Century-old Mansion In Lyon Offers Serene Atmosphere

by Sean Hillen

Tucked away quietly off a busy residential street in Lyon, Villa 216 is an elegant 19th century mansion hidden behind sturdy electronic iron gates with a crescent pebbled driveway and a sprinkling waterfall.

A well-tended walled garden with an impressive array of flora including herbs and flowers such as verbena, sage, lilies, roses and lavender, as well as ivy clinging to the walls, tall chestnut and lime blossom trees, even some wild strawberries, give a soothing sense of countryside even though its in the suburbs. Parking is convenient and safe, off- road, behind the gates on the private driveway.

Photos by Columbia Hillen.

While we were left with the impression we were outside Lyon, everyday activities in France’s third largest city continues as normal, with shops and restaurants dotted along the road outside.

Inside Villa 216, built in 1890, are three ensuite rooms, plus an outdoor hot-tub for guest use only. Personal massages can be organised through a phone call.  

The hallway entrance up several stone steps under a vintage glass and metal canopy is bright and cheerful with floral designed wallpaper,  a floor of colorful tiles, an armchair, woven baskets with yellow cushions in them, a glass-fronted drinks and snacks cabinet based on the honor system and several shelves of books and tourism information.

Our ground-floor room, with full view over the garden through a pair of tall French windows, comprised a spacious bedroom and adjoining bathroom with walk-in shower and separate toilet. 

The bedroom featured a parquet wood floor, wall and ceiling mouldings, a brown-speckled marble fireplace and decorative cast-iron heaters. 

It was furnished with all major appliances including an excellent Jura coffee-maker with fresh roasted beans, a toaster, an oven and a wall-mounted television. There was also an assortment of eight different Pages teas, a leading French brand, including Earl Grey, mint, apricot and blackberry and myrtle-berries.

A round, marble-topped table was big enough for us to eat at, though with the fine weather we enjoyed, we preferred the seating and tables outside fronting the garden.

Breakfast at Villa 216 was via delivery service, ‘Baguette a bicyclette,’ straight to our door every morning, comprising chocolat noir and noisettes granola, pure orange juice, yogurt, baguette with Brittany butter and jam and chocolate croissant.

Being a multi-national neighborhood, choice of ethnic, or indeed classic French bistros, brasseries and restaurants, is abundant. One evening we enjoyed Nepalese spinach curry, chickpea noodles and dumplings and on another Lebanese tabouli, humous and eggplant.

If driving is not on your holiday agenda, a chauffeur service is easily accessible and we enjoyed a friendly and professional experience with Chauffeur Lyon, a local company offering high-quality transport. 

For a sense of countryside, away from the noise of traffic yet only a short 15-minute drive from downtown Lyon, Villa 216 is an attractive option.

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