HO 36, chic second-hand
Youngest in the family of Lyon hostels, Ho36 is peppered with antique furniture to house several guests. There are board games aplenty, a substantial bar counter to while away the hours, and there’s a smack of Berlin about the Common Room. As soon as it opened, Ho36 was adopted by the inhabitants of the Guillotière, a teeming arty-foody district, where both locals and travellers pop inside.
For a coffee, for lunch (mimosa eggs, hot-dog, revamped Lyonnais food), mint tea (free every day at 5pm) or even for an aperitif. Upstairs, unique and stylish rooms are to be discovered (carbon walls, bathrooms with glass sides, all immaculately designed), as well as cosy dormitories (sleep 4 to 8) located on either side of the staircase – a veritable piece of art in its own right, where you can observe the trace of time in the stone shells preserved during renovation work. Designed as an evolving space, Ho36 is also home to regular exhibitions, wine-tasting events and shows, inviting artists to turn up on a regular basis. Lazy all-you-can-eat brunches (18€) at weekends.
Ho36: 36, rue Montesquieu, Lyon 7. From 23€ for a bed, to 69€ for a room.
Away Hostel & Coffee Shop, smooth around the edges
Having set up shop this summer in a former business school, right opposite the Croix-Paquet metro stop and its pocket-size park, the Away Hostel has been dreamed up by the same team behind the Slo Living Hostel. Step into a room which gives reign to everything lazy – benches, a tribe of beanbags, reading area – then into a coffee shop with its cabin-like counter. Order cappuccinos on tap, vitamin-fuelled lunch specials, and homemade pâtisseries.
Light wood, stylish and made-to-measure furniture, wifi, an intricate Scandinavian kind of chic decor, house plants, an international team and past-your-bedtime hours, have made this place the headquarters for foreign visitors, the hipster brigade of the Croix Rousse slopes, and freelancers in search of a night-time bite. Upstairs, cosy double rooms and dormitories, which sleep 4 to 10 people, have been cleverly designed to preserve individual box-like spaces. And check out the magnificent table football in the open kitchen where Lyon take on Saint-Etienne. Not to mention the yoga brunch on Sundays. Ooh là là.
Away Hostel & Coffee Shop: 23, rue Alsace-Lorraine, Lyon 1. 23€ per bed, 75€ per room.
Slo Living Hostel, a pioneer in the city
The very first new generation youth hostel in Lyon. Open in 2014 by a triplet of entrepreneur-vagabonds, the Slo Living Hostel sleeps forty, dotted about the three rooms and four minimalist dormitories, which sleep 4, 6, or 8, girl/boy or 100% girl.
A veritable meeting place for Lyonnais and globetrotters, the lobby tells tales of travel, a map of the world features upon the bar, along with a multitude of other documents, there’s a large communal table, yellow fitted armchairs, small designer lights, and the icing on the backpack, a little urban terrace where you can sit and sip local wine and munch aperitif planchas. Ambassador of a Lyon turned cosmopolitan and connected, the staff puts up its recommended eateries on the hostel’s blog. Let us also bow in homage to the breakfast buffet at 5€.
Slo Living Hostel: 5, rue Bonnefoi, Lyon 3. From 25€ per bed, 65€ per room. www.slo-hostel.com
Le Flâneur (the Wanderer), the travelling spirit
Guesthouse in the 7th district, the place has been run as a cooperative since its creation in 2015, counting among its ranks hosts from France, the UK, Poland, Spain and Portugal. Kitchen, bar, dining room, bookshelves, computer, video games, inside courtyard decorated with graffiti and dormitories (mixed or female-only) from 4 to 16 people… There’s a Womble mentality here. Stripped bare and ever-so-friendly. Breakfast at 3€.
Le Flâneur: 56, rue Sébastien-Gryphe, Lyon 7. From 19€ per bed, 45€ per person per room.
Cool&Bed, a mattress on the Saône side
“Low-cost accommodation and quality service” for this “backpacker hotel” created in 2012. The dormitories, with 6 to 16 beds, have individual storage space and graphic deco. Inspired by travel and the five continents, this deco is by graffiti artists LyonBombing and guides visitors into the communal spaces, hidden behind a loft-style glass wall. Included in the price are breakfast, computer-access, wifi, kitchen. Washing facilities, luggage storage and snacks come on top.
Cool&Bed: 32 quai Arloing, Lyon 9. From 20€ per bed in a 16-person dormitory.
Auberge de jeunesse HI, historic headquarters
Historic location of the united federation of youth hostels. Perched on the “hill that prays” (Fourvière), this is the thriftiest bet around. Its furnishings are in harmony with its shared rooms, both basic and bare. Strengths? Free wifi, breakfast included and breathtaking view of Lyon from the terrace. If you want to avoid trekking up the hill on foot, hop onto the funicular railway and get off a Minimes.
HI: 41-45, montée du Chemin-Neuf, Lyon 5. From 19.50€ per night, breakfast included.
By Audrey Grosclaude (translated by Katie Lodge)