscapes in oil to spray-can modern pieces (Quai Romain Rolland; Sun 8am–1pm; paintings from £40).
Where to stay
Le Boulevardier, in the Presq’ile district, has 11 snug rooms. The hotel is up a spiral staircase above a cool little bistro and jazz club of the same name, which also doubles as the hotel’s reception (5 Rue de la Fromagerie; from £50).