Shopping in Lyon, the Home of the Finest Silks
(All Photos (c) Donna Dailey)
Two things set shopping in Lyon apart – food and fashion. It's known as a gourmet's paradise, so the excellent food shops and markets are no surprise. But it has a large number of top designer stores too. Rue President Edouard Herriott, which runs off Place Bellecour, is one of the best and has Max Mara, Dior, Lacoste, Louis Vuitton, Mont Blanc, Cartier and Hermès, as well as some names not as widely known outside France, like Chacok and Alain Manoukian. And round the corner at the other end of the street on Place des Jacobins is Sonia Rykiel, and a large branch of Printemps.
Arts and Crafts Market
Every Sunday morning on the west bank of the Saône on the edge of Vieux Lyon, dozens of artists and crafts people gather to set up stalls along Quai Roman Rolland and Quai Fulchiron (7am-1.30pm). This is no ordinary craft market, as the standard of workmanship is superb. There are plenty of stalls selling paintings of local landmarks, as you find anywhere in the world, but here too are fine art photographers, sculptors in metal and bronze, toy makers, potters, jewellers and workers in papier maché. Buskers entertain, the bells of Notre-Dame ring out from above, and it's the perfect place to find a unique rather than mass-produced gift.
Shopping in Lyon's Book Market
The Marché aux Bouquinistes, with dozens of stalls selling secondhand and antique books, can be found on the Quai Pecherie and the Quai Saint-Antoine by the Saône, all day on both Saturday and Sunday.
Lyon: Shopping for Food
Head for the market along the east bank of the Saône on the Quai Saint-Antoine (Tue-Sun 7am-12.30pm). Here producers from all over the region set up stall, and even if you aren't able to buy the fresh produce you can find local wines, preserves and other delicacies that will last till you get them home. For the browser, and photographer, there are stalls devoted to cheese, to mushrooms, to seafood, and every fruit and vegetable that can be grown in the region.
There's also a Farmers' Market twice a week in the Place Carnot, immediately in front of the Gare Perrache (Wed 4-7pm and Sun 5am-1.30pm). An organic market enhances the large general market up in the Croix Rousse district, along Boulevard de la Croix Rousse, on Saturday mornings. The main market, which is a mix of food and general household goods, operates Tue-Sun 8am-1.30pm.
You'll find some top quality food stores on and around the Place Bellecour too. On the Place itself at number 4 is Pierre Champion, a fine food shop which specialises in foie gras and that other southern speciality, cassoulet. They also sell wines, teas, coffees, liqueurs, mustards, pickles, jams and other food and drink. At number 11 is a branch of Voisin, selling chocolates, cakes and pastries.
Shopping in Vieux Lyon
At first glance the Old Lyon quarter seems nothing but souvenir shops and restaurants. Look closer, though, and you’ll find some fascinating shops there too. On Rue de la Bombarde near the Cathedral there are several craft shops. At number 14 is Artisans du Monde, a Fair Trade shop selling crafts from around the world. At number 16 is the glassmaker Vincent Breed, with a colourful range of lamps, glassware and 'art de la table'. Rue Saint-Jean is good for bookshops. See Diogène at number 29, with 80,000 old volumes on every subject under the sun. Almost opposite at 34 is Le Bois Debout Gravures, selling old prints (gravures anciennes) with a large stock of nature, history, fashion, travel and other charming old prints.
They have been called the best chocolate makers in France, and top chefs pay top prices to have Bernachon chocolate in their dishes. No lover of chocolate can visit Lyon without making a pilgrimage to the Bernachon shop at 42 Cours Franklin-Roosevelt (Open Tuesday-Saturday and some Sunday mornings; tel: 04 78 24 37 98, www.bernachon.com). The Bernachon speciality is a Palais d'Or, a thin, chocolate wafer sprinkled with real flakes of edible gold leaf. One of their selection boxes will make you think you've died and ascended to chocolate heaven.
Shopping in Lyon's Centre Commercial
Lyon has one of Europe's largest shopping malls, the Centre Commercial in the Part-Dieu district to the east of the Presqu'île and almost opposite the Gare Part-Dieu. There are three floors topped off with a glass dome, and inside there's a maze of escalators and stairs. Major French chain stores like FNAC, which sells CDs, DVDs, games and anything to do with audio and video, plus the Galeries Lafayette department store and about 260 shops in all. There are also several bars, cafés and restaurants, some fine food shops, and the Centre is open Monday-Saturday. www.centrecommercial-partdieu.com.
Shopping in Lyon: Antiques and Galleries
Rue Auguste Comte, off the Place Bellecour, has several quality antique shops and fine art galleries. At number 11 is the Boutique Henri Germain, which dates back to 1660 and the owner's ancestors are all listed inside, with the name of the kings they served under. The store specialises in silk and wallpapers, and is a cross between shop, gallery and museum (tel: 04 78 42 69 79; open Tuesday-Friday, closed for lunch).
There's also the huge Cité des Antiquaires, 117 Boulevard de Stalingrad (phone: 04 72 69 00 00, www.cite-antiquaires.fr) near the Parc de la Tête d'Or. About 120 antique shops cover every speciality imaginable (open Thursday and Saturday-Sunday, closed Sunday afternoons in summer).
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