Laurent Vella/Courtesy Relais & Chateaux
Top 10 European Cities for Smart Splurges
THE DRAW The 2,000-year-old, food-obsessed city of Lyon can serve as a base to explore the best of French cuisine and the vineyards of nearby Burgundy and Beaujolais. One can dine just as well as in Paris or other European cities but at a fraction of the cost.
DON’T MISS Eating the meal of a lifetime at the three-Michelin-starred Auberge du Pont de Collonges (www.bocuse.fr), the signature restaurant of one of the world’s most famous chefs, Paul Bocuse. If $287 a person is too much to pay for a classic seven-course meal, head to one of his four brasseries or to his fast food joint, Ouest Express (www.ouestexpress.com), where the menu of the day costs at most $17.
WHEN TO GO Late summer and early fall offer the finest in the region’s seasonal fare.
WHERE TO STAY Splurge on a hotel in the city’s historic center, a warren of streets lined with Renaissance architecture. At the stylish Cour des Loges (www.courdesloges.com), the design is a mix of honey-colored wood, contemporary furniture, and whimsical murals. A more affordable option is the Villa Florentine (www.villaflorentine.com), a converted convent with 28 rooms and a Michelin-starred restaurant.
COMBINE WITH A one-day wine class at the University of Wine (www.universite-du-vin.com) in the town of Suze-la-Rousse.