Living in Lyon & Burgundy

by Iyna Bort Caruso

Burgundy was once a powerful duchy whose territory extended beyond the borders of present-day France. Today, Burgundy is but an area in the newly created region of Bourgogne-Franche-Comté but one whose wine production continues to make it a formidable presence on the global stage.

Burgundy is a land of abbeys, castles, cathedrals and, of course, some of the most famous wines in the world. Life revolves around grapes and gastronomy. The region is made up of four “departments,” the northern reaches of which abut the outer perimeters of Greater Paris. Dijon, its capital, is less than two hours from the capital by high speed rail. Honey-colored stone homes, half-timbered houses and estate vineyards make up the architectural landscape. Burgundy also lays claim to more chateaux than any other region of France.

Between Burgundy and the French Riviera is Lyon, capital of the Rhone-Alpes region and situated at the confluence of the Rhone and Saône rivers. Lyon is the third largest city in France after Paris and Marseille and among the country’s top tourist destinations. 

Lyon is like an open air art museum. Trompe l’oeil murals are found throughout the city. Come early December, art of another kind graces its streets with the Fête des Lumières, or festival of lights.  Lyonnais celebrate the Virgin Mary with light installations that illuminate boulevards, squares, parks and buildings. 

Food, however, is its calling card, and the reputation is global. Lyon has been called the World Capital of Gastronomy. It boasts one of the highest concentrations of restaurants per capita in the country. Whether it’s a Michelin-star restaurant or a bouchon, a traditional eatery serving classic Lyonnaise dishes, eating is a joyous way of life.

In the city, the vast majority of properties are apartments and townhouses. Like Paris, it is divided into arrondissements. Lyon real estate in the sixth arrondissement is one of the most coveted, a neighborhood of shady squares and to the country’s largest urban park, Tête d’Or. Outside the city are exclusive enclaves of stone villages and lovingly restored 19th century homes.