The ultimate job for a Francophile? Laurie Furber, Bay Area–based founder of online housewares emporium Elsie Green, travels to Lyon, France, three times a year to scout for vintage wares. Lyon, the country’s third-largest city, is “a bit more low key than Paris and has a great design scene,” she says. “The color palette of the city is beautiful, and it’s filled with dramatic sculptures, churches, hand-painted frescoes, a Roman amphitheater, and a mix of medieval, Renaissance, and modern architecture. There’s a great blend of old and new (the city is 2,000 years old), a vibrant food scene (it’s where Paul Bocuse and Daniel Boulud got their starts), and a rich silk production history dating from the 1800s.” Here’s a roundup of Laurie’s favorite haunts.
Above: “The most design-y option is the Hotel Collége; the owners spent three years searching for vintage school desks and benches to create a classroom and dorm atmosphere. I often stay at the bare-bones Hotel Saint Vincent on the river. It’s not fancy in the least, but the owner serves the best breakfast and is warm and welcoming. It’s like staying with your favorite old uncle.”
Above: “Le Bistrot du Potager has a great bar and wine list; perfect for a casual lunch or dinner.”
Above: “L’Institution is an iconic Lyon establishment, built in 1864 and overhauled in 2013 by Jacques Garcia. Another old-school classic is Brasserie Georges, which has the largest dining room in Europe and was established in 1839. They have two seatings, you have to be on time, sit down like a civilized person, and eat what they bring.”
Above: “Le Gourmand de Saint Jean: Lyonnaise specialities served at a sidewalk cafe.”
Above: “Hyggelig is a high-end concept store with a Scandinavian twist. Simple silhouettes, playful patterns and colors.”
Above: “Pop and Shoes is the best clothing/shoe shop in Lyon, and the best place to spot home design trends. It’s also a great place for a quick café créme.”
Above: “Bensimon, the French fashion brand, has a nice home collection. Sort of a cool West Elm.”
Above: “August et Cocotte has a nice blend of vintage and new housewares.”
Above: “Terreaux Bricolage, a Lyonnaise hardware store, has cloth lamp cord in a range of colors and cool furniture.”
Above: “Galerie du Desordre is a very well curated and quirky little gallery of finds from around Europe. The color palette will make you swoon.”
Above: “Le Village des Containers Les Puces du Canal is on the outskirts of town; each tiny antiques shop occupies its own shipping container.”
For a guide to Paris’s most happening restaurants, go to Expert Advice: 11 Under-the-Radar Parisian Dining Spots.