Parc de la Tête D’or
The Tête D’Or park lies a short walk north of Les Brotteaux. With an expanse of around 117 hectares, the park serves as a calm haven in the midst of the buzz of city life and has remained as such since the late 19th century. The entrance to the park is magnificent in itself. The Porte des Enfants du Rhône is an impressive iron gate, with spiraling golden features. The park is also home to four rose gardens and a greenhouse containing a staggering variety of plant species. The park maintains its charm regardless of the season, but it’s particularly popular throughout the summer months, when visitors can bask in the balmy French sun near the vast lake that acts as a beautiful centerpiece.
Coinciding with the urban development of this quarter of the city in the early 19th century, this church was opened on Christmas Day 1843. The church is designed in a neoclassic fashion and is worth a visit for its bold columns that make the church a dominating presence in the heart of Les Brotteaux. Aside from the impressive exterior, the inside boasts a striking, blue domed roof in the style of a Greek temple, complete with a fresco depicting Christ’s twelve apostles. The church is also a spot of thought-provoking local history, as its doors were smashed in protest against impoverished working conditions of silk workers in the 19th century.
Address: Paroisse Sainte Pothin
Lyon’s zoo is nestled in the heart of Tête D’Or park, where it has been for some 150 years. This zoo is home to a variety of endangered species from across the globe, such as lions from the grasslands of India, monkeys originating from the Amazonian jungle of southwest Peru and formidable five-meter crocodiles from the Nile. Considering the list of remarkable mammals, birds and reptiles who reside here, the zoo prides itself on commitment to wildlife conservation with an onsite vet who studies the animals’ health and nutrition. The zoo also funds numerable projects and activities dedicated to raising public awareness. The zoo is open daily and shuts its doors in the evening.
Sample The Local Delicacies
Lyon is renowned as the culinary capital of France, and therefore perhaps, by proxy, the world. For a taste of the highest quality cooking on offer from France, Les Brotteaux is home to a plethora of bouchons, quaint French brasseries that specialize in rustic French cooking, for you to try. Les Brotteaux is the definitive spot to get your fill of organic cuts of meat, complemented by fine French wines. Perhaps try La Brasserie des Brotteaux for a delectable menu, with a stunning interior bedecked with ornate ceramics and all the ingredients for a spot of fine dining.
Gare des Brotteaux
Gare des Brotteaux is the old railway station that serves as an artistic attraction in this particular district. The station is the brainchild of Parisian architect Paul D’Arbaut and was inogerated at the turn of the 20th century. Although replaced as the primary railway station in Lyon by the Gare de la Part-Dieu, the building maintains its draw to crowds of tourists and hosts a brassarie and offices. The façade remains incredibly impressive and boasts ornate attention to detail in the form of crests and mosaiacs serving as emblems of grandeur and decadence. The building is particularly striking at night, when the bay windows and detailed fittings are illuminated by a bath of white light.
Les Halles de Lyon
This local market is famed for its locally sourced gourmet foods and fresh array of seafood and meat. It is definitely a must-see for tourists desiring an authentic French experience, and for those with adventurous tastes, this is the place to endulge in French culinary classics such as frogs legs or escargots. The market is at its best on a Sunday, when local families flock to its doors for a feast of seafood accompanied by white wine (French, of course). Packed with wonderful sights, smells and colors, this buzzing hub is a paradise for foodies and reflects the strength of French gastronomy.
Address & telephone number: 102 Cours Lafayette, +33 4 78 62 39 33
Place du Maréchal-Lyautey
For those crossing the bridge over the Rhône river, this pleasant little square is the first sight to see. This green space is shaded by trees and has children’s play area and charming flower stalls. The square was created in the 19th century, and later amendments to the square commemorate the life of French civil servant Andre Maginot. The fountain in the middle was built at the end of the 19th century, at the request of the citizens of Lyon who wanted to thank Napoleon for ending the bridge toll that debilitated this quarter of the city. The fountain is worth a visit and depicts five cherubs that represent the various attractions and assets of the city of Lyon: shipping trade, strength, history and geography.
This artisan chocolatier and typical French patisserie is a must for those with a sweet tooth. Maurice Bernachon presents a fantastic array of petit fours, all created with a level of craftsmanship that is unequaled, earning him his three Michelin stars. The chocolate at Bernachon is produced onsite, and ingredients are sourced locally, meaning real love and care has gone into its production. The shop itself is in a great location, a prime spot for window shopping. The interior is cozy and welcoming, especially due to the fantastic waft of chocolaty indulgence that greets you as you enter.
Address & telephone number: 42 Cours Franklin Roosevelt, +33 4 78 24 37 98
Musée des Moulages
A stone’s throw from the heart of Les Brotteaux lies the museum of mythological castings, a gallery that was inaugurated in 1885 by the University of Lyon. The collection presents numerous medieval and modern castings that illustrate the evolution and style of sculptures from Ancient Greece through to 19th century AD. The museum is also a site for art exhibitions and events for locals and tourists to expand their cultural horizons. The museum is open daily from 2 until 6pm.
Address & telephone number: 3 Rue Rachais, +33 4 72 84 81 12
Promanade along Quai de Serbie
Regardless of season, a walk along this particular boulevard is a must if you’re in the Brotteaux district. The thoroughfare stretches along the Rhône river and is lined with tall trees, which on a summer’s day provide much-needed shade from the scorching sun. The stretch that goes through Les Brotteaux lies between two spectacular bridges, and with fantastic views of the grand buildings that line the streets across the Rhône, it is a good space to while away a sunny afternoon.
By Oonagh Turner