Literature in Lyon: through the eyes of a bibliophile

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It is well-known that Lyon is the French capital of gastronomy, but rather than eating your way through this city what about exploring literature in Lyon?

Let’s discover a different Lyon through the eyes of Francophone bibliophiles – literature in Lyon for lovers of reading, writers and collectors of books, in French!

Literature in Lyon: favourite bookshops

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There can be substantial satisfaction gained in the sense that you’re helping small French bookstores survive and in Lyon, you can do just that, I can vouch for it!

Livres d’occasion, known both as second-hand books and bookshops are Lyon’s unspoken treasures.

A bibliophile’s dream, these bookstores are not given the recognition they deserve on tourist websites.

Not only do they offer gems which are very cheap compared to new books, but you can often find treasures amongst the piles of books inside.

Here are a couple of my favourites: –

  • MyFrenchLife™ - - French Books - Francophile Bibliophile - One of Lyons bookstores - literature in LyonJust down from the Église St. Georges is a brilliant store – traditionally signposted ‘Livres d’occasion’ named Librairie le Père Pénard. It is a ‘Tardis’ of books that seem to get bigger and bigger as you walk inside. Here you will find books from French classics to contemporary novels – at tiny prices.
    Librairie le Père Pénard
    2, quai Fulchiron
    Lyon, 69005
  • In Vieux Lyon, you will find Librairie Diogene which not only sells second-hand books but collectors books where prices start at around 500 euros! The shop is also perfect for anyone conducting literature research, with critiques placed at the rear of the shop.  A good few hours can be easily lost or invested in these beautiful bookstores, and the treasures you will find are worth the rummaging!
    Librairie Diogene
    29 rue Saint Jean
    69005 Lyon

Literature in Lyon: a tribute

The Municipal Library is acknowledged as a tribute to writers from Lyon and the Rhône-Alpes area. It’s adored by book lovers and it is also a site for tourists to visit.

I recommend that you book a tour to see the library’s treasures such as historical manuscripts dating back as far as the 5th and 6th century, photographs, prints and much more!

This is a place to discover literature, and also the history of Lyon.

Favourite places to read & write in Lyon

MyFrenchLife™ - - Literature in Lyon - French Books - Francophile Bibliophile - Fourviere Hill
Bibliophiles often seek inspiration and to find a comfortable place to read.

  • When the weather is clear, the top of Fourvière Hill will provide the perfect view of the city. It makes the perfect spot to read and watch the city go by, as well it could provide an inspiring setting for any novel.
  • Parc de la Tete d’Or is a must-see in Lyon, not only for tourists but for bibliophiles. Relax in the sunshine in the botanical gardens, or near the zoo animals whilst delving into an incredible piece of French literature or creating your own future masterpiece!
  • Vieux Lyon can also be a gold mine for small French cafés, perfect for an iced tea in the sunshine with your books, kick back, relax, and feel motivated to read…

But before you head to Lyon I recommend that you read the top ten reasons to visit Lyon and the quirky lyonnais places off the beaten track.  

Do you feel inspired to visit Lyon’s literary magic? Have you been to any of these literary places in Lyon? 

Further Reading:
Only Lyon provides a great selection for bibliophiles in Lyon
which is constantly updated.
Image credits:
1-3 and 5. courtesy of Jessica Rushton
4. Père Pénard by Michel Filippi via Google maps


About the Contributor

Jessica Rushton

I'm a final year French student at University of Nottingham. I am passionate about French literature, in particular nineteenth-century French novels and love escaping to Paris for chocolat chaud. Follow me: my year abroad bloginstagram & twitter!

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  1. Kirsten (KT) Trengove Jul 29, 2017 at 7:49 PM - Reply

    Yes, I’m inspired! I haven’t visited Lyon (I don’t think hopping off a train and into a rental car and muddling our way out of the city via the one way roads counts!) and have overlooked it as a destination.

    • Jessica Rushton Jul 29, 2017 at 11:08 PM - Reply

      Hi Kirsten, great to see that my article inspired you! Lyon is an incredible destination to have a mini break or even a holiday! I rented an apartment there for a few days and it is a perfect location for its literature, its sights and of course – food! It was also a brilliant spot for connections to other places such as Annecy and Switzerland.

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