Lyon was voted best weekend destination in Europe at the recent World Travel Awards 2016. It is a vibrant city of artisanal traditions, famous for its woodwork, silks and gastronomy, particularly that of three-Michelin-starred chef Paul Bocuse. The old city is a designated Unesco World Heritage site, and even has a tower to rival the Eiffel, located on Fourvière hill, the site of the old Roman city.
Also in Fourvière, five-star hotel Villa Maïa opens its doors on March 8. Boasting panoramic views across the city, the Alps and the Saône and Rhône rivers, it has been designed by architect Jean-Michel Wilmotte, famous for one of the interiors of the Louvre and Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum. The interiors, meanwhile, are by Jacques Grange, who has worked with Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé, Francis Ford Coppola and Aerin Lauder, and the landscape designs come courtesy of Louis Benech.
The hotel’s 29 rooms and seven suites (from €545 per night) feature bespoke furniture in elegant neutral palettes of brown and grey, as well as bathrooms of Carrara marble that are stocked with Villa Maïa’s own-brand products, all perfumed with a fragrance created in collaboration with Benech (think carnations, irises, bitter almonds, aniseed). Outside, meanwhile, Benech’s peaceful Garden of Contemplation is planted with plane trees, yew hedges and low shrubs to resemble a cloister; and for the swimming pool, hammam and fitness room, Grange took his inspiration from the Gallo-Roman baths in Fourvière, creating a Pompeiian-style ceiling, chequered damier floor and marble columns.
Lunch and dinner are served at Têtedoie, the Michelin-starred restaurant of Christian Têtedoie located opposite Villa Maïa. Têtedoie honed his craft with Paul Bocuse, Georges Blanc and at the Elysée Palace. His signature dishes are tête de veau (calf’s head, €44) and lobster (€52 for half; €86 for whole); and his regional menu (from €65, excluding wine) features his fresh spin on local products such as Dombes chicken, carp, pike and creamy cow’s cheese Saint Marcellin, aged by cheesemonger La Mère Richard at local market Les Halles-Paul Bocuse. And of course, Têtedoie’s food is matched with wines of the region – rhônes, burgundies and beaujolais.