Home > Villa Florentine Review
Updated: August 15, 2020
Villa Florentine – Dreamy elegance and a warm welcome on the hill of Fourvière.
High above Vieux Lyon, yet just minutes from the action, Villa Florentine, part of the luxury Relais & Châteaux group of hotels, is an elegant, peaceful oasis with stunning views. The two soft pink and ocher buildings, built on the hillside in the fifteenth and seventeenth centuries, have been thoroughly adapted to combine period pieces and artwork with modern ease and accessibility. The rooms are classy and comfortable, with king-sized beds, espresso makers, and incredible city views. Newer rooms are lovely, done in elegant grey and cream tones with dark wood; suites offer features such as mezzanine bedrooms or private saunas on balconies. The experience is elevated by outstanding and warm service. The restaurant is pure Michelin-starred elegance. A big highlight is the gorgeous pool terrace, where you can enjoy the outdoor pool and jacuzzi or the panoramic view with a drink in your hand.
Villa Florentine – Location
- Address: 25 Montée Saint-Barthélémy, 5th arr., 69005 Lyon, France.
- Nearest Metro/Subway: Vieux Lyon–Cathédrale St Jean is an 8-minute walk (0.3 mile) away.
- Area: Exceptional location on the sloping Montée Saint-Barthélémy, close to the heart of Vieux Lyon (Old Lyon), with sweeping views over its Renaissance rooftops, but quiet and secluded. The road is one of the main routes to the top of the hill of Fourvière, where you’ll find ancient sites and a panorama of the city. Close to the picturesque River Saône and the shopping and sights of Presqu’île, the central peninsula between the Saône and the Rhône (0.6 mile, 12-minute walk). Bohemian Croix Rousse is a little further north. Great food is within easy reach. 8 minutes (0.3 mile) from the closest Metro station and the 2 funiculars to the top of the hill.
- How to Get There: From Lyon Saint-Exupéry Airport, take the Rhônexpress tram shuttle; book your ticket online for a small discount. From the end of the line at Lyon Part-Dieu, take the C3 bus from Thiers-Lafayette to Gare Saint Paul, enjoying the city views, then walk for 5 minutes (0.3 mile). Lyon Part-Dieu is the main train station; from here, you can also take Métro B to Saxe-Gambetta, then switch to the D to Vieux Lyon. Avoid the long stairs, Montée des Chazeaux, by walking via Gare Saint Paul to the north (15 minutes’ walk in total). From Lyon Perrache train station, take the S1 or #31 bus, which travels along the River Saône, to the Saint Paul stop (0.3 mile, 5-minute walk).
- Handy to: Vieux Lyon, River Saône, Lugdunum Musée et Théâtres Romains, Musée des Beaux Arts.
Villa Florentine – The Basics
- Ages: Guests are a mix of ages, but most tend to be couples in their mid-30s and up, attracted by the location and romantic air of the hotel. Families with children are welcome. Bar is 18+.
- View: Most rooms overlook the pool and/or Vieux Lyon and out toward the rest of the city. Views of the tranquil gardens are also lovely.
- Private Pools/Jacuzzis: No private pools or jacuzzis, but some private saunas.
- Laundry: Laundry, dry cleaning, and ironing services are available (additional charge).
- Parking: Private parking is available on-site, a rarity for Lyon, for €24 per night (reservation not needed).
- Wi-Fi: Free Wi-Fi throughout the property.
- Extras: Complimentary valet parking and welcome drink on arrival – juice or champagne for guests staying in a suite. Free home-baked pastries at the bar. All guests are VIPs to the concierge team, and there is a 24-hour reception desk. Minibars, bathrobes, coffee machines with Café Richard capsules, complimentary mineral water, fruits, and Omnisens spa toiletries in all rooms. Peaceful gardens overlooking the city.
- When Tt Book: Book 3-4 months in advance, especially for the summer high season.
- How to Book: Booking.com will have the best rates.
- Phone: +334 7256 5656
- Email: [email protected]
- Website: villaflorentine.com
Villa Florentine – Amenities
- Pool: The heated pool is on the terrace with panoramic views of the city, next to a jacuzzi and 2 heated marble chaise longues. The pool area is open all year round (7am-8pm).
- Spa: Offers a wide range of massages and treatments using luxury Omnisens products. Also available are 2 saunas, one by the pool, and a steam room (7am-8pm).
- Fitness Center: Small but well-equipped with machines and free weights (7am-8pm).
- For Disabled Guests: Two rooms for disabled guests, one with a fully-accessible wet room. There is step-free access from the street. There are elevators in both buildings, and the period building has been refurbished with wide corridors. Do speak to the hotel about your needs in advance, and be aware that the hillside location may not suit guests with mobility issues unless they have a car.
- For Families: Extra beds for children are available but only in a Suite or Junior Suite; reserve in advance. Babysitting available for an additional charge.
- Activities: The concierge will be glad to recommend and organize activities for you in the city according to your interests.
- Other Facilities: Pets are allowed for an additional fee of €11 per pet per day.
Villa Florentine – Food and Drink
- Restaurant: Les Terrasses de Lyon – This Michelin-starred restaurant run by Chef David Delsart is a romantic space worthy of the hotel. Enjoy modern French cooking based on seasonal and local produce, a great wine list, and elegant surroundings. Gorgeous views from the shaded terrace make it a feast for the senses. Open Tuesday to Saturday, serving lunch 12-1:15pm and dinner 7:30-9:15pm. Reservations required. $$$.
- Lounge/Bar: Cozy bar with comfy leather armchairs by the lobby with its chapel frescoes. April to September, drinks are served poolside on the terrace.
- Breakfast: The excellent continental breakfast can be included in the room rate, otherwise it’s €27 per person per day. (There is a children’s breakfast, free for kids under 6 and €14 for those under 12). Served daily in the breakfast room, 7-11am, or in your room. In the summer, you can choose to enjoy it on the poolside terrace. On the menu is a wide choice of quality local and organic products, from financiers and other home-baked delights to juices by Alain Milliard and delectable omelets cooked to order.
- Room Service: Available 7am-9:30pm.
Villa Florentine – Rooms
- Room Types: Classic Double • Deluxe Double • Junior Suite • Suite • Medici Suite
- Smoking Rooms: The Villa Florentine is 100% smoke-free.
- Best Room: Lots of choices, as the suites are highly individual. Room 7 is a chic Junior Suite with a lovely covered balcony where you can sit overlooking the pool, and the TV is concealed behind a mirror. Room 25 is a very spacious Suite, with the bed and bath up on a mezzanine floor, and a lovely French wooden-beamed ceiling.
- For Families: No family rooms per se, though Suites or Junior Suites can fit extra beds in the sitting areas (sometimes 2) and accommodate up to 4 guests. Booking adjoining rooms is also possible.
Villa Florentine – Local Transport
- Walking: The hotel is perched above the Vieux Lyon district (0.2 mile, 6 minutes away), in a great location for walking if you don’t mind hills. The gentlest way down is the sloping Montée Saint-Barthélémy (though it’s a challenge on the way back up); energetic visitors can descend the long stairs downhill, such as Montée des Chazeaux. Uphill is the district of Fourvière, with the Roman theaters (0.4 mile, 9 minutes), sweeping views of the whole city, and the Basilique Notre Dame de Fourvière (0.5 mile, 13-minute walk). 6 minutes (0.2 mile) downhill to the east is the River Saône. The central Presqu’île is across the bridge, 12 minutes (0.6 mile) away with its famed shopping district. The Musée des Beaux Arts and the Opéra are just under 15 minutes to the north, while Place Bellecour is a similar distance to the south (0.7 mile, 15-minute walk).
- Metro and Bus: Lyon has good public transport, including metro, buses, trams, and funiculars. Consider getting the Lyon City Card which covers unlimited trips as well as free/discounted entry to lots of attractions. The metro connects with the airport shuttle, Rhônexpress, at Lyon Part-Dieu and Vaulx-en-Velin la Soie. From Vieux Lyon (0.3 mile, 8 minutes from the hotel), 2 funiculars can take you up the hill to Fourvière and St Just, saving you a strenuous walk. You can also access the city by bus from the Gare Saint Paul stop (0.3 mile, 5 minutes away), including Lyon Part-Dieu station and the Rive Gauche of the Rhône (C3 bus) and Lyon Perrache station and the central Presqu’île (S1 bus).
- Vaporetto: This ferry takes you south from the Saint Paul-Hôtel de Ville stop, on the river just 6 minutes away (0.3 mile), to Bellecour or the huge Confluence Shopping and Leisure Centre, which runs the service. Also included in the Lyon City Card.
- Vélo’v: City bikes for hire are big here, and cycling down either river, it’s easy to see why. Pick one up from one of 350 docks, choose a plan that suits you, and drop it off when you want. Just avoid the cobbled inner streets of Vieux Lyon and the steep hills of Fourvière and Croix Rousse (unless you’re feeling very athletic). Special offers apply for Lyon City Card holders. The nearest docks are at Gare Saint Paul (0.3 mile, 5-minute walk) and Place Fousseret (0.2 mile, 5-minute walk).
- Taxis, Uber, Lyft: A taxi from Lyon St-Exupéry Airport to the hotel will take around 45 minutes (24 miles) and cost €50-60. One from Lyon Part-Dieu station will take around 20 minutes (3 miles) and cost around €18-30. An Uber is cheaper for short rides, at €55-70 from the airport and €10-14 from Lyon Part-Dieu.
Villa Florentine – What’s Nearby?
Recommended Nearby Tours
Best Nearby Restaurants
No chance of going hungry here – Lyon is the gastronomic capital of France, with a unique culinary tradition centered on bouchons – small, friendly bistros serving hearty food. Be adventurous – they serve all parts of the animal here, head to hooves. There’s also an extraordinary concentration of Michelin-starred restaurants. Do check opening hours and be aware that many bars and restaurants are shut on Sundays and Mondays.
- Restaurant Les Loges – The place to go for dramatic fine dining. Enjoy bold yet refined Michelin-starred cuisine by chef Anthony Bonnet – think a starter of black truffle, onion cream, and veal sweetbreads – in the glass-roofed Florentine courtyard at the heart of Cour des Loges. The stunning location is enhanced by candlelight. Reservations required. 5-minute walk (0.2 mile).
- Daniel et Denise – Expect fantastic versions of hearty Lyonnais bouchon classics such as tablier sapeur (breaded tripe) and pan-fried calf’s liver, and an award-winning pâté en croûte (duck foie gras and veal sweetbread pie). No wonder the owner Joseph Viola holds the title of Meilleur Ouvrier de France (Chef of the Year 2004). 6-minute walk (0.2 mile) to the Vieux Lyon branch on Rue Tramassac.
- Cinq Mains – Neo-bistro serving beautiful looking modern French cuisine. On a sunny day, opt for the outdoor seating with views of the river. 9-minute walk (0.4 mile).
- L’Atelier des Augustins – Chef Nicolas Guilloton has cooked at French embassies in London and Mali. Now he’s established himself in this simple, chic space in Lyon, offering an inventive French cuisine that is influenced not only by his travels, but also by local, seasonal produce. The menu is short, high quality, and changes regularly. 9-minute walk (0.5 mile).
- Le Potager des Halles – Creative, seasonal food with some global influences takes the stage here, across from the famous Fresque des Lyonnais. The vibe is cozy and relaxed, with a cute balcony upstairs. 9-minute walk (0.4 mile).
- Burgundy Lounge – Fine dining for wine lovers – the restaurant’s quality is recognized by the Collège Culinaire de France. At the center are huge glass cabinets showing off the wares on offer. Choose your bottle from over 800 wines, then select food by Chef Axel Ruga to go with it. The lunch menu is a reasonable €29, while dinner is more pricey; e.g., a Menu Découverte with 3 wines selected by the sommelier will run you €102. 10-minute walk (0.4 mile).
- Le Bouchon des Filles – The women who run this wooden-beamed spot are worthy inheritors of the legacy of Lyon’s famous female chefs, the ‘mères’, and have been recognized by the Michelin guide. Here, Lyonnais classics are served with a lighter touch, and the service is warm and friendly. Try the stew of tender pig’s cheeks and the soufflé topped with green Chartreuse. 10-minute walk (0.5 mile).
- Têtedoie – Star chef and Meilleur Ouvrier de France Christian Têtedoie has 3 restaurants adjoining the Villa Maïa hotel. This is his Michelin-starred gourmet restaurant serving modern French cuisine and showcasing locally sourced ingredients, including vegetables from his own garden and signature dishes like chicken breasts poached in plant milk. Lunch is from €48 (Monday to Friday) and dinner from €70. Reservations required. 11-minute walk (0.4 mile).
- La Bijouterie – A quiet little gem, this place is relaxed and unpretentious. The menu shines with thoughtful Asian fusion and is utterly delicious. A set lunch of 3 dim-sum ‘jewels’, a soup, and a rice dish is superb value at €20-26, while the Discovery Menu at dinner is a grander €57. 11-minute walk (0.5 mile).
- PraiRiaL – Chef Gaétan Gentil promises ‘gastronomy without inhibitions’, built on organic produce, especially vegetables, modern techniques, and constant creativity, which has earned him a Michelin star. The venue is contemporary and chic, with greenery on the walls. There are several menu options, so you can go for lunch from €35 to a lavish dinner option at €94 (including wine). 11-minute walk (0.6 mile).
- La Meunière – Here, the classic bouchon lyonnaise gets a bit of an update by Olivier Canal and Franck Delhoum, but not too much. The traditional dishes and generous portions are there, and there’s even a machon (lyonnais breakfast) at 9am – a hot dish, cheeses, and ‘un pot’ (460ml) of wine for €25. 15-minute walk (0.7 mile).
Best Nearby Bars and Breweries
- Baràgones – Friendly, relaxed vibe, like the Collège Hôtel which owns it, but with a Latin American twist. Expect tapas, a good rum selection, and creative cocktails, along with live DJs and evenings featuring salsa and samba classes. 5-minute walk (0.2 mile).
- Les Fleurs du Malt – Vaulted beer cellar bar by the River Saône. The beer selection comes from around the world and the atmosphere is lively, with rock music playing in the back room. 7-minute walk (0.3 mile).
- Soda Bar – Just across the Saône is this permanently cool and popular spot, with a serious cocktail list. You can sip an original Soda creation while being watched over by photos of Sinatra and other music legends. 9-minute walk (0.5 mile).
- L’Antiquaire – This bar features delicious original cocktails, an Art Deco style, and plenty of buzz. 9-minute walk (0.5 mile).
- Café 203 – Trendy bar/restaurant that is always popular. There’s a pretty terrace, while the interior is all dramatic exposed stone and wooden beams. 10-minute walk (0.4 mile) to the Vieux Lyon branch.
- La Crafterie – Craft beer shop/bar, which is the ideal place to head to if you want a change from the abundant wine Lyon is rightly known for. Check out the selection of over 500 bottled beers from around the world, and the craft beers they currently have on tap, available for you to take away in a 1L or 2L growler. 10-minute walk (0.5 mile).
- Brooklyn Bar – Come for a warm welcome, laid back atmosphere, and tasty cocktails – if you can’t decide, get the bartender to create something for you. Happy hour is until 9:30pm, with all cocktails at €7.50. 11-minute walk (0.4 mile).
- Le Vin des Vivants – ‘Wine of the Living’ specializes in organic wines and offers a cute bar for customers to enjoy them. 11-minute walk (0.5 mile).
- Johnny’s Kitchen – You may be surprised to find an Irish pub in Vieux Lyon, but it works. There are Irish beers and ciders on offer, tasty pub food, and live music every weekend. 12-minute walk (0.5 mile).
- La Cave d’à Côté – Intimate bar/wine shop in an 18th-century wine cellar, hidden down a tiny alleyway in the Presqu’île. The wine list is big on regional varieties – Côtes-du-Rhônes and Beaujolais – and even a Beaujolais Blanc from the owner’s own vineyard. 13-minute walk (0.6 mile).
- L’Harmonie des Vins – Charming bar in 17th-century stone where you can taste over 300 wines, accompanied by cheeses or a charcuterie platter. 14-minute walk (0.7 mile).
Best Nearby Cafes
- Boulangerie Saint Vincent – There are plenty of artisan bakeries (and chocolatiers and cheese shops) in Lyon, but this tiny organic place on the river still stands out. The cakes are delightful, the bread divine, and there’s a good range of gluten-free items. There’s also usually a line out the door. 8-minute walk (0.4 mile).
- Slake Coffee House – Specialty coffee, nourishing food, and home-baked pastries. The watchword is freshness, from the local ingredients to the locally roasted beans. There’s also a brunch on Sundays. 11-minute walk (0.5 mile).
- Puzzle Café – Friendly, chic, and modern place in the Presqu’île, serving carefully crafted coffees from beans sourced from the best roasters in Europe. You can even take your coffee knowledge to new heights by signing up for a workshop here. 13-minute walk (0.6 mile).
Nearby Shopping & Cool Shops
- Vieux Lyon Shopping – The old town is full of souvenir shops, workshops, and galleries, where you can find artisans working on silk, jewelry, clay, and glass. Rue du Boeuf is a great place to start. 4-minute walk (0.1 mile).
- Glacier Terre Adélice – Ice cream parlor on a pretty square which is permanently packed, selling over 150 handcrafted flavors. These range from classic to original and bold, from vanilla to sweet almond and beetroot. 5-minute walk (0.2 mile).
- Brochier Soieries – Lyon’s history as a center of the silk trade is still alive here. The Brochier family has been in the trade since 1890, and still proudly weaves and prints arty scarves and ties in France, mainly in Lyon. 5-minute walk (0.2 mile).
- René Nardone – A Lyon institution with over 100 years of history. Delightful ice cream and a lovely riverside terrace. 6-minute walk (0.3 mile).
- High Street and Designer shopping – Head to the Presqu’île, on the other side of the Saône, for easy access to some great shopping stretching south toward Place Bellecour. Find designers on Rue de Brest and the parallel Rue du Président Édouard Herriot, and more accessible fashion along Rue de la République, including the grand department store, Printemps. Start at Rue de Brest, 12 minutes (0.6 mile) away.
- Chocolaterie Bel – Philippe Bel is a star of the chocolate world and a winner of the prestigious Meilleur Ouvrier de France (Best Master Chocolatier) in 2004. Here you can buy his amazing creations, which the chocolatiers make themselves from raw cacao of different origins. Great for gifts. 14-minute walk (0.6 mile).
- Le Village des Créateurs – Bohemian Croix Rousse is a mecca for artisans and designers, and this arcade of workshops showcases that fact beautifully. The neighboring concept boutique VDC/B sells a selection from the designers, mainly clothing and accessories. VDC supports a young community of 80 designers in the region, so you can add your support by shopping here. 15-minute walk (0.7 mile).
- Musées Gadagne – Two museums in one 16th-century mansion. Discover the history of the city, including its silk-weaving, printing, and cinematic past. The adjoining collection is of the global art of puppetry, including Lyon’s famous Guignol. 4-minute walk (0.1 mile).
- Musée Cinéma et Miniature – A unique, quirky space dedicated to 2 kinds of art – painstaking, lifelike miniatures and the artists of cinema before the digital age. The collection of sets, costumes, and props is unique in Europe, and includes highlights like the Alien and Gizmo himself from Gremlins. It’s all housed in the gorgeous Maison des Avocats. 5-minute walk (0.2 mile).
- Le Petit Musée de Guignol – A small museum dedicated to the Lyonnais puppet and hero, Guignol. Learn about his history (ask for the English audio guide), and try your hand at working him yourself. 5-minute walk (0.2 mile).
- Vieux Lyon – Exploring the UNESCO-protected medieval and Renaissance old town is a must, whether you book a tour or go by yourself. It’s crowded, but a feast of Italian colors, where you can have fun finding traboules, secret passages mainly constructed by silk weavers to transport their goods. Highlights include the Maison des Avocats (House of Lawyers) on rue de la Bombarde, the Maison Thomassin on Place du Change, and the Tour Rose (pink tower) with its traboule at 16 rue du Bœuf. 6-minute walk (0.2 mile).
- Cathédrale Saint-Jean-Baptiste – At the center of Vieux Lyon stands its medieval cathedral, which evolved from 1180 to 1480. Inside the main attraction is a rare 16th-century astronomical clock. Guided tours are on offer every Saturday and Sunday at 2:30pm. Be aware that parts of the interior are under restoration (planned to finish in 2022). Across the Place Saint-Jean is the cathedral’s treasury museum. 6-minute walk (0.2 mile).
- Street art – You can find more than 100 elaborate and charming ‘murs peints’ or frescos around the city, mainly designed by the company CitéCréation. There is a cluster around the banks of the Saône which is easy to get to from the old town, including: the ‘Fresque des Lyonnais’ (0.4 mile, 8-minute walk), featuring famous sons from the Roman Emperor Claudius to the Lumière brothers; ‘La bibliothèque de la cité’ (the city library) which turns a townhouse into a giant library with books by Lyonnais writers (0.5 mile, 9-minute walk); and the ‘Fresque de la Cour des Loges’, which depicts the glorious courtyard of the nearby hotel as a stage set (0.3 mile, 6-minute walk).
- Lugdunum Musée et Théâtres Romains – Before there was Lyon, there was Roman Lugdunum, founded in 43 BC. Travel back in time at this exceptional museum, built gracefully into the hillside, and discover life in the ancient Roman city. There’s also a kids’ area. Just outside the window are the restored Roman theaters, the oldest in France, and the smaller Odeon. The theater is back in use, hosting the Nuits de Fourvière festival in summer. 11-minute walk (0.4 mile) uphill (you can also descend to Vieux Lyon and take funicular F2 up).
- Musée des Beaux-Arts – Aptly named the ‘little Louvre’, this museum holds the best French collection of art and sculpture outside Paris, spanning from the ancient world to today. Opt for a free audio guide to really enjoy your visit. The building itself is a gorgeous 17th-century abbey. 11-minute walk (0.6 mile).
- Théâtres des Célestins – Spectacular 19th-century theater in a picture-perfect square. The dramatic red and gold auditorium attracts international companies and global stars such as Isabelle Huppert. You can also tour the historic building outside show times. 12-minute walk (0.5 mile).
- Basilique Notre Dame de Fourvière – Lyon’s most iconic landmark, shining white on the hill since the 19th century, is equally beautiful inside, with its mosaics in blue and gold. The panoramic view of the city from the terrace is another big draw. There’s even a tour of the rooftops of Fourvière (free with the Lyon City Card) from the basilica’s own roof. 13-minute walk (0.5 mile) uphill (you can also descend to Vieux Lyon and take funicular F2 up).
Nearby Markets or Grocery Stores
- Weekend Markets on the Saône – These include Marché aux Bouquinistes (books market) on Saturdays and Marché de l’Artisanat et des Métiers d’Art (arts and crafts market) on Sundays. From comic books to artwork and clothes, they are a pleasure to browse. 6-minute walk (0.3 mile).
- Casino – Small branch of popular supermarket. Decent selection of groceries and essentials. 8-minute walk (0.3 mile).
- Les Halles de la Martinière – Lyon’s first indoor market was recently refurbished, and now houses an organic grocery store as well as a buzzing food court which is open till midnight. 10-minute walk (0.5 mile).
- Marché alimentaire et fleurs Saint Antoine Célestins – Lyon’s biggest food (and flower) market and a favorite of both locals and chefs, runs by the Saône and invites you to stroll and explore. Do ask the friendly stallholders for advice. Open 6am-1pm daily, apart from Mondays. 11-minute walk (0.5 mile).
- Fromagerie B.O.F de la Martinière – Cheese, glorious cheese, and great service. B.O.F stands for beurres, oeufs, fromages (butter, eggs, and cheese), all of superb quality. There’s also wine to accompany the cheese, and a nice terrace to enjoy everything on in the summer. 11-minute walk (0.5 mile).