It was the latest addition to Lyon’s major tourist attractions: a city entirely devoted to gastronomy, the historical speciality of Lyon which has made its reputation throughout the world.
The Cité Internationale de la Gastronomie was a vast living museum, provided an immersive cultural experience through cooking classes, touch screens, chef demonstrations, tastings, and children’s games in the emblematic building of the Grand Hotel Dieu.
Their primary mission was to provide people with information on how to eat well, with an emphasis on prevention of health problems through proper nutrition.
Launched in October 2019, it will not survive the COVID-19 pandemic. The operators of the Cité de la Gastronomie announced on Monday, July 6 that it would not reopen and would remain permanently closed.
Uncertainty of the economic and tourist development
“The Cité Internationale de la Gastronomie de Lyon, like too many other cultural players in France and Europe, has suffered the heavy impacts of the coronavirus health crisis that the country has been going through since March 2020”, says the company, MagmaCultura, in a press release.
“Faced with these difficulties, in the face of the uncertainty of economic and tourist developments, and despite all our efforts to safeguard it, we have taken the decision not to reopen the Cité and to definitively stop its operation.”
An attraction sometimes considered too expensive
Created by the Metropolis of Lyon to liven up the new Grand Hotel Dieu, the Cité Internationale de la Gastronomie was aimed above all at French and international tourists.
However, the attraction never really took off during the winter and its closure in March due to COVID-19 was fatal to it. The first visitors regretted a high entrance fee (12 euros, to which 12 euros had to be added for a tasting experience), and a rather fast visiting time.
The Metropolis of Lyon will now have to find a new occupant for this part of the old hospital of Lyon dating back to the 17th century.