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Lyon: the happy union between gastronomy and wine
The capital of world gastronomy, the birthplace of cinema and Paul Bocuse, the center of textile industry in France – it is all about the 2000-year-old city of Lyon situated at the confluence of the Rhone and Saone rivers. From here you can explore Beaujolais, Burgundy or French Switzerland.

June 4, 2019 is a significant date in the history of Lyon – it is on this day the hotel InterContinental Lyon Hôtel-Dieu 5* was officially opened in the complex Grand-Hôtel-Dieu, the former hospital and the historical city monument. The hotel was renovated by the leading international designer Jean-Philippe Nuel. Basing on the history of the building, he developed a concept, which, in his own words, was "monkish and refined at the same time": the contrast between the ascetic décor of the former hospital and the striking richness of the external architecture was emphasized here.
More than 800 craftsmen worked on the restoration of the magnificent 72 meters high dome. It has been one of the most extensive private projects on renovation of this kind of building in France since 2013. The astonishing dome occupies the central part of the hotel, beneath it is the bar Le Dôme, which promises to become a cult meeting place for hotel guests and city residents.
InterContinental Lyon Hôtel-Dieu has 109 rooms and 35 suites, half of which offers the view of the Rhone river, the rest overlook а Fourvière hill with the cathedral and gardens in the inner courtyards. On the ground floor of the hotel there is the restaurant Épona, named after the goddess of Gallic mythology, patroness of horse riding and travel. The conference center of the hotel with an area of 1325 sq. m. consists of 12 meeting rooms, including 433 sq. m. conference hall. The hotel's spa features a 24-hour gym, hammam, sauna, steam room and studios for Pilates and yoga.
Also in the renovated complex Grand-Hôtel-Dieu, which is already called the new residence of the Lyon's art de vivre, there is an International Gastronomy Center (La Cité Internationale de la Gastronomie), a shopping center and numerous restaurants, among which the unique concept of Buddha-Bar and the elegant restaurant Le Grand Réfectoire in a former refectory with 10 meters high ceiling deserve attention.

The hotel Radisson Blu Lyon is located in the Part-Dieu tower, the tallest building in Lyon – they call it "The Pencil". The hotel offers its guests 245 rooms with stunning views of the city and mountains, 2 restaurants and 11 conference halls. Next to the hotel is the famous Paul Bocuse market and a huge shopping center, where you can look for gifts and souvenirs.
The hotel Villa Maïa, located on the Fourvière hill, one of the historic Roman sites, awaits our group for cocktail. The hotel offers 29 rooms (with garden or sea view) and 7 suites complemented by a private terrace. In the garden, under the antique arches, on the site of the Roman baths found during the archeological excavations, there are Les Thermes at Villa Maïa, well equipped with indoor pool, jacuzzi, sauna, hammam and fitness studio.
Once in Lyon, it is impossible not to walk through its narrow streets which the locals call the traboules. However, the traboule hunting can take a couple of days, since they may hide behind any inconspicuous door – sometimes even knowing that a traboule is lurking nearby you should still wait when the door opens. In the old quarters of Lyon there are about five hundred traboules connecting 230 streets!
One of the most famous traboules in Lyon is the Pink Tower traboule. Walking through it you may find yourself in the yard opposite the Old Lyon landmark – Pink Tower, built in the 17th century. Its creator was undoubtedly inspired by the Venetian architecture of the time, that is why the tower slightly resembles the houses on the streets of Venice.
Over the Old Lyon rises the Fourvière hill, one may get there by taking a cable car. On top of the hill there is the Basilica of Notre-Dame de Fourvière, built in the late 19th century. Not far from it you can see the Metallic Tower of Fourvière, the copy of the third floor of the Eiffel Tower.
The Fourvière hill is decorated with an odeon and an antique theatre built by the Romans in the 2nd century. Now, every summer, the festival of music, theatre and cinema known as "The Nights of Fourviere" takes place here.
Coming down from the hill, we find ourselves at La Place Bellecour, one of the largest squares in Europe. Here one can see the monument to Antoine de Saint-Exupéry with his Little Prince and the bronze equestrian statue of Louis XIV.
The Festival of Light is the main holiday in Lyon, which is traditionally held in early December. During this festival, thousands of lights, lamps and lanterns are lit on the streets of Lyon. The origins of the feast go back to the middle of the 17th century when an epidemic of plaque raged in Europe - then the city councilors appealed to the Virgin Mary for intersession and took a vow to glorify her. As a result, Lyon became the only French city not affected by the epidemic, and the townspeople began to light the lights in her honor. Thus, started the tradition of illumination.
Lyon is considered the world's gastronomic capital, therefore tasting is an obligatory part of the program. Oysters, cheeses and wine await us at the Paul Bocuse market…
The French vintage cars - Citroën 2CV, DS and Traction Avant line up for us at the hotel entrance. On these hotties we race to Beaujolais!
The first stop on our way is the village of Oignt. This place is considered one of the most beautiful villages in France. It is called the Golden village, all because of the golden shade of the local limestone which is used in construction.
The group arrives at the winery to taste the most authentic Beaujolais, red and white!
Finishing at the Château de Bagnols castle-hotel, we are going to lunch at the local Michelin restaurant. The castle has been recently renovated by the new owners – an aristocratic couple from England.
In the early evening our team returns to Lyon to enter the joyful atmosphere of the Festival of Light. Holiday in the gastronomic capital is not a holiday without the gourmet cuisine, so we are going to a gala dinner at the gourmet restaurant Tetedoie on the Fourvière hill. We are served wild boar meat with grapes, mallard with chestnuts and red cabbage, as well as the traditional Lyon specialty «Le HTV» with lobster and beef brains, all this is accompanied by the view of the luminous city!