Classy and Cozy French Charm at Lyon’s Hotel des Celestins

Opposite Lyon’s beautiful Theatre des Celestins, the Hotel des Celestins is a classy yet charmingly homespun accommodation.

Located in the heart of France’s gastronomic capital, the 3-star hotel is between Place Bellecour and Place des Jacobins. Surrounded by designer boutiques and specialty shops, it’s also within walking distance of Old Lyon, and the Saone and Rhone Rivers that run through the city.

From the street, a narrow entry inside (with colorful murals adorning both walls) leads to a stairway– or for those lugging several suitcases (no names mentioned) a tiny lift/elevator—which takes guests to the reception/check-in desk on the 2nd floor. 

English speaking and friendly staff were warm and friendly—and made check-in easy and fast. Check in time starts at 1:00 P.M. which was also a bonus. Staff was super knowledgeable about the city’s restaurants and happy to make recommendations (and reservations if needed)– thoughtfully asking about specific interests and making us feel welcome and as excited about the city as they seemed to be. I was with three women friends and when we explained we hoped to eat in a traditional “bouchon” one night and also wanted to try one of Paul Bocuse’s (he’s practically considered the city’s founding father) another night, their two suggestions (we ate at both of them–Cafe Comptoir Abel and Le Sud) were exactly what we were hoping to find—plus they were within walking distance.

Our room on the 5th floor (reached by stairs or the tiny lift) was one of several junior suites available (there are also “superior rooms” for two—25 rooms in total, including the suites and all with AC) along with one 2-bedroom, 2-bath flat with complete kitchen.blankEach of the suites is named—ours was “Suite Celestins,” and includes Persian carpets (on beautiful wood floors), a marble fireplace, antique furniture (we especially loved the coat/mirror hanging rack and mosaic coffee table in ours) mixed with paintings, plus cool contemporary framed artwork and posters. There were books on the bookshelves, and a few strategically placed vintage knickknacks and tins. The room was immaculate and bright; it felt like it was decorated by someone who enjoyed making the space feel more personal—but with a subdued style, good eye and good taste.


With the four of us sharing a room, I was impressed not only with the size of the room (there was even a table with bench near the entry) but that the sofa bed was completely made up when we arrived.



blankLooking out the windows, we had a lovely view of the theater down the block, along with the French street scene below. Although we heard the garbage trucks in the early morning, it was quiet at night (with the windows shut). blank


blankWhile the room was spacious and perfect for the four of us, the small stylish and new bathroom with a shower, was not. But then, we expected as much and used other mirrors and outlets (plenty of those) for hairdryers and putting on makeup in the main room. For two nights, it was not a problem. If we had been staying a week, we might have rented the flat.blankFree wi-fi was provided and worked great. There was an electric kettle for tea, along with another favorite detail of mine: no plastic, but real cups and real glasses. A safe, a refrigerator, and a flat screen t.v. were also in the room.

Breakfast is not included in the rate, but a sweet little eating area in the reception room serves a morning buffet until noon (nice) which includes eggs, yogurt, toast and jam, juice and coffee. blank

Still, guests should realize that there are plenty of nearby patisseries and eateries (remember this is the gastronomic capital of the country, after all) that are fun to try, delicious and affordable.

Room rates start at approximately $122. Because there is not 24- hour reception, arrival after 10 p.m. must be arranged. For more information or to make reservations, check the website. You can also compare rates and book through Priceline or

Photos and review by Donna Tabbert Long

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