black and white bottles on brown wooden shelf

The pot lyonnais is a distinctive wine bottle that hails from the city of Lyon, France. Known for its thick bottom and precise 46-centiliter capacity, this bottle has become a staple in the city’s renowned “bouchons,” traditional Lyonnais restaurants. Its name translates to “Lyonnais pot,” and it boasts a rich history dating back to the 19th century.

The pot lyonnais emerged during the 19th century, coinciding with the rise of the silk industry in Lyon. Silk workers, known as canuts, were entitled to 50 centiliters of wine as part of their daily wages. However, some silk manufacturers, seeking to exploit their workers, reduced the size of the pot lyonnais to 46 centiliters, hence its unique capacity.

The Pot Lyonnais: A Unique Wine Bottle from Lyon

The pot lyonnais is more than just a vessel for wine. Its thick bottom serves a practical purpose, allowing the bottle to retain its chilled temperature longer after being pre-cooled. This feature is particularly appreciated in the often lively and bustling atmosphere of bouchons, where keeping wine chilled is essential.

Today, the pot lyonnais transcends its functional purpose and has become a symbol of Lyonnais culture and culinary heritage. It is a ubiquitous sight in bouchons, where diners can savor local wines served in these iconic bottles. The pot lyonnais also features prominently in various Lyonnais festivals and celebrations, solidifying its place as a beloved cultural icon.

The pot lyonnais isn’t alone. It has a smaller companion known as the “fillette,” which translates to “little girl.” This bottle holds 25 centiliters and is also used to serve wine in bouchons. The “fillette” emerged later as a more manageable option for smaller portions or individual servings.

The pot lyonnais continues to be an essential part of the Lyonnais dining experience. Its unique design, rich history, and cultural significance ensure its place as a cherished symbol of the city’s culinary traditions. So, the next time you find yourself in a Lyonnais bouchon, be sure to raise a glass (or a pot lyonnais) and toast to this one-of-a-kind wine bottle!

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