Lyon gastronomy complex gulped up by coronavirus crisis

A massive gastronomy complex in France's culinary capital of Lyon has fallen victim to the economic downturn caused by the coronavirus health crisis.

Lyon gastronomy complex gulped up by coronavirus crisis
Lyon has lost a massive culinary centre after the coronavirus hit the French economy hard. Photo: AFP

Before France introduced a strict, nationwide lockdown to contain the coronavirus, the Cite Internationale de Gastronomie de Lyon – inaugurated just nine months ago – offered meals, exhibitions, workshops and tours for foodies.

“Faced with uncertainty for the economy and tourism, and despite our best efforts to save it, we have decided to not reopen the Cite,” the directors of the complex said in a statement.

The 4,000-square-metre facility was located in an 800-year-old building overlooking the Rhone river.

Inside the Cite Internationale de Gastronomie de Lyon. Photo: AFP


Since the beginning of its short existence the complex critics said the centre lacked cultural content and was too. Exhibitions cost €12 and lunch and dinner €29.

“The launch didn't go well, and the design didn't work. (…) There wasn't a clear principle, even if some things were a success, such as the children's area,” said chef Regis Marcon, who was part of the strategic comittee, adding he was “not surprised” by the closure.

Freshly-elected Green Party head of the Lyon area, Bruno Bernard, said the closure was an opportunity for Lyon's dwellers to “reclaim the emblematic site” of the Grand Hotel-Dieu, a grand former hospital converted in 2010.

Member comments

  1. The virus may have pushed this project over the edge, but it probably would have either closed on it’s own or have a major redesign to achieve viability. It’s too bad. Also, why is the article photo a shot taken in Paris from the Gare de Lyon?

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France warns winter gas cuts possible

The French government warned Wednesday that companies might have to reduce energy use this winter even with the country's natural gas reserves at full capacity, as Russia continues to reduce its gas exports to Europe.

France warns winter gas cuts possible

“The main players, government agencies and businesses, must reduce their consumption” of gas as well as electricity, because “the two systems are linked,” Energy Minister Agnes Pannier-Runacher told CNews television.

Moscow has slashed its exports to Europe in response to punishing Western sanctions over the invasion of Ukraine by Russian forces, forcing countries to scramble for alternatives.

Even though France is less reliant on Russian supplies than other EU countries, generating around three-quarters of its electricity from nuclear power plants, its industrial sector still relies on gas and millions of people use it to heat their homes.

Winter shortfalls will be a risk even though France is racing to top up its gas reserves.

“Right now our strategic gas reserves are at 80 percent capacity… which means we will reach our goal of 100 percent before November 1,” Pannier-Runacher said.

But she later insisted on RMC radio that full stocks might not be enough to avoid gas cuts as the government seeks alternative sources.

“It’s not so simple… We might have a particularly cold day and because of the size of the pipelines, we can’t pump all of the gas we have,” she said.

And France is also facing a winter with fewer of its nuclear plants online because of either maintenance or safety concerns, meaning that electricity supplies could be strained.

“We are counting on solidarity, notably with Germany, to import electricity,” she said. “And we need to support Germany with the gas we import via our liquefied natural gas terminals.”