• Login
Les mères lyonnaises , The 'mères lyonnaises' , France licence creative commons
The 'mères lyonnaises'

In Lyon in the 19th century, female cooks who hadn't been trained in any of the grand restaurants were given the name 'mères' (mothers).

© Guillaume Bavière
  • Compare your :
  • Flights
  • Hotels
  • Flight + Hotel
  • Private Rentals
  • Cars
  • Holidays
  • Destination
Les mères lyonnaises France
By Amy Adejokun Amy Adejokun Section editor

Discover Les mères lyonnaises

Simple, familial cuisine and local specialities are the ingredients which have made the 'mères Lyonnaises' ('mothers of Lyon') famous.
Originally, these women were cooks for Lyon's large middle-class families. It was at the end of the 19th century that some of them decided to start their own restaurants which became the best establishments in the city. They were quickly nicknamed the 'mothers' and their establishments hosted the Compagnons du Tour de France Journeymen (a French organisation of craftsmen and artisans dating from the Middle Ages which is still active today) whom they gave the opportunity of discovering fine cuisine: 'poulard en vessie' (fatted chicken in a bladder), 'cardons à la moelle' (cardoons cooked in marrow), 'poularde demi-deuil de la mère Brazier' (a fatted Bresse chicken flavoured with slivers of truffles slid under the skin), among other things.
Although this tradition is gradually fading, the names of the 'mothers' (Blanc, Fillioux, Poupon, etc.) are still alive in the memories of the locals, and the big chefs, like Bocuse, are carrying on the recipes and the secrets that these mothers taught them over their stoves (as a young baker's boy, Paul Bocuse worked for 'mother' Brazier).

Les mères lyonnaises

Les mères lyonnaises , France
Les mères lyonnaises © Leonard Zhukovsky / 123RF
Les mères lyonnaises , France
Les mères lyonnaises © Jules Sylvestre
Les mères lyonnaises , France
Les mères lyonnaises © Eric Dufour / 123RF
Les mères lyonnaises , France
Les mères lyonnaises © Foodpictures / 123RF
Les mères lyonnaises , France
Les mères lyonnaises © Pedro Salaverria Getty Images/iStockphoto
Twitter Facebook
France : Discover our cities Paris
  • Paris Paris
  • Nice Nice
  • Bordeaux Bordeaux
  • Lyon Lyon
  • Marseille Marseille
  • Lille Lille
  • Toulouse Toulouse
  • Nantes Nantes
  • Toulon Toulon
  • Rennes Rennes
  • Rouen Rouen
  • Bastia Bastia
  • Clermont Ferrand Clermont Ferrand, Auvergne, France,
  • Caen Caen
  • Le Havre Le Havre
  • Ajaccio Ajaccio
  • Perpignan Perpignan
  • Angers Angers
  • Reims Reims
  • Avignon Avignon
  • La Rochelle La Rochelle
  • Annecy Annecy
  • Poitiers Poitiers
  • Nimes Nimes
  • Cherbourg Cherbourg

France : The regions

  • Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur

  • Brittany

  • Ile de France

  • Midi-Pyrénées

  • Normandy

  • The Loire region

  • Nord-Pas-de-Calais

  • Corsica

  • Languedoc-Roussillon

  • Auvergne

  • Alsace

  • Central France

  • Picardy

  • Poitou-Charentes

  • Franche-Comté

  • Lorraine

  • Aquitaine

  • Rhône-Alpes

  • Burgundy

  • Limousin

  • Champagne-Ardenne