"J'ADORE ♥ LYON" Top 5 Page for this destination Lyon by Natrix

Lyon Travel Guide: 569 reviews and 1,353 photos

Bienvenue à Lyon...

- UNESCO World Heritage city since 1998
- city with the most vibrant cultural/night life in France beside Paris and Marseille
- home of gourmet chef Paul Bocuse and capital of the famous French cuisine
- centre of the Résistance during 2. World War
- ancient Roman capital of Gaul founded in 43 BC ("Lugdunum")
- city at the crossroads between mediterranean and continental France
- 3rd largest city and major economic/financial centre of France
- centre of the catholic church

What to do...

... if you have ONLY ONE DAY to spend in Lyon:

- Go to the tourist office at Place Bellecour or any TCL (public transport) office and grab a free map, so you won't get lost.
- Take a walk from place Bellecour to Celestins theatre and Place des Jacobins, stroll along Rue Mercière till you reach Place des Terreaux and the Hotel de Ville. Then take the cable car (metro) to the Croix Rousse hill for a phantastic panoramic view. If it's still before lunchtime, take a chance to visit the market. Take the stairway to get back to Place des Terreaux.
- Cross the Saône river to get to Vieux Lyon, the old town. Stroll down Rue du Boeuf or Rue St. Jean starting from St. Paul church and explore some "traboules" on the way (see tips). When arrived at St. Jean church, take the "funiculaire" (cable car/metro) to Fourvière. Visit the church and/or enjoy the panoramic view, then walk over to the Roman amphitheatre at Minimes. Walk down the hill back to St. Jean or take the metro to get back into town.
- Eat at a "bouchon" (see tips) or a fine French restaurant.

... if you have a little more time:

- Visit a museum! Personal highlights: Institut Lumière, Centre d'Histoire de la Résistance et de la Déportation, Musée des Beaux-Arts, Musée d'Art Contemporain, Musée gallo-romain de Lyon-Fourvière, Musée des Tissus et des Arts Décoratifs, Maison des Canuts.

... if you have a little more time and it's SUMMER:

- Visit the huge Parc de la Tête d'Or for a picknick, check out the free zoo.
- Go swimming at the Piscine du Rhône swimming pool at the Rhône river.
- Take a boat trip on the Saône/Rhône river.

... if you're taking a walk in the evening:

- Don't miss walking Rue Mercière and Vieux Lyon for the atmosphere. Other sites (Place des Terreaux for example) are beautifully illumined in the evening.

Special events

The most famous annual public event in Lyon is the "Fête des Lumières" (festival of lights). Traditionally the Lyonnais put candles into their windows on December 8th. This tradition has it's origins in 1852, when the inauguration of a statue of Mary was almost prevented by a flood of the Saone river and a storm, but finally got to take place due to a sudden change of weather. As this was regarded as the work of Mary, many Lyonnais spontaneously put candles into their windows to thank her and to celebrate the event. This tradition is still practiced and the city of Lyon decided a few years ago to make a big event of 4 days, all about lighting, out of it, with the theme changing every year. Beware though: the city can get extremely crowded during the festival (3 million visitors last year!).

Another favourite public event I haven't experienced yet is the Fête de la Musique, celebrated on June 21st in Lyon and other major cities of France. People are welcome to play their instruments in the streets during this festival.

Links for further info

- Official site of Lyon on tourism: www.en.lyon-france.com
- Petit paumé, the ultimate Lyon city guide with tips and addresses on anything from restaurants to museums (French only): www.petitpaume.com
- Le Petit Bulletin, free weekly journal with schedule of cultural events in Lyon, printed version to be picked up at shops and cafés (French only): www.petit-bulletin.com
- Site of TCL, Lyon's public transport service. Find out how to get from A to B, consult prices and maps: www.tcl.fr
- Find a good restaurant in the area using the famous Michelin guide


There's two rivers flowing through Lyon, le Rhône and la Saône. The area in between the two is called Presqu’île. Naturally, this is the centre of town with the Rue de la République between the vast Bellecour square and Cordeliers being the main shopping street.
The oldest part of town is west of the Saône, where you will find ancient Roman sites and the Fourvière hill. The old town (Vieux Lyon) is the most touristic part of town, but also has a great night life.
Much of the night life (gay especially) is also concentrated around Hotel de Ville. It's full of drug addicts and drunken people at nights, doesn't feel safe to me.
In the north of the city you will find the hill of Croix Rousse. This part of town is popular with artists.
Around Guillotière the Asian and Maghrebin communities living in Lyon become more visible and you have a bit of "China Town" flair. I like it ...

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Many great things to do! I love the nightlife!
  • Cons:No metro after midnight and I can't stand the dogshit and *** in the streets...
  • In a nutshell:Magnificient city and much easier to handle than Paris!
  • Last visit to Lyon: Mar 2006
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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Reviews (12)

Comments (4)

  • sherrillbland's Profile Photo
    Mar 19, 2009 at 3:51 PM

    This is a wonderful page on Lyon! We're planning to visit our daughter who will be studying there during the Fall semester 2009 and we were looking for ideas of things to do and see there! Thanks!

  • himalia11's Profile Photo
    Feb 4, 2007 at 5:23 AM

    Very interesting page! Looks like you had a great time there. It was nice meeting you last weekend, unfortunately we couldn't talk much - hopefully we'll meet again!

  • Nemorino's Profile Photo
    Dec 29, 2006 at 10:31 AM

    Glad you enjoyed your year in Lyon. I was especially interested in your tip about the Institut Lumiere. Also, that "velov" system sounds great. I rented bikes in Strasbourg and Paris this year, and had a fine time riding all around.

  • jo104's Profile Photo
    Mar 24, 2006 at 1:31 AM

    Good info thanks for sharing, hope to see some more pics

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