Friday, January 11, 2008

Lyon 2ème: Ampère Victor Hugo

Plunge down the presqu'ile three subway stops down the line from Hotel de Ville and step out onto the cobblestone there. Not as young and eclectic as La Martiniere, but with a steady Mary-Janes and lipstick style charm, Ampère Victor Hugo is replete with gourmandise. Get off rue Victor Hugo and get lost in the details.

Ampère Victor Hugo is the city's center for antique trade and has begun to flourish into a bustling desirable place to live. It is teeming with a classic warm teahouse flair, while at the same time maintaining its identity as a historical center for the art of interior decoration, Lyonnais style. Many of the antique shops from the original quartier are going strong, but a careful eye spots chic fashion boutiques for the prim high-maintenance stay at home moms looking for that creative touch. Craft shops bloom like fragile wildflowers, with knitting and patchwork clubs regularly gathering in creative ateliers, while the antique elite hold their own in their long established trading houses. A sprinkling of cherished mom and pop toy and game boutiques forge their anchor-like presence on corners here and there. The one-lane thoroughfares are narrow and the architecture dates to the Belle Epoch, so naturally the light is soft and shadows manage to dominate just about everywhere along the small canyon-like side streets. All the more to draw you in with little nests of warmth, my dear.

A basket full of Limoges teacups seen through a shop window.

Anyone can easily make a day of it here. You can start with a visit to the Musée des Tissues et les Arts Décoratifs. It is hands down my favorite pair of complimentary museums in Lyon. Housed in a beautiful rambling restored hôtel particulier on rue de Charité, one ticket opens the door to both. Everything from the history of Lyon's silk trade to Hermes' beginnings and factory works in the region. They also have a well run document collection and reading room that is available to the public by appointment. Excellently curated and maintained, the Arts Decoratifs side will progresively get your standards calibrated in the course of a visit to venture into the shops and galleries and examine the antiques for sale in the neighborhood.

Restored and contemporary paintings galore, pretty old dishes and cutlery, furniture, vases and retro items. I always bring my antique loving friends here before shuttling them off to the various auction houses and markets.

Once you’ve seen enough, rest your weary bones for a nice moment of comfort, dear. You’ve had quite a productive visit.

lang lang a lang a, I miss you! Thank you for the card!

Cha Yuan, 7 rue Remparts d'Ainay, LYON 2e, A teahouse decorated like a little Beijing opera house I used to know, all red and wood and lacquer. This place has a nice selection of teas for drinking, but also for presenting to those you adore as gifts.

La Langue de Chat, 11 rue François-Dauphin, LYON 2e, Across from the Bellecour Insitute of Art, there's a cute little blini place. This one of those nice little rest stops to go when out shopping with a friend, perfect for sustenance and conversation. At lunchtime, you can enjoy a light meal for €10 including coffee, or just a snack in the afternoon. The coffee comes with a complimentary little house baked langue de chat, a nice touch that resonates with the name. Open every mid day and afternoon except Sunday, €9-12.50 for a snack

Ninkasi Ampère, 1 r Henri IV, LYON 2e, 04 78 38 14 28. Lyon’s own local microbrewery offers a selection of house beers, sandwiches, big burgers and fries, salads and menu offerings at lunch and dinner for a young crowd. If you’ve missed lunch service at the restaurants, you can get things to eat all day here from a shortened pub menu. €12 on average for a meal.

L’Impératoire, 11 rue Laurencin, LYON 2e, Chef Michaël Toledo and his staff have a reputation among local serious dining enthusiasts for taking care of details on a fresh light and inventive menu. You'll want to reserve here for dinner, but it's worth a try to stop by at lunch time to see if there's a table. Closed Sunday, Menus €16 (lunch), €35 and €41.

La Plage, 40 rue de la Charité, LYON 2e, Guy Benayoun regales his faithful clients in a warm and contemporary atmosphere, and they revere him in return. Market menu, variations on themes, creative liberty taken by the chef. 80 covers.
Closed Sunday. Menus €15, €19 (lunch), €28, €35, €41

Restaurant Thomas, 6 rue Laurencin, LYON 2e, This restaurant was first recommended to me by the woman who runs the Emile Henri cooking school up in the 1ere. The lunch menu is classic, while by night the tone changes completely and the presence of the chef comes through meticulously to the table with care. Clearly worth a visit for dinner. Closed Saturday and Sunday. Menus €16 (lunch), €37

Tartufo, 37 rue Ste. Helene, LYON 2e, If you're a fan of Italian food and you want good quality at a reasonable price in modest, informal surroundings, try Tartufo. Closed Saturday and Sunday. €18.50

Le Petit Grain, 19 rue de la charité, LYON 2e,
Vietnamese in a cozy atmosphere. Two distinctive and amusing diningrooms. Popular with the locals for a quick lunch.

Cap Epices, 39 rue Charité LYON 2e. The spice shop that used to be located at the top of Croix Rousse, this place is a must for replenishing your spice supply. Spices by the scoop, but also top quality house spreads, dips, crackers, snacks, and aperos with an international theme.

Cas’Italy, 56 rue Charité LYON 2e. Buy your Italian cheeses, crackers and bread sticks directly from Italy here, then go across the street to Cap Epices and get something good to dip them in. This Casino is different in that they have stocked the place only with imports, mostly from Italy. They have an Italian charcuterie by the cash register, and the pasta selection is great at prices you’d expect from a Petit Casino. The prices can't be beat.

The north edge of the Ampère Victor Hugo neighborhood ends at Place Bellecour, which looms like a desert pass - you can bathe in the open light before you enter a very different chic and fancy window shopping world, where everything is new.

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Blogger winedeb said...

I am THE armchair traveler and I thank you so much for that tour!

11:25 PM, January 12, 2008  
Blogger Gina Louise said...

That's where i work!!! Collège/Lycée Chevreul!

7:20 PM, January 14, 2008  
Blogger L Vanel said...

Winedeb, I'm happy to take you along!

Gina Louise, you teach at the school there? How wonderful. I think I see a dinner party in the works.

9:00 PM, January 14, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is the place I walked while waiting for my daughter to finish classes for the day at the Catholic University...My goal was the Musee de Tissues....stayed for hours just looking as needlework of all types is a passion...THANKS for the memory!

6:08 AM, January 18, 2008  
Blogger Jann said...

What a delightful tour I just had! I would love to visit this town soon.....I am sure I could find many wonderful things for my store....what a lovely,lovely town!

8:41 PM, January 22, 2008  
Blogger Parisbreakfasts said...

Beautifully lite delicious pictures!

3:19 AM, January 24, 2008  
Blogger udonhunter said...

Hi Lucy, I know it's been 3 years that you posted these pictures... but by any chance do you remember which shop / street was it that you took the pretty teacups photo? I thought it was rue Victor Hugo and couldn't find any shop that fit the description. Thank you in advance :)

10:00 PM, June 21, 2011  
Blogger L Vanel said...

It was a little antique shop on either rue de la Charite or August Comte around the level of rue Franklin.

6:19 AM, June 22, 2011  
Blogger udonhunter said...

Thanks! I'll try to look for it the next time I'm there :)

9:36 AM, June 22, 2011  

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