24 Hours in Lyon

Any city where celebrity chefs hone skills and sharpen knives with uncanny regularity and food-mad denizens clamour for quality is a place you want to camp out for a day or two. Lyon, a foremost gourmet capital and temple of gastronomy in France, famously teems with a constellation of Michelin stars and a vital ensemble of UNESCO World Heritage landmarks.

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The capital of the spectacular Rhône-Alpes region is a worthy second fiddle to Paris. As a potential gateway to the likes of Chamonix-Mont Blanc, Grenoble, Annecy and Switzerland, Lyon is supreme. Make ample time, however, to enjoy the 2013 European Capital of Culture candidate.

Authentic sustenance It borders on utter folly to venture to Lyon – even for 24 hours – without a comprehensive meal plan. The city demands visitors squish in extra courses between breakfast and lunch, lunch and dinner. You can choose from one of two options when you dine in Lyon (or both, if you have the ambition, budget and time). Essentially it boils down to Michelin star icons or traditional bouchons. With the former, visitors to Lyon have a surfeit of Red Guide gems to choose from, from fresh stars like Takao Takano (14 r. Grolée) to Laurent Rigal (L’Alexandrin – 83 r. Moncey) to the chef of chefs and icon himself, Paul Bocuse.

A bouchon, on the other hand, is not quite a bistro or brasserie but a traditional kitchen that delivers Lyonnaise classics like coq au vin, pâté and boudin – with regional wines of course. Convivial, no-nonsense fare and a far cry from haute cuisine. Two of the best bouchons in the city, Val d’Isère and À Ma Vigne, lure Michelin chefs and bus drivers alike to worship at the altar of rustic, simple, straightforward cuisine.

Val d’Isère
64 rue Bonnel

À Ma Vigne
3 rue Jean Larrivé

Paul Bocuse
40 rue de la Plage, Collonges-au-Mont-d’Or

Where to stay: Relais & Chateau Villa Florentine Hotel Lyon

Museums comprise points of pride for the average Lyonnais, with many fine ones to target. The Mus̩e des beaux-arts (Museum of Fine Arts) is the standout but far from alone as a worthwhile special trip with a day to spare in the city. Consider if you will the treasure trove of relics at the Mus̩e Africain or that most paragon patron of the avant-garde in France РLa Sucri̬re contemporary art space. The future Mus̩e des Confluences will not open until 2013 but has natural science and anthropology buffs abuzz already.

Museum of Fine Arts
20 Place Terreaux

African Museum
150 Cours Gambetta

La Sucrière
47 Quai Rambaud

Where to stay: La Cour Des Loges Hotel Lyon

The UNESCO World Heritage area of Lyon deserves a thorough tour on foot. As the international body aptly puts it, Lyon is a place that bears exceptional testimony to the continuity of urban settlement over more than two millennia. With that, take a long walk and look around. The bulk of heritage landmarks unfurl throughout the Fourvière, Presqu’île, Roman, Renaissance and Silk quarters; all easily identifiable and manageable for game pedestrians. Some of the best points of interest include Basilique Notre-Dame de Fourvière, Cathédrale Saint-Jean-Baptiste de Lyon, Hôtel de Ville de Lyon (City Hall) and Place des Terreaux.

Where to stay: Boscolo Grand Hotel Lyon

Lyon City Guide

2 Comments for "24 Hours in Lyon"

Freddy says on July 14th, 2011 at 12:38 am:

Thanks Ian
That was a Good start. While i disagree with your Bouchons selection I wanted to add a few details re Unesco heritage walk

Regarding the Unesco Heritage trip of Lyon, I would suggest the following itinery:

1) Start a Bellecour in city centre, grab a city tour guide – head toward St Jean
2) Take the Funicular or “ficelle” (rope) to the Fourviere basilica (Metro station 200 metres after the bridge)
3) Arriving there: Panoramic shots of the city, visit of the basilica (dubbed the flipped elephant for its bulky look)
4) Walk down the Rosary Garden (10-15 min)
5) You will arrive in front of St Jean Cathedrale
6) take left in St Jean Street and wonder around the cobblestone streets
7) If budget permit have lunch at La cour des loges (don’t try bouchons around, tthey are not worth it)
8) Head toward St Just (end of St George Street) and cross the bridge back to the peninsula
9) Head towards town Hall and Place des terreaux
10) if time permits you can have a quick strall through the aisles of Musee des beaux arts (I love some of the picassos there)
11) Take the metro (Orange line C) to Croix-Rousse
12) On Croix rousse plateau Go to Maison des Canuts (silk makers museum
13) Walk down the slops of croix rousse using the “Traboules” (use your city map to find them)
14) Come back after a fancy meal at Bocus and end up in one of the student pocket bars at the bottom of the slopes. (My all time favourite is Barberousse a cellar refurbish as the hull of a ship, drinking flavoured rum and singing drinking songs all night, pretending to be a pirate)


  1. Alam Yeksha Buana

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