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A FLAVOR OF HOLIDAY TIME
The Rhône winds lazily through the heart of Lyon. It has come a long way before passing under the Pont de la Guillotière, the city’s oldest bridge. Rising from a Swiss glacier, its waters begin their journey in Lake Geneva. To the south, the river flows between the uplands – the Vercors, Monts du Vivarais, Ventoux and Cevennes – before reaching the sea via the Camargue delta. This indefatigable traveler deserves to slow down a bit as it passes through Lyon, just like the thousands of vacationers who throng the famous National Route 7.
The ancient capital of the Gauls, with its historic center crisscrossed by narrow streets of medieval and Renaissance houses, has much to offer the visitor. The great Curnonsky, the father of all food journalism, called Lyon the “world capital of gastronomy.” The city owes this reputation to its guinguettes – open-air eateries on the banks of the Saône – as well as the ambience of its famous bouchons, traditional restaurants serving quenelles, rosette salami and pistachio-studded sausages on red and white checked tablecloths… And above all to its mères (“mothers”), the hearty, talented women who define its cuisine: La Mère Brazier, the first woman to receive a three-star rating in 1933, her contemporary La Mère Bourgeois, who opened her restaurant in Bresse, or La Mère Guy, whose eel stew was highly prized in the 18th century.
The gastronomic adventure continues all the way down the Rhône Valley. The route south is flavored with chocolates in Tain-l’Hermitage, melons in Cavaillon, nougat in Montélimar, the wines of the Beaujolais and Châteauneuf du Pape… A holy land for food lovers! Not coincidentally, this is where the story of Relais et Châteaux began. From Roanne to Vienne, from Chasselay to Valence, this is a land of exceptional restaurants run by dynasties of master chefs. For gourmets, the Rhône Valley promises the pleasure of a hazelnut souffé or rock crab cake. For devotees of history and architecture, it also harbors the Gallo-Roman heritage of Vienne and the delicate stonework of Valence, the “Gateway to Southern France.” And for everyone, it offers an eternal flavor of holiday time.
Restaurant in town. On the banks of the river Saône sits île Barbe, an enchanting, magical paradise that is listed among France’s historical monuments. In 1977, the eccentric writer Félix Benoît proclaimed the island independent and declared himself the governor of this new territory. Benoît was a gourmet through and through and would have been delighted with the cuisine of Jean-Christophe Ansanay-Alex, who has turned this restaurant into one of the best in Lyon with delicious recipes, such as cold foie gras brioche and quince ketchup with grenadine or morel mushroom velouté served like a cappuccino. The new governor of the island, that would be Chef Ansanay-Alex. ... Learn moreless
Hotel and restaurant in a vineyard. Château de Bagnols, a fortress magnified by eight centuries of French art de vivre, overlooks the Beaujolais vineyards. 1217 is the year when it all started and the name of the restaurant adorned with a monumental gothic fireplace. Jean-Alexandre Ouaratta, an accomplished chef, focuses on pure lines and colours to honour the riches of the region of the Monts du Lyonnais mountains. The château is a voyage into history through a collection of light-filled suites, richly decorated with frescoes, tapestries and period fireplaces. The wine cellar has been transformed by wood to create a very contemporary design, whilst suites with the fragrances of the countryside open on to a landscaped garden. ... Learn moreless
Hotel and restaurant in the country. In the heart of the Auvergne of the winding rivers, pure water lakes, Romanesque art and volcanoes, stands a 15th century fortress. This truly exceptional place, just a few kilometres from Clermont-Ferrand, has exquisite guest rooms and an outdoor pool in the middle of nature, surrounded by a wooded park. If the magical towers, dungeons and royal guest rooms with fourposter beds, ancient silk, French marble and original furniture from the late 19th century, are not enchanting enough for you, our restaurant, with a cellar boasting 500 different labels, will seduce you with a cuisine which makes excellent use of the best local produce. ... Learn moreless
Restaurant and hotel in a village. With a panorama open to the horizons of the Valleys of Ardèche and Mont du Velay, father and son Chefs Régis and Jacques Marcon’s new hotel has “Ecolabel” approval. The décor is minimalist and there are plenty of spots from which to admire the surrounding mountains. Enjoy natural swimming in the pure water of the pool. The restaurant is dedicated to seasonal gastronomy. Mountain lovers Régis and Jacques will offer you tastes of mushrooms, wild vegetables and herbs alongside the Puy green lentils, river fish and their latest find, lamb “couci-couça” with cep praline. ... Learn moreless
Restaurant and hotel in town. Located south of Lyon in the once Roman town of Vienne, La Pyramide has a long legacy in hospitality. Previously held by the mythical Fernand Point, it is now in the hands of the very talented and friendly Chef Patrick Henriroux and his family. Never resting on their laurels, they constantly innovate and update, making La Pyramide an exciting and dynamic destination. Patrick Henriroux's cuisine respects its traditional roots and adds a modern touch. The gourmet restaurant Patrick Henriroux boasts contemporary interiors in vivid colours by Régis Dho. Guests will be delighted by the impressive collection of Chartreuse liqueurs. The rule of three applies to the good things at L'espace PH3, the hotel’s second restaurant: three starters, three main courses, three desserts, three white wines, three rosé wines and so on. ... Learn moreless
Restaurant and hotel in town. Across from the Parc des Sources in Vichy, MOF (Best Craftsman of France) Chef Jacques Decoret and his wife Martine have taken over a brick chalet dating from the time of Napoleon III. The chalet has a conservatory and a planted and aromatic roof, which illuminate the dining room. With its gentle, spacious rooms and a kitchen with large picture windows, it blends contemporary and classical style, just like the Chef. Jacques Decoret has created a new art de vivre in a historical thermal spa town. He favours fine produce, to which he applies his innovative skills, concocting combinations of hitherto unsuspected flavours for a cuisine nourished by smiles. Gourmets can also sign up to introductory cookery classes. ... Learn moreless
Restaurant and hotel in town. Take inspiration from the world of fragrance to create sauces with complex depths of flavour; evoke childhood memories by pairing orange blossom with carrots as a finishing touch; create a dessert that resembles a monochrome painting: Anne-Sophie Pic’s cuisine, with its sensitive touch, is proud to be “feminine” in what is still a man's world. She is widely travelled, boasts a wealth of experience and seeks to share the emotions this brings – each and every one of this original and emblematic woman Chef’s dishes is a work of creative art and she wants you to know its history. Similarly, the hotel boasts contemporary yet warm refinement and is set in a delightful Mediterranean garden. ... Learn moreless
Restaurant in the country. When, in 1984, Guy Lassausaie (Best Craftsman of France) took over a the restaurant founded eighty years earlier by his great-grandfather, he became the fourth generation in the kitchen of this former coaching inn. He brings to this family heritage his experience of top restaurants and now serves dishes which blend traditional Lyon cuisine with ideas picked up on his travels: sea bass fillet, rye and caviar pancake and fine artichoke purée or loin of suckling pig with a mango dressing – his combinations of ingredients are sometimes surprising, and always successful! The restaurant’s contemporary décor, with canvases by Lyon painter Jean Fusaro, provides the perfect setting in which to enjoy them. ... Learn moreless
Restaurant in town. All year round, Geneviève and Pierre Orsi’s “little house” in the heart of Lyon pays tribute to classic products like duck foie gras ravioli, lobster, baby pigeon and calf sweetbreads. The great classics are reinterpreted with a refined twist. Talented Chef Pierre Orsi, MOF (Best craftsman of France), makes each flavour emerge like a flower in season which appeals to all five senses and will remain a radiant memory. The dining rooms and lounges have been furnished and decorated to create a cosy and private atmosphere. In the summertime, the “Roseraie” is the perfect place for an intimate meal. "Mildness, love and gentleness” is the motto and the art de vivre of this property. ... Learn moreless
Restaurant and hotel in town. “Our profession entails the permanent quest for the finest products. The extraordinary nature of a dish comes down to so few things.” When Michel Troisgros removes his Chef’s hat for a few seconds, to talk about cuisine, people listen attentively. This Chef, supported by his son César, has established his own name with his very pure cuisine. He drew inspiration from Italy and Japan: “I had the great fortune to travel at a young age, when impressions are the most vivid, and I only had a vague idea about what my cuisine would turn out to be.” Marie-Pierre attends to the details of the minimalist décor of this beautiful mythical residence with a contemporary spirit. ... Learn moreless