Aux Lyonnais: a Lyonnais “bouchon” in Paris
Created in 1890, the house served first as a coal, then wood and finally wine warehouse. In 1914, the Fouet family, then owners of the premises, decided to open the store on the street to introduce its wines to the public. Daniel Violet took over the address just after the Second World War and made it the most popular “bouchon” (typical Lyonnais bistro) in the capital. The “Père Violet” clearly had an immoderate passion for Lyonnais cuisine which, already at that time, seduced the capital and earned a loyal customers base. It is this fervour for the taste of Lyon that made Alain Ducasse fall in love with this mythical address which he took over in 2002.
The bistro retains its red wooden facade and its “Maison lyonnaise” sign. It continues to cultivate the atmosphere of traditional Lyonnais “bouchons”. On the sideboard, an old piston coffee machine lets out a cloud of steam. Behind the wooden counter covered with zinc and pewter, a few bottles, placed in a wine rack placed under a continuous flow of cold water, wait to be ordered. Woodwork and moldings with floral motifs, Art pompier lights and metro style earthenware tiles adorn the walls and ceilings. The contemporary creations of Jean-Claude Novaro, famous glassmaker from Biot (Alpes Maritime), punctuate the space. On both floors, bevelled mirrors reflect the spectacle of the room where the waiters are bustling about, copper sauté pan or orange cast iron casserole in hand. On the oak tables with steel frames, napkins, white plates, deliberately mismatched silver cutlery, faceted goblets for water, balloon glasses for wine wait for the guests.
Vintage dishes up-to-date
Tradition must inspire, not freeze. Victoria Boller has the freedom of one who is sure of her roots. And having Lyonnaise cuisine in your blood gives you wings. She therefore delivers her own interpretation, lively and biting. If the benchmarks are there (pie crust, pike, blood sausage…), there is nonetheless a lightness and freshness that gives this “bouchon” cuisine a resolutely contemporary tone.
Born in Lyon and raised in the Beaujolais region, chef Victoria Boller has countless memories of Lyonnais cuisine: the bouchons and guinguettes of the Saône and Ain riversides, and the famous “saucisson au gène” her mother made at the end of the grape harvest. Returning to Paris after three years at the Chanteclerc at the Hôtel Negresco in Nice, Alain Ducasse entrusted her with the reins of the restaurant, with a very clear direction: “We have to bring just the right amount of modernity to this restaurant. Lyonnais cuisine is alive and kicking, and while we obviously need to preserve its spirit, we have to deliver a contemporary version of it.”