Out and about My week-end à la lyonnaise

Spring in Montchat

Les Glycines de Montrchat, lors du festival des Glycines © Assiciation Les Jardins de Montchat
Camille Lenoble
By Camille
Published on 20/02/2024

On the east side of Lyon’s 3rd district, the leafy residential neighbourhood of Montchat shares a border with Grange-Blanche, Bron and Villeurbanne. Like a (big) village in bloom tucked away in the city, it is nicknamed the ‘quartier aux mille jardins’ (district with a thousand gardens). It is home to two lovely parks and lots of shops, making it the perfect place for a stroll with lots of green spaces and great food.

8 am: Characterful townhouses

La villa Berliet à montchat, Lyon © BM de Lyon

Setting off from Laennec metro station, your exploration of Montchat begins in “Chaussagne”, on the district’s eastern edge. On Avenue Esquirol and the surrounding streets you will find some of Lyon’s most beautiful townhouses, including the eye-catching Villa Berliet. This Art Nouveau house was built in 1911 for the famous automobile industrialist Marius Berliet. Designed by landscape architect Joseph Linossier, its grounds are dotted with hundred-year-old trees. It is listed as a historical monument and opens to visitors on European Heritage Days.

Villa Berliet
39 avenue Esquirol

10 am: Rise above it

Le parc Chambovet © Eric Bascol

Next, make your way up the peaceful Rue Pascal or Rue Montaigne until you reach Chambovet Park, the highest point in the district. Covering five hectares, it looks out over the east of Lyon and offers a unique view of the city. It is interesting to note that, until 1968, the park was part of the garden of the home of René Tavernier, father of film-maker Bertrand Tavernier. Louis Aragon and Elsa Triolet stayed there during the Second World War. Today, this park is frequented by joggers, children, squirrels and lovers of nature in the city. Enjoy its tranquillity before heading back down towards Montchat, via the pretty staircase at the top of Rue Camille.

Parc Chambovet 
2 rue Chambovet 
From 8 am to 7 pm (10 pm from May to September)

Noon:  Time to refuel

Devanture su restaurant La Gamelle, à Montchat, Lyon

After all those steps, you deserve a break. Near the well-named square of Place Ronde, you will find Jacquier, the neighbourhood’s iconic bakery-patisserie, where you can buy bread, tarts and cakes to take away (on weekdays). Alternatively, you can try La Gamelle de Montchat, on Place Antoinette, run by the congenial Julien. He sums up the spirit of the place well: “We like to keep things simple here; life is complicated enough.” The atmosphere is warm and lively, and the servings are generous.

Boulanger-Pâtissier Jacquier
52 cours Richard-Vitton
La Gamelle de Montchat
29 cours Richard-Vitton
Closed on Saturday and Sunday

2 pm: Follow the scent of flowers

Festival des Glycines à montchat © Association Les Jardins de Montchat

If you’re lucky, you’ll explore the district when the wisteria are in bloom. You can find more than 350 of these flowering plants that add splashes of colour to the streets. They come in all shapes, sizes and ages, with some even a century old. Follow your nose or the web map created by the Festival des Glycines, which identifies the various flowering stages and lists all the wisteria in Montchat. They are charmingly mysterious though, as the exact moment when they bloom each year shifts according to changes in the weather.
In 2023 for example, the peak blooming period came in May instead of April. When will it be in 2024? We will have to wait and see... 


4 pm: Teatime snack

Concert en terrasse à L'Equilibriste, café bar restaurant à Montchat © L'Equilibriste

When it’s time for tea, make your way to Cours du Docteur Long, which runs across the district and is filled with shops. To enjoy the village atmosphere to the full, take a seat on Place du Château, where the Château de Montchat stands, renovated by Viollet-le-Duc and now an event venue.
You can then head to L’Équilibriste, an excellent café-bar-restaurant. It also hosts yoga and tango classes, and even writing workshops, but you can of course simply stop for a drink and snack. This socially engaged “third place” has a 100%-vegetarian menu.
Drinks include latte, bissap tea and organic fruit juices. Weather permitting, you can take a seat on the patio out back.

Le Château de Montchat
51 rue Charles-Richard, Place du Château 
125 avenue Lacassagne
Closed on Monday and Tuesday

8 pm: Music, food and wine 

Several options are open to you for a pleasant end to your day. On the 15th of March, you can celebrate the twentieth anniversary of the best-selling album ‘À la faveur de l'automne’ by Senegalese-born French musician Tété, who has been invited to perform at Salle Barbara on Place du Château, as part of the festival Les Chants de Mars. Or perhaps you fancy some Italian flavours? You’re spoilt for choice with the famous Toto Li Vigni and his delicious pasta (we love the rigatoni alla romanoff), and the take-away pizzeria run by the multi-award-winning pizzaiolo Jordan Tomas. Les Glougloutons is the perfect place to end the evening with a glass of quality local wine. 

Les Glougloutons
9 cours Docteur-Long
Toto Li Vigni 
50 Cours Docteur-Long
Jordan Tomas
55 Cours Docteur-Long