All about Lyon’s new foodie museum – plus three more attractions to whet your appetite
PUBLISHED: 16:59 18 October 2019 | UPDATED: 17:27 18 October 2019
The Cité Internationale de la Gastronomie will open its doors on Saturday 19 October
This Saturday (19 October) the long-awaited Cité Internationale de la Gastronomie will finally open its doors in Lyon, a city with a rich culinary history. This museum, dedicated to all things food and drink, will take up residence in the oldest part of the magnificent Grand Hôtel-Dieu, an important hospital from the 15th century until 2010. In 2018, the luxury hotel chain InterContinental opened up in part of the building and now this fascinating new venture will be breathing new life into the iconic landmark.
Described as 'the first cultural centre fully devoted to gastronomy', the museum is spread across four floors, totalling 4,000m². Visitors will be able to step inside a recreation of a bouchon, a typical Lyonnais restaurant, where they'll be able to discover the characters and the key dishes that make Lyon cuisine so special. Among the exhibits on display are Lyonnais legend Paul Bocuse's cooking range. There will also be an entire floor dedicated to children, where they'll be able to learn all about healthy eating and why it's so important. To top it all off, a visit to the museum ends at the 'chef's table', where you'll get to sample some tasty French food made before your very eyes.
Lyon, and indeed France in general, are fitting locations for such a food-focused museum. Lyon is considered one of the world's gastronomy capitals and is home to more than 4,500 restaurants as well as important cookery schools such as the Institut Paul Bocuse. France's cuisine was the first of any country to be added to Unesco's Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity list, back in 2010.
Here are three more great food and drink-focused museums to visit in France if that's whet your appetite…
Cité du Vin, Bordeaux
A museum dedicated to wine - how great does that sound? In a stylish, contemporary building beside the Garonne in central Bordeaux, the Cité du Vin has established a reputation as a must-do for any visitors to this western city. Discover the scintillating stories of wines from France and beyond in the vast exhibition, before enjoying a tasting in the sky-high Belvedere viewing room. Young visitors can join in with the fun on a special children's tour.
Musée du Champignon, Saumur
As wacky as it seems, this mushroom museum in the Loire Valley is a great place to spend a day if you tire of the beautiful châteaux and villages of this popular region. Experience first-hand the caves where the mushrooms are grown and admire the largest collection of wild mushrooms in Europe in the exhibition halls; there are some 250 species of mushrooms on display.
Musée du Chocolat, Strasbourg
Who can resist a chocolate museum? On the outskirts of Strasbourg you can visit a real-life Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory at Schaal's production site, where you can enjoy tours and tasting workshops. You can even meet the real-life chocolate makers who will share with you their passion for chocolate.
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