In general, I find shopping to be about as fun as going to the dentist. It’s boring, tedious, uncomfortable, and expensive. That’s why it took me a while to discover that I actually liked shopping in Lyon, that the city is full of lovely little shops run by talented designers and artists hoping to sell their unique wares at a fair price.
Most of my favorite spots are nestled in the maze-like Pentes de la Croix Rousse neighborhood, where each window is a picturesque surprise: this one a violin maker, unvarnished instruments surrounded by wood shavings, that one a bicycle repair shop, road bike triage and handlebar bells for sale. Prints, vintage clothing, hand-made jewelry, second-hand refinished furniture: find it all here. It evokes an artisan environment like that of hipster Brooklyn but without the pretension.
Here are a few of my picks, just in time for last-minute holiday shopping (or if you’re looking for a pleasant way to pass an afternoon):
Laspid: creative and Lyon-inspired prints and graphic t-shirts made from fair trade and organic cotton (rue du Griffon)
Patincoofin: accessories, lamps, and furniture made from bits of this and that, so that a visit here is like rifling through some crazy person’s garage (rue du Griffon)
Market Place: vintage fun of all kinds to dig through (rue des Capucins)
Poil de Chameau & Mademoiselle Grain de Sel: decidedly odd and surprising hand-made textile and jewelry creations arranged like natural discoveries in a shop reminiscent of a warm cabin, with wood smell to match (Place des Capucins)
Also worth a look: Lilikaiali Creations (Montée de la Grande Côté) and LaFabriq (Montée de la Grande Côté) hand-made jewelry stores, Diable for beautiful, clean printing-press illustrations by Mariette Guigal (Rue Saint-Polycarpe), and Mathûvû, one of several similar “concept” shops, for novelty toys, pretty stationary, bags, jewelry, some clothing, and dishware (Rue de la Charité).
In general, walking up the Montée de la Grande Côté is a good bet for discovering all manner of lovelies, because several stores along it offer a rotating roster of products by artisan jewelry, bag, and clothing-makers.
I think I can bear – and even enjoy – shopping in Lyon because stores like this make it more like treasure-hunting.
(All photos from store websites or pages, with the exception of the last one.)