Lyonnaise, Lyon City of Gastronomy

Lyonnaise cuisine in Lyon City of Gastronomy

Lyon History

In the nineteenth century, Lyonnaise cuisine was all about female cooks who had started up their own businesses, serving up simple cuisine. From their work with the “cheap cuts”, classic Lyonnais dishes such as Tablier de sapeur and string-tied andouillette were born. These dishes continue to delight gourmets
who visit Lyon’s famous ‘bouchons’ (authentic local eateries), which can be identified by the quality label‘Les Bouchons Lyonnais’, initiated by ONLYLYON Tourism and Conventions and the Lyon Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

This label offers a guarantee of respect for ingredients, recipes and the specificities of Lyonnaise cuisine, as well as the ambiance and welcome offered. Among the specialities you will find at a bouchon, the ‘mâchon’ is one that every visitor should experience. Eaten at 9 am, as Lyon’s former silk workers (the ‘Canuts’) used to do, this meal is mainly made up of charcuterie washed down with Beaujolais wine. It was enjoyed by brotherhoods such as the ‘Francs-Mâchons’.

This bouchon tradition is upheld by Lyon’s young generation of chefs, with respect for the same values: conviviality, simplicity, generosity and tasty fresh ingredients.

The city of the Lyon owes much to Paul Bocuse, including its title of the ‘Capital of Gastronomy’. An outstanding chef, his cuisine is renowned and was crowned with 53 years of three Michelin stars. Voted the ‘Chef of the Century’ once in 1989, by Gault-et-Millau, and a second time, in 2011, by the Culinary Institute of America, he left an unsurpassed gastronomic mark.

Paul Bocuse passed away in 2018, at age 91 but remains an inspiration for many chefs who still visit his legendary establishment in Collonges-au-Mont-d’Or. ‘Monsieur Paul’, as he was affectionately known, was also a visionary. He developed a ‘chic brasserie’ concept in Lyon, the reins of which have been picked up by many great chefs. Bocuse’s style in both the kitchen and dining room, have been acclaimed by a global audience.

His legacy is continued by buchons who blend ingredients from the poultry, wine, fruit and vegetable-producing regions of France. Those ingredients meet at Les Halles Paul Bocuse named in his honor since 1971. In this indoor food market dating back to 1859 is where Michelin-starred chefs and other serious chefs come to find the excellence offered by the region’s terroirs. It offers a lively filled with mouth-watering aromas, particularly on Sunday mornings.

Lyon mural honoring Paul Bocuse

Lyon mural honoring Paul Bocuse; credit TeoZac

As you explore the market, you will find Mère Sibilia’s charcuterie, Giraudet’s quenelles (dumplings), Mère Richard’s Saint-Marcellin cheese, and Sève’s praline tarts. You will also find restaurants and oyster sellers that delight locals and tourists alike. The same atmosphere exists at the famous market on Quai Saint-Antoine, the lively market on Croix-Rousse hill, and the evening market on Place Carnot.

Today, Lyon’s gastronomy owes its excellence to its renowned Michelin-starred chefs and a group of up-and-coming chefs with a bright future ahead of them. The metropolitan area has some twenty Michelin stars in its constellation. Exceptional cuisine, inspired young chefs, hundred-year-old brasseries and neighbourhood restaurants offer a culinary journey filled with delicious smells and flavors.

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