Once you’ve admired the frescos, walked the traboules, had your fill of Côtes-du-Rhône and avoided eating a quenelle (neither obligatory nor advisable), one of Lyon’s most unique offerings is its maze of independent shops. Head to the city’s first arrondissement and La Croix Rousse district for chain-free independent shopping with plenty of character.
Lyon is a young people’s city but the clothes are all old. For the last four and a half years FripesKetchup (25 rue Sergent Blandan) has been serving up vintage women’s clothes and accessories spanning from the 1950s to 90s from their stylish boutique. Doubling up as an ad hoc exhibition space, the shop has the exposed brick, industrial-style hanging clothes racks and dipped lighting interior that we all enjoy shopping in. If you’ve ever left a 60s mini skirt behind in a launderette in or around Lyon, there’s a strong possibility you’ll find it again here as that’s where the boutique’s owner sources many of his one-off pieces. Walk ten minutes and you’ll find yourself in Lyon’s very own New York in the boutique-cum-shrine that is Carrie Bradshop (17 rue Romarin). Named after the fictional fashion icon of Sex and the City, the boutique’s owners travel between Milan and Brussels to find clothes, accessories and vintage treasures to fill this small space with. Think costume, novelty and gloriously tacky.
If you’re looking for a plastic flamingo for your garden, a chainsaw-shaped candleholder, a dancing desk dolly or even washable make-up remover pads, you need to set aside some time to discover the Blitz Bazar & Galerie (4 rue Louis Vitet). The shop is a miscellany of accessories and t-shirts spread across two floors with an alternating exhibition space upstairs.
Lyon is a little stuck in the past, and there’s nothing wrong with that. If you’re an avid collector of vinyl or feeling nostalgic for your childhood heroes, Boul’Dingue (8 rue du Palais de Justice) is 40-year-old treasure trove of second-hand records, comics and cartoons past and present, spread over two tightly packed and dusty floors. Their records may be old but for music happening in the city here and now, check out the concert listings on the board outside. If you’ve got a little more money to spend and you’re in the process of furnishing your own retro living space, Lyon’s L’œil vintage (28 montée des Carmélites) is an eclectic mix of 50s and 60s furniture and objets d’art, modern Scandinavian-style pieces and contemporary art for sale lining the walls.