Above: The bar at Villa Maïa

Lyon’s Elegant New Sanctuary

Lyon is a delightful city. Beautiful and refined like Paris, it is less hurried and less crowded than the French capital. And besides fine museums and excellent shopping, it enjoys a deserved reputation as one of the world’s great wine and food destinations.

During the Middle Ages, it became a trading entrepôt between northern Europe and the Mediterranean. Later, Lyon developed into a major silk-weaving center, a business that still continues, albeit on a smaller scale. Today the city is an important banking center, as well as the base for major pharmaceutical and chemical companies.

Given Lyon’s popularity with foreign travelers, it is surprising that it has few upscale hotels of real character, aside from the 30-room Villa Florentine (which we have long recommended). So when I learned of the new 37-room Villa Maïa hotel, I headed southeast from Paris for a long weekend.

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