Before France introduced a strict, nationwide lockdown to contain the coronavirus, the Cite Internationale de Gastronomie de Lyon – inaugurated just nine months ago – offered meals, exhibitions, workshops and tours for foodies.
“Faced with uncertainty for the economy and tourism, and despite our best efforts to save it, we have decided to not reopen the Cite,” the directors of the complex said in a statement.
The 4,000-square-metre facility was located in an 800-year-old building overlooking the Rhone river.
Inside the Cite Internationale de Gastronomie de Lyon. Photo: AFP
Since the beginning of its short existence the complex critics said the centre lacked cultural content and was too. Exhibitions cost €12 and lunch and dinner €29.
“The launch didn't go well, and the design didn't work. (…) There wasn't a clear principle, even if some things were a success, such as the children's area,” said chef Regis Marcon, who was part of the strategic comittee, adding he was “not surprised” by the closure.
Freshly-elected Green Party head of the Lyon area, Bruno Bernard, said the closure was an opportunity for Lyon's dwellers to “reclaim the emblematic site” of the Grand Hotel-Dieu, a grand former hospital converted in 2010.