Intercontinental Grand Hôtel-Dieu's Epona Restaurant in Lyon, France: Where History Meets Epicurean Treasures

Nestled against the tranquil banks of the majestic Rhône River, an enchanting culinary expedition awaits at the resplendent Intercontinental Grand Hôtel-Dieu in Lyon, France. This architectural masterpiece not only tantalizes the senses but also serves as a portal to bygone eras, where history and hedonism meld seamlessly within its storied walls. A symphony of opulence unfolds, inviting discerning connoisseurs and history aficionados alike to embark on a journey of indulgence.
The Intercontinental Grand Hôtel-Dieu glows at night
Rooted in the annals of time, the Grand Hôtel-Dieu's lineage traces back to the 12th century. Founded with noble intent by the compassionate heart of Guy de Montpellier, esteemed Archbishop of Lyon, it began its journey as a sanctuary for the ailing and destitute. Over the centuries, its role evolved, weaving itself into the very fabric of the city's narrative until the year 2010.

In 2019, a transformative moment dawned, heralding a new chapter for the Grand Hôtel-Dieu. Once a bastion of solace and care, it emerged from its cocoon, now adorned with modern wonders. A harmonious blend of luxury accommodations, chic boutiques, culinary treasures, and artistic gems converges within this haven of urban renaissance.

Lyon, renowned as the epicenter of French gastronomy, sets the stage for an extraordinary culinary voyage. Epona Restaurant, a radiant jewel nestled within the Grand Hôtel-Dieu, stands as a testament to the city's gastronomic prowess. Under the guidance of Chef Mathieu Charrois, Epona weaves culinary enchantment that mirrors its namesake, the revered Gallo-Roman goddess synonymous with travel and equine grace.
Epona restaurant
Al fresco dining at Epona Restaurant
On a balmy day, I indulged in an al fresco feast in one of the hotel's tranquil courtyard, serenaded by the lilting melodies of songbirds—a harmonious respite from Lyon's fervent summer embrace. A decadent dirty negroni heralded the commencement of the gastronomic voyage, paving the way for Brittany blue lobster tortellini, adorned with the gentle caress of sage-infused brown butter. As the avian chorus wove an enchanting backdrop, each bite unfurled a symphony of delicate flavors.
Delicate lobster tortellini
Innovative artistry graced the plate as the iconic Lyonnaise quenelle underwent a contemporary metamorphosis—transformed into a modern fish stick luxuriating in a velvety sauce and tender spinach. Thick slices of Mediterranean red tuna followed, choreographed with garden-fresh herbs, radish, and mango—while a purple shiso tempura added a melodic medley of texture and taste.
A modern take of the Lyonnaise quenelle
red tuna
Mediterranean red tuna dancing amidst fresh garden herbs, radish and mango
Throughout the meal, the chorus of birdsong remained a subtle companion even as a strawberry cereal dessert took center stage, accompanied by strawberry juice and rose champagne. A harmonious palate cleanse ensued, with the sweetness seamlessly interwoven with candied walnuts and glazed sugar—a sensory yet playful masterpiece in every spoonful.
Cleansing the palette with a strawberry dessert
In the tapestry of Lyon's culinary landscape, the Intercontinental Grand Hôtel-Dieu stands as both a sentinel of heritage and a harbinger of gastronomic innovation. Its transformation from a sanctuary to an orchestra of splendor captures the Lyon's evolution, while the sumptuous offerings it houses within its walls celebrate the artistry of taste and the passage of time.

Disclaimer: I was provide a complimentary experience at Epona Restaurant in exchange for this review.

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