Behind the scenes at the International City of Gastronomy in Lyon

Behind the scenes at the International City of Gastronomy in Lyon
Copyright Natalia Oelsner
By Natalia Oelsner
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This project located in the Grand Hôtel-Dieu will open its doors this autumn in France's capital of gastronomy, Lyon

The International City of Gastronomy will be a cultural space hosting culinary-themed exhibitions, where art, health and pleasure meet.


It will open its doors this autumn in Lyon, the city with the fourth-highest number of Michelin stars in Europe, often dubbed France's gastronomic capital.

In 2010, the "Gastronomic Meal of the French" was added to UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity list, and in 2013 Lyon was chosen as the first of four French cities to host an International City of Gastronomy, alongside Tours, Dijon and Paris-Rungis.

Natalia Oelsner/ Euronews

How can we eat well to live better and in good health?

In its former life, Grand Hôtel-Dieu was a hospital, which "welcomed the poor and gave restorative food". Now, in an area of almost 4,000 m2, visitors will be able to explore "gastronomy, at the crossroads of food and health".

"We would like this to be everyone's home," said Florent Bonnetain, director of the International City of Gastronomy.

This cultural space will allow the public to discover how to eat well, with an emphasis on prevention of health problems through nutrition, and will include displays on the latest research in this field, while remaining a playful place, with interactive and immersive experiences.

The permanent exhibition will occupy 1,300 m2, with the remainder of the space reserved for temporary exhibitions, including those from invited countries, with Japan first up. Elsewhere, you can learn about natural medicine and the plants used to cure sick people in the past.

Natalia Oelsner/ Euronews

What you will find

In the "Bon appétit" section, visitors will learn about renowned French cuisine, discovering figures that have made their mark on local food and its history. The cooking range that belonged to Lyon legend Paul Bocuse will also be on display, alongside foods to taste and smell.

Natalia Oelsner/ Euronews
Natalia Oelsner/ Euronews

Since gastronomy is not just for grown-ups, there is also a children's room called "Miam miam" (French for yum yum). Little ones can learn how to cook, with workshops, chef demonstrations and tastings on offer. Children will also learn about recycling and how to take care of the environment through food.

Natalia Oelsner/ Euronews

And in terms of adult learning, the centre will host co-working spaces and exchange spaces for conferences led by chefs and scientists, as well as literary, theatrical, musical and cultural events.

What does the Grand Hotel-Dieu represent?

Thanks to its innovation in the 17th and 18th centuries, the hospital that once occupied this site had one of the lowest mortality rates in France, recording a survival rate of 13 out of 14, against three out of four at the Hôtel-Dieu in Paris. Given that for the creators of this project eating well means eating healthily, the Grand Hôtel-Dieu is the perfect setting for the International City of Gastronomy experience.

Natalia Oelsner/ Euronews

TheInternational City of Gastronomy will open in October, exact date to be announced. Itwill be open from 10 am to 7 pm daily, except on Saturdays when it will be open until 10 pm. Tickets will cost€12 for adults and €8 for children, with children under five admitted free.

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