Discover Ile Barbe because it is really worth it !
Discover more of Lyon…discover the hidden beauty of Lyon…discover L’Ile Barbe and all what it offers. Firstly, I love this area so much that I actually moved here and still enjoying. Secondly, it’s great place to spend a day, half a day away from crowds yet being surrendered by Lyons beauty. But what’s actually is the Ile Barbe and how you can spend time there?
Well, let me tell you…
ILE BARBE is an island located in the middle of the Saone, in the 9th district of Lyon, in the district of Saint-Rambert-l’Ile-Barbe. It is an enchanted and magic site, listed as a French historical monument. Its name comes from the Latin insula barbara, “the wild island” . But these were the Romans who firstly called it “Hoya” as a reference to the animal which symbolises the messenger from the after-life. It is during the 3rd century that two hermits trying to escape religious persecution chose the island as their residence. Nice little story, one of many that the Ile Barbe has…Anyways, not only the stories but monuments, beautiful places the island have for us. It is today inhabited by a few, privileged, people and therefore it is divided into the public and private part. And we can have a full access to the public part!
So let’s start with the island’s small church which became quickly one of Lyon’s most powerful Abbeys. It was was founded in the fifth century. And it is the first monastic establishment in the Lyon region and one of the oldest in Gaul. It also remains the only Roman church Notre-Dame.
Secondly, you will find at the Ile Barbe the very famous Inn where you can spend a night or two and the restaurant (l’Auberge de l’ile) which is one of the most elegant lyonnais restaurants. Established in 1967, it was just a riverside cafe, and than it was transformed into the luxury restaurant and a luxury house of Lyonnais top class cuisine. It’s owned by Ansanay’s family and you might have heard of the top chef who runs it – Jean-Christophe Ansanay-Alex. Auberge de l’Ile is still located in the old house from 1606! And is seems like a one the gastronomic must seen venue in Lyon. I will go one day…I really want…not only because of the location but because of the food it offers. Have a quick luck at the menu and be blowed away!
And i need to mention it! The restaurant got its first Michelin star in 1993. And each year it gets its stars again and again and on top of this it has been honored by Gault et Millau.
What else? The magnifique bridge of Barbe Island which was built in 1827 and nicely preserved. Once you cross it, you will get to he other bank of the Saône Quai – the Clemenceau side. On the left bank of the Saône, the site of the old lock of Caluire and Cook, you can have a nice one kilometer walk. You will be rewarded while walking as you will see the famous belvedere.
Another Ile Barbe monument which is unmissable! Take your time on this small special walkway spot overlooking the Saône and Ile Barbe because it’s worth it. Inspired by the mysterious history of Ile Barbe (a colorful fragile and wonderful fairytale) the artist Jean-Michel Othoniel created the belvedere of giant pearls in colored glass and the lanterns of Ile Barbe.
Lastly, I didn’t forget but I wanted to leave the best for the end. There is a newly created Museum Jean Couty which I visited and I can highly recommend. It’s a little, charming, beautiful really museum which display the artwork of a real lyonnais. He used to live in the Ile Barbe and many his paintings are inspired by this place. But it’s not all, thanks to his mostly oil paintings, you can feel like you are travelling. There are many artworks from different countries which I liked. You won’t spend there a long time, just enough to go out and get yourself a coffee or a lunch in the best lyonnais bakery. Really, there is the best french bakery in the Ile Barbe and it’s called Jocteur. Make yourself a reason to visit! It’s ideal to sit down to have your treat, it’s ideal to order amazing cakes and it’s ideal for it’s bannets & baguettes. I also love it for a old style French atmosphere and the owner who is usually around and happily chatting to you as well as washing the dishes! What a wonderful character and truly good French person! J’adore!
So are you now convinced to visit Ile Barbe? I need to say, that the place is ideal for a nice relax, picnic, bike ride, walk, time with your girlfriend, kids. The views are calming and the green surrounding, lack of traffic creates great atmosphere. And it’s ideal for food, thanks to the posh restaurant and my amazing bakery Jocteur. Try it out! The island, the museum and the food and please let me know what you think!
Bonus note: I found out that in the 1870s and 1880s, three famous rowing clubs settled here: L’Aviron Club de Lyon-Caluire, the Rowing Union Nautique de Lyon (6th French club) and the Rowing Club of Lyon ( 5th French club). I have seen them on the river as they practice a lot but I didn’t realize they have such a long established history! A proper & successful clubs which we are proud of! And I am sure you will have a chance to spot them there as well.