Bitterness among the traders at Halles Paul Bocuse, in the 3rd arrondissement of Lyon. There is an unusual calm in the aisles. This temple of gastronomy, usually crowded with the approach of the end of year celebrations, seems to have been deserted. Atmosphere.
Usually, as the end of the year holidays approach, thousands of visitors flock to the aisles of the Halles Paul Bocuse. This large covered market then becomes “The place to be”. Customers who love good food jostle in front of the stalls of écaillers, cheese makers and caterers. But this year, the health crisis has passed and the atmosphere is quite different. One week before New Year’s Eve on December 24, nothing is missing in this temple of gastronomy except the customers. So traders do not have the heart to party. The alleys have never been so deserted even if the Lyonnais are preparing to go bomb.
A gloom that worries traders: “We are worried because people do not have the spirit to party. The inhabitants of the neighborhood are always present and they make us live but it lacks emulation, there is no atmosphere, it is very calm, ” notes Michel Blanchet, trader.
Of the 55 shops in Les Halles, 15 are bars or restaurants. These are therefore all closed due to a health crisis. “Usually we make a hundred covers a day, people make their end of year meals and it’s just magic, but this year, no!” deplores Thomas Védrine. For this restaurateur, as for his colleagues, for lack of winter recipes, the future looks bleak: “The winter turnover allows us to spend the summer without a hitch. But there, without activity, this summer will be very complicated.”
Halles Paul Bocuse: uncrowded aisles for a December 15th
© France tv
Attendance in free fall
In recent days, the Halles Paul Bocuse has recorded a drop in attendance of up to 70%. This is a first in the history of this Lyon institution, which has been in this district since 1971. It is first and foremost tourists who are lacking, but not only. “We miss the tourists, that’s a fact,” agrees Claude Polidori, President of Halles Paul Bocuse. “During the week, we miss the people who work nearby because many are teleworking.”
The cancellation of the December 8 festivities also weighed heavily: “We unfortunately lost the providential manna of December 8. We know that there are three million people who come to Lyon for December 8, and well, we had zero,” Claude Polidori explains bitterly.
At the Halles Bocuse, some traders do not want to give up. While waiting for better days, they adapt by focusing on take-out or delivery. And the formula seems to work. Thus, Maison Cellerier opted for this solution. The renowned caterer sends around 700 gourmet packages per week to its customers. Deliveries in 48 hours. “We don’t know if it will make up for everything but it will fill up some holes, and we will be able to have a fairly decent month of December,“explains Pierre-Guy Cellerier with a smile.
Merchants at Halles Bocuse achieve more than half of their turnover during the months of November, December and January. But this year, traders are not expecting a miracle on Christmas.
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