Move over, Paris – the pretty-as-a-picture southern city of Lyon is where the real culinary magic happens…
For an avid epicurean, it doesn’t get much better than dining in a Michelin-starred restaurant in the very birthplace of Michelin stars. Unless, of course, that Michelin-starred restaurant is not only in France, but also in the gastronomic capital of the world – and in a magnificent 16th-century building, no less. In the beautiful southern French city of Lyon, this is exactly what’s on offer, if you know where to look.
Just ramble along the pretty cobblestoned streets of Vieux Lyon (Lyon Old Town) until you find yourself outside the old stone-archway façade of five-star hotel Cour des Loges. Meaning ‘Court of Lodges’ en Francais, this historic marvel features a central courtyard at the heart of the property that connects four centuries-old terracotta red buildings once home to hundreds of Lyonnaise. Today, they house 61 rooms and serve as a home away from home for well-heeled explorers.
It’s in this stone courtyard, topped by a beautiful 17-metre-high contemporary glass canopy, that the Michelin-star restaurant Les Loges resides. A page ripped from a history book, the dining room is replete with white-tablecloth-clad tables, crystal chandeliers radiating warm, golden light and the most proper of wait staff that ask guests questions like, “Would you like sparkling water with big bubbles, or little bubbles?” As for what’s on the plate, to begin there can only be one thing, especially in France, and that’s good bread. At Les Loges a vast variety of this arrives on a dedicated trolley, sitting alongside a football-sized slab of homemade herb butter for a ceremonial breaking of bread that’s down right biblical. This would probably be enough to satisfy the appetite of the bakery-devoted Frenchman, but for the rest of us there’s a menu of traditional seasonal French cuisine to devour. Think foie gras, tomato confit and chef Anthony Bonnet’s signature pigeon recipe. And let’s not forget the fromage (cheese), which, let’s be honest, is one of the best reasons to travel to France in the first place. Bon appetit!
Les Loges, 6 Rue du boeuf 69005, Lyon | courdesloges.com