Cour de Loges, Lyon
Cheshire Life: June 2019 A WEEKEND AWAY A stylish blend of gastronomy and gothic glamour makes for a five-star stay in this French foodie Mecca Cheshire Life: June 2019
It may be the gastronomic capital of France but Lyon’s charms don’t stop with its Michellin stars and world-class menus. If you’d ever like to figure out the ingredients to a perfect weekend away, Lyon might just have the recipe – cool café culture sits amidst quirky architecture, history steeped cobbled streets stages a vibrant, modern buzz. You can see all the best bits on foot within a 48-hour window and it’s all a less-than two hour flight from Manchester.
One of the most illustrious places to stay can be found down a quiet alleyway surrounded by the marvellous medieval and renaissance architecture of Vieux Lyon (the old town). The Cour des Loges is a magnificently quirky five star hotel renowned for its architecture and Michelin-starred restaurant.
Those looking for a contemporary bolthole, all clean lines and generic furnishings, look away now. This five-star gem in the Unesco designated part of this city was originally four Renaissance townhouses, now interlinked by
monastery-like corridors and twisting staircases and arched walkways surrounding the atrium. The lighting is atmospheric – or in non-hotel brochure speak, dim. Even in the inner sanctum of our superior room, the overhead lighting didn’t flicker above candlelit level. Still I’m all for soft focus, especially as one wall of the ensuite bathroom, accessed up a short flight of stairs from the bedroom, was taken up by an enormous mirror.
Renaissance-style art adorns the wall above a generous sized bed and the room is big enough to accommodate a table and separate dressing/wardrobe area so you don’t have luggage cluttering up the main room.
The hotel is also renowned for its food offer that includes chef Anthony Bonnet’s one Michelin starred restaurant Les Loges, its Café Épicerie, a relaxed brasserie and its superb breakfasts, featuring an enormous buffet filled with French breads pastries, charcuterie, fresh healthy juices and coked-to-order eggs of all varieties (I tried baked eggs with parsnip which sounds
weird but were velvety and unctuous). Food fans have flocked to Lyon for decades now, mainly thanks to the legend of Paul Bocuse, the chef’s chef and France’s most famous gastronomic export after the croissant.
Bocuse died in January 2018, but his legacy lives on in his restaurants, including his L’auberge du Pont de Collonges, which has three Michelin stars. There are several other Bocuse restaurants in the city, as well as the foodie paradise of his eponymous market, Les Halles de Lyon Paul Bocuse
The Bouchon Lyonnaise – a type of restaurant only found in Lyon – is a reason so many flock here to eat regional dishes such as calf’s head, pike and tripe but modern cooking is just as good. We ate at the Cour des Loges brasserie and enjoyed a mixture of traditional Lyonnaise and modern cooking. A cold game pie, fresh asparagus served with a truffle butter, steak frites and a spelt risotto for mains were perfectly executed in this busy restaurant.
If you haven’t eaten yourself into a coma, then taking a slow walk along the banks of Rhone is a perfectly pleasant way to wander away an afternoon – or you could whizz along on an electric scooter local style (although there is something offputting about grown adults on any sort of scooter). Personally I went for my secondfavourite (after eating) mini-break activity; shopping. A mixture posh favourites such as Hermes, Chanel, Maje, and niche boutiques, it’s a danger to your credit card. I saw one devoted exclusively to gloves but my favourite was another selling exquisite silk scarves and bowties. Ideal dinner attire one could argue.
“Food fans have flocked to Lyon for decades now”