In a building full of century-old history and Italian Renaissance style, Villa Florentine is a five star property that exemplifies luxury in the culinary capital of Lyon
After traveling for several weeks through the South of France, we were ready to stay still for a bit. We ventured all along the coast of the French Riviera, stopping in places like Cap-du-Ferrat, Nice and Monaco. We then boarded a river cruise through Provence (stopping at every little town in between) and ended in Lyon, a French city with an off-the-beaten-track feel.
We decided to spend some extra time in Lyon, and it was so worth it! Being the gastronomic capital of France, Lyon has an incredible 22 Michelin stars within its city limits and centuries of history to woo you. For the duration of our stay, we stayed at Villa Florentine, a beautiful five-star Relais & Châteaux situated on a hillside overlooking Lyon’s Old Town.
A Hotel with History
Everything about Villa Florentine feels grand, from the remarkable views to the elegant design, it’s a place that will take you back in time. The history of Villa Florentine is particularly noteworthy, as it is indicative of the overall culture in the area. Villa Florentine was built at the peak of the Renaissance, a time where artists from Florence united with the peoples of Lyon. During this cultural infusion, in 1707, the building was used for educating young girls to be self-sufficient by the time they hit their twenties. In 1804, the building became a convent, following the construction of an additional chapel and intricate frescoes. The Villa Florentine assumed its most recent name in 1984 when it was taken over by the Giorgi family.
Now, watching peacefully over the Fourvière hills, Villa Florentine provides a quaint and elegant getaway in one of the most scenic regions of Southern France. We enjoyed every moment of our stay in Lyon, where every glance encompassed a breathtaking view and every meal was absolutely delectable!
A Luxurious Experience, Inside and Outside
It’s probably appropriate to warn you that Villa Florentine is perched on a hill—you will certainly work out a bit while staying here. But the small climb is absolutely worth the views that unfold before the hotel. Within eyeshot you can see the gorgeous Lyon Cathedral, pastel painted buildings, and weathered porcelain roofs. The scenery surrounding Villa Florentine has the kind of beauty that never exhausts! Plus, all of the views are available from the pool area, which is lovely in itself. Poolside sightseeing is a thing and definitely worthwhile at Villa Florentine.
The style of the hotel’s interior felt calming and sophisticated. It was fun walking through the space and admiring the frescoes, which seemed to emanate a sense of history and Renaissance style. Staying at the Villa Florentine felt like receiving the gift of time travel, as we absorbed the details of Italian design in a French setting. The colors throughout the hotel were earthy, complemented by the comforting presence of large leather chairs and couches. Of course, the style wouldn’t have felt complete without various radiant chandeliers.
Breakfast at Villa Florentine was served in the restaurant. We started our days with a variety of fresh bread and French pastries, a fruit medley, and charcuterie—it was perfectly simple. Other offered amenities at Villa Florentine include a beauty and health spa as well as a fitness room. I have to mention the pool and Jacuzzi area again, because it was such an incredible part of our stay!
A Roomy Suite with Garden Views
The suite that we stayed in at Villa Florentine was undeniably comforting. In Italian Renaissance style, the room had a lodge sort of feel to it with exposed beams, warm tones, tiled floors, and dark wood furniture. We had tons of space to make our own, including a sitting area and walk-in closet. It took us no time at all to feel cozy and relaxed. The bathroom was also massive, decorated cleanly with different shades of marble. Best of all, our suite had a private balcony that was perfect for sipping coffee in the morning and marveling at the gardens.
Dining at Villa Florentine
The restaurant at the hotel, Les Terrasses de Lyon, was the most memorable restaurant we visited in Lyon. You can order off the a la carte menu or choose the tasting menu, but either way you are guaranteed to have outstanding and aesthetically beautiful meal.
We were captivated by the novelty of the flavors, which oriented around seasonal produce and Provencal style. The menu is constantly changing based on the time of year, and we enjoyed knowing that every dish was local. Dish after dish we were constantly impressed with the creativity and the fresh tastes...everything was absolutely wonderful and the selection of French wines was impressive. We visited for lunch, but dinner would have been an incredibly romantic experience! The terrace lights up with a delicate glow so you can see the twinkling city views.
Seeing the City
Lyon is such a beautiful alternative to other famous French cities that it’s vital to get out and explore a bit! You can easily walk into Old Town, which is a UNESCO site, in about ten minutes downhill. If you walk fifteen minutes uphill, you’ll find yourself at Basilique Notre Dame de Fourvière, which has even more impressive views. Make sure that you venture to the Saint Antoine open-air food market. Sample the local cheeses, fresh baked bread, fruits, and enjoy!
For more information about Villa Florentine, visit their website: