Insider’s guide to Les Halles Paul Bocuse and Beyond
If the city of Lyon is known as the gastronomic capital of France, then has placed itself Les Halles Paul Bocuse at the epicenter of the food mania. But visiting Les Halles and getting the best experience out your visit can be tricky sometimes so the Foodie Lyon team has come up with this guide to help you discover the best of Lyonnaise Cuisine, inside and out of the legendary Halles Paul Bocuse !
What is Les Halles Paul Bocuse and Who is Paul Bocuse?
Les Halles Paul Bocuse is a covered food market that concentrates some of Lyon’s best known local delicacies and is a must-see on every foodie tourist’s travel list. Over 48 of Lyon’s finest butchers, charcutiers, fromagers, pastry chefs, and wine specialists have set up shop inside this recently renovated building, thus making it a veritable foodie amusement park. Les Halles are named for Paul Bocuse, one of Lyon’s most revered and well-known chefs. Les Halles Paul Bocuse has become a fixture in Lyon and while some people shop there regularly, for most Lyonnais, it is reserved for special occasions and holidays.
Foodie Lyon’s Guide to Visiting Les Halles Paul Bocuse
Les Halles Paul Bocuse is a great place to marvel at a large variety of French and Lyonnaise specialties and take in the artful gastronomy for which city has become so famous. Here are our tips for planning your visit:
Be sure to get there early!
According to their website, Les Halles are open from 7:00 am – 10:30 pm but each stand within the building keeps their own hours, so depending on when you arrive, things could be in full swing or you could arrive after everyone has closed shop for the day! The best time to go: mid to late morning, many stands close for lunch and some do not reopen in the afternoon.
How to get there.
Les Halles Paul Bocuse is located in the Part-Dieu district of the city, not far from the main train station and shopping mall. If you don’t mind walking going on foot, it’s about a 25-30 minute walk from the center of the Presqu’ile (Bellecour, Cordeliers, Hotel de Ville). Taking a bus is the most direct and fastest way to go on public transport. Both the C3 and C13 bus lines have stops just in front of Les Halles and are named accordingly – stop Halles Paul Bocuse.
Once you’ve made it to Lyon’s food Mecca, prepare yourself for a feast for the senses! Wander around and figure out your game plan of what you’d like to sample and where you’d like to eat you can have a sit down meal at many places or choose a sampler plate at certain shops (Fromagerie Mons for cheese, Maison Sibilia for sausages and charcuteries, or AOC for wine).
Beyond Les Halles
While Les Halles Paul Bocuse is an amazing place to visit, we here at Foodie Lyon have a few reservations about the place. Their hours are tricky, the Part-Dieu neighborhood is far from the most charming quarter in Lyon, and the service can be a bit snobby sometimes. To sum it up, we love Les Halles, but it’s not the end-all be-all of Lyonnaise cuisine!
Staying true to our passion for food and the city, we’ve created a list of our favorite food destinations where you can find all of the best that Lyon has to offer, and find it on some of Lyon’s most charming streets between the Vieux Lyon and the Presqu’île. While most of the shops are truly great quality at Les Halles, they are often the biggest names in the business and there are other smaller shops that rival (or beat!) the quality. We think that it’s much more fun to find these little holes-in-the-wall and take in the gorgeous architecture of the city as you walk around. These are the shops where locals really go for their daily shopping.
La Boulangerie du Palais: Bread, brioches, sandwiches, pizzas, and more
Piles of Lyon’s signature brioches aux pralines, stacks of savory sandwiches, and French bread in all shapes and sizes await you at La Boulangerie du Palais, one of our very favorite spots in the Old Town. Locals and tourists alike line up here to get their lunches and sweet treats.
Le Fromager de Saint Georges: Cheese specialists
The team of cheese mongers who run the counter at the Fromager de Saint Georges are passionate cheese experts. They offer a wide variety of cheeses from all over France, made of cow, goat, and sheep’s milk – cheeses ranging from delicate and creamy to pungent and gooey masterpieces. Its the perfect place for cheese lovers and even for the cheese skeptics! They are happy to help you find the perfect French cheese for your palate.
Chocolats Richart: Chocolate, macarons, patisseries, and more
If you love chocolate or you came to France ready to delight in the delicate and colorful flavors of macarons, Chocolats Richart is the place for you. Here, the chocolates, macarons, and other patisseries are raised to the level of contemporary art and you can taste for yourself the experimental quality of their creations.
Maison Giraudet: Quenelles, soup bar, sauces, and more
You’ll see this Lyonnais staple on the menu of almost every good Bouchon in town, but if you love quenelles – light and airy fish dumplings almost like soufflés swimming in gorgeous creamy sauce – you will love Maison Giraudet is the place to go. This downtown soup bar is the perfect place to have a light lunch and experiment with great quality quenelles and other local products. Here, they have quenelles that go beyond the traditional Pike dumpling with crayfish sauce and experiment with new ingredients such as scallops, comté cheese, or porcini mushrooms…
Maison Pignol: Lyon’s most prestigious caterer
Pignol is a serious point of reference for Lyon and their Bellecour location is a great place to admire the French tradition of the “traiteur”. Somewhat like a high-end deli or a caterer that serves à la carte to individuals, traiteurs all over France have long been the go-to for French gourmands who hate to cook for themselves. Go here to see traditional terrines with layers of scallop mousse and gelatin, old-fashioned pork-snout salad, or “Norweigan eggs” (hard-cooked eggs wrapped in smoked salmon) among many other classics from this realm of French cuisine.
Maison Malleval: Wine, spirits, and more
A treasure trove for the wine and spirits lover – Maision Malleval is packed with wines, armagnacs, and all sorts of other aged bottles that will have you strategizing your luggage limits! The back room has teas, mustards, oils, vinegars and more.
Charcuterie Reynon: Butcher, dried, cured meats, and more
Understanding Lyonnaise cuisine starts at the butcher’s counter and specifically, with a butcher like Charcuterie Reynon where one quicking finds out that no part of the pig goes to waste. Come here to marvel at the finest in French charcuterie: sausage laced with black truffles and pistachio, a wide variety of hams and other cured meats just to name a few. Between the red neon sign and the shop’s traditional touches, you’ll feel like you’ve gone back in time.
Maison Bouillet: Chocolate, macarons, patisseries, and more
Never enough chocolate and macarons! Taste and compare at Maison Bouillet, which offers a magnitude of colors and flavors in all categories. Strawberry-Tarragon, Cassis-Violet, or Vanilla-Passionfruit to name a few. A shop brimming with quality ingredients and a creative vision.
Buvette Pont Bonaparte: Oysters with a view
If a platter of oysters and a bottle of white wine was a central part of your French vacation fantasies, this is the place for you. Better than the crowds at Les Halles, order your oysters at the market and take a seat just behind their stand at the Buvette Pont Bonapart – the oyster service is lightning-fast and the waiters at the buvette will bring you a bottle of crisp white wine to go along with your briny feast. Beyond the top-notch oysters, you’ll have an amazing view of the Saône, St. Jean’s catherdral and all the passersby of the market.