As France’s third-largest city, Lyon offers a wealth of enticing experiences. Full of marvellous museums, world-renowned restaurants and a thriving nightlife, there is always something new to find amongst the city’s winding streets. Get the quintessential Lyon experience with these top 10 things to do and see in this fantastic city:
1. Fourvière Basilica
The iconic Fourvière stands tall, overlooking everything and everyone that comes and goes in Lyon. The oldest part of the city, boasting extravagant interiors and panoramic views, this grand 19th century church is a must-see if you’re visiting Lyon.
2. Eat at a Bouchon
You can’t talk about Lyon without mentioning its incredible food. It is the said to be the gastronomic capital of France, after all. Brimming with multicultural cuisine, you are sure to find something to please every taste palette. However, if you want to head down a traditional route, dine at an authentic ‘bouchon lyonnais’. Serving traditional Lyonnaise cuisine, including sausages, roast pork, and duck pâté.
A slither of land between Lyon’s two rivers, the Rhône, and the Saône, the Presqu’île section of the city is renowned for its cafes, shopping, and glorious architecture. This is where the true heart of Lyon beats, and it truly comes to life after dark.
4. Musée Miniature et Cinéma
In the Old Town, you’ll find a rather peculiar museum. Half is dedicated to incredible miniature reconstructions of everyday life, and the other half in a vast collection of special effects and film costumes. See both the world in shoebox-size and costumes from some of the biggest blockbusters, all within the same walls.
5. Marvel at the street art
Home to more than 100 painted walls, strolling around Lyon is almost like walking through an art gallery. Try and spot all the murals, especially on the slopes of the Croix-Rousse district: home to hundreds of works, from simple tags to entire art installations.
6. Wander round Vieux Lyon
Step into one of the largest Renaissance old towns in Europe, with a wander around Vieux Lyon. Previously home to the thriving silk industry, the winding streets reflect the gothic, Italian and French styles of the period.
7. Dine on a boat
Home to not one, but two rivers, Lyon is home to 45 grand bridges. If you look down onto the sparkling water from these bridges, you’ll spot rows of boats that border the banks. Upon some of these are exquisite restaurants and boozy bars that make for the perfect evening in Lyon.
8. Discover the Traboules
These hidden Renaissance passageways are an architectural element that are unique to Lyon. At the height of trading, traboules gave silk workers direct access to the riverbank, making it quicker and easier to transport the materials. Around 40 of these walkways are open to the public and are great to explore!
9. Parc de la Tête d’Or
One of the largest urban parks in France, the Parc de la Tête d’Or is well worth a visit! Picnic amongst the botanical beauties, or visit the zoo, boasting zebras, lions and giraffes as well as an expansive lake!
10. Jardin Rosa Mir
If you’re looking for a hidden gem amongst the hustle and bustle of the inner city, head straight to the Rosa Mir Garden. In an inner courtyard, Jules Senis (a bricklayer and refugee of the Spanish Civil War) has created an incredible oasis, named after his mother, Rosa Mir. Filled to capacity with flowers, tiles and foliage, Senis has filled a once barren courtyard with a unique and beautiful tribute, brimming with life.