By  on August 1, 2005

SHOPPING FRENZY: Lyon's tony shopping area between the rue Edouard, rue des Archers and rue Emile Zola shines with luxury shops such as Hermès, Louis Vuitton and Cartier. But hip designer boutiques are crowding the area, too.

As It Is is Lyon's answer to Paris' Colette, an airy space with Pop Art hung on the walls and a water and sushi bar in the basement. It carries sweet French brands like APC, Vanessa Bruno, Paul & Joe and Fifi Chachnil alongside art books and CDs.

One of the most interesting finds there is a unisex fragrance, Absolut Absinthe, which is made in Aix-en-Provence with hints of absinthe and cannabis notes. Next door is Simone, stocking brands such as Isabel Marant, Karine Arabian, Antik Batik and Notify jeans.

Meanwhile, Graphiti Dames offers brands like Stella McCartney and Barbara Bui. Though there are few cutting-edge lingerie stores in Lyon, Tazia is the best place for elegant undergarments. Its pearl-clad owner, Madame Odette, makes customers feel like a queen.

As It Is: 3 rue des quatre Chapeaux, 69002 Lyon. Tel : +33 4 72 41 93 69.

Simone: 1 rue des quatre Chapeaux, 69002 Lyon. Tel: +33 4 78 38 61 48.

Graphiti Dames: 9 rue du Plâtre, 69001 Lyon. Tel : +33 4 78 28 57 94.

Tazia : 102 rue Pres Edouard Herriot, 69002 Lyon. Tel : +33 4 78 37 39 90.

COCKTAIL HOUR: The futuristic-meets-neoclassical opera house in Lyon, renovated by Jean Nouvel in 1992, has the coolest bar in town: a vast carbon-black space illuminated by ruby lanterns.

A great stop for a pot of mint tea in the afternoon, it's also the ultimate spot for sipping an aperitif while listening to jazz, with concerts taking place each evening between 7 p.m. and 11 p.m. For dinner, take the lift up to the rooftop restaurant, Les Muses de l'Opéra, which offers a view of the city.

Another hot spot is Apericlub, the trendy watering hole of the moment. It has funky sofas and a disco ball and a wood terrace for summer nights. Next door is First, a stylish nightclub with an electro-house vibe for those who want to kick up their heels.

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