There was little doubt in my mind on which of Lyon’s hotels to choose for this week’s interview with a concierge; Le Royal Hotel Lyon – the 4 star institution of Lyonnaise culture and character – would certainly be the best place to go for concierge ‘cream of the crop’ advice on nightlife options in the City of Lights. But would the concierge of ‘La Maison Lyonnaise par Excellence’ agree to an interview? Thankfully he did. Like all good things Lyonnaise, excellence wears a friendly smile that is approachable and accessible; as was the case with Monsieur Habib Lazreug, concierge at Le Royal Hotel in Lyon’s central Place Bellecour.
Greeted by Monsieur Lazreug in Le Royal’s elegant reception area, I am guided to the Salon Bleu, which Monsieur Lazreug – employee of Le Royal for 17 years – advises will be more comfortable for the interview. On route, I notice selected collectors pieces that exude the character of Lyon, in particular, the symbol of Lyon’s humour; a beautifully crafted Guignol puppet, made by the Cardelli workshop.
We arrive at the Salon Bleu; a room tastefully furnished in tones of blue, which features a portrait of the lady of the house and an extensive display of fine china – the collection of a former master of the house. Comfortable in the convivial surrounding, I put the ‘nightlife in Lyon’ questions to Monsieur Lazreug:
Where do you send visitors when they want to go for a drink in the neighbourhood of the hotel?
Initially, Monsieur Lazreug suggests the hotel’s Côte Bellecour salon, which is reasonable, given that the lovely salon overlooks the chestnut trees of Europe’s largest public square; the picturesque Place Bellecour. When I ask if he could make a recommendation outside of the hotel, he comes up with many, and very efficiently, produces a map!
“Rue de la Bourse, parallel to the Presqu’Île’s central Rue de la République, is a very nice area to go for an early evening aperitif. Visitors will be happy to choose from any of the bars along this street. Also, the many boat-bars along the River Rhône (5 minutes’ walk from Le Royal) are great for an evening drink”.
Where would you recommend for a visitor to take a date for a romantic drink?
“Again, the area along the River Rhône is perfect for an evening drink and a romantic walk along the river”. Monsieur Lazreug also recommends “Le Baroc, also situated along the River Rhône at Quai General Serrail”. Le Baroc is indeed a perfect location for taking a date in Lyon. Overlooking the river, the unique bar terrace area comes complete with comfy chairs and oversized cushions; a lovely place for a cocktail while watching your date and the rambling River Rhône.
What about a guys’ night out in the city?
After a moments thoughtful consideration, Monsieur Lazreug suggests; “the area of Vieux Lyon (old Lyon). There are lots of lively pubs (many Irish pubs) and bars close to each other that can be visited one after the other”. I tell Monsieur Lazreug that, in England, this is called a ‘pub crawl’, and explain the meaning. He continues with a smile on his face, “yes, and the hotel is close to the area of Vieux Lyon, so not far for the guys to get home!”
And, what can you recommend for a girls’ night out?
In answering this question, Monsieur Lazreug recommends a more refined and chic setting for the ladies, in the sophisticated area of Brotteaux. In particular he suggests “Le Boudoir, at Place Jules Ferry”. Another considered and apt recommendation, Le Boudoir is a seductive night-time venue complete with a swish lounge bar, restaurant and dance club. With the motto: ‘It’s not unusual to start the night and end the night at the Boudoir!’ the cocktails, classy lounging and ‘til the wee hours’ dancing will go down well on any girls night out.
Where can people go for a good local vibe?
On hearing this question Monsieur Lazreug is immediately animated when recommending “The Bouchon”. A ‘Bouchon’ is a type of restaurant, typical of Lyon, that serves Lyonnaise specialities. But the reason for this recommendation is the characteristic atmosphere that can be found in a Bouchon; warm hospitality and a convivial atmosphere make Bouchons the perfect location for getting the real local vibe and some tasty Lyonnaise food. There are hundreds of Bouchons in Lyon, but for the real thing; look out for the ‘Authentique Bouchon Lyonnaise’ sign.
Where do you like to go out in Lyon?
Clearly a man used to dealing with the needs of others, Monsieur Lazreug pauses in quiet reserve before offering his preference, “I like the restaurant Les Loges on Rue du Boeuf in Vieux Lyon, and for music, I like the jazz club ‘Le Hot Club Lyon’ on Rue Lanterne”.
The interview comes to end with Monsieur Lazreug ensuring I leave with a map of Lyon, list of recommendations and the hotel’s guide book for Lyon. I leave with the feeling I have been a special guest at a grand Lyonnaise residence; as is the case at Le Royal Hotel.
My sincere thanks to concierge Monsieur Habib Lazreug of Le Royal Hotel Lyon, for his time and for his sound local recommendations for visitors to Lyon.
For full details on Le Royal Hotel Lyon, visit our NileGuide Hotels in Lyon Guide, or visit Le Royal Hotel’s Official Website. In addition, for further nighlife recommendations; check out our Nightlife in Lyon Guide.
Article and Photos by Emma Muldoon