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Luscious Lyon

The second city of France is worth more than a passing glance. Whereas Paris has fallen prey to criticism for appealing to the masses, Lyon has maintained its own brand of sophistication. Born out of a Roman settlement over 2,000 years ago, Lyon has a rich mix of culture and history that makes it a truly unique experience.

Outside of Venice, Old Lyon offers the largest intact area of Renaissance architecture, housing three beautifully crafted churches: St Paul,St JeanandSt Georges. The Vieux Lyon Funicularprovides a bird’s-eye view of the city that is sure to leave you speechless. Lyon often suffers in comparison with its more famous northern cousin, but in many ways it has more to offer. Happily lacking the arrogance of Parisians, Lyon locals are warm and welcoming – and pleased to help you get the best out of their city, from dawn to dusk and far beyond.

Lyon's Top 10

10. Cathedral St Jean Baptiste The spires reach for the sky, but the stained-glass windows ground it firmly in the hearts of locals and visitors.

5. Musee Gadagne Histoire de Lyon et Marionettes du Monde Centred on local history, this museum displays the best local art, furniture and (oddly enough) puppets!

9. Palais Saint-Pierre The arched promenades are a feast for the eyes.

4. Basilique Notre Dama de Fourviere The extravagantly sculpted exterior contrasts with the delicately detailed interior.

8. Parc de la Tete d’Or This beautiful botanical garden is best enjoyed on a bike.

3. Fourviere Hill Home to must-see ancient Roman ruins and Lyon’s starting point.

7. Musee des Tissus et des Arts Decoratif Houses exceptionally detailed exhibitions based around the development of textiles and decorative arts in the region.

2. Vieux Lyon This World Heritage-listed neighbourhood is as good for walking and people watching as it is for dining and shopping.

6. Maison des Canuts If your eyes are more sartorially focused, this museum specialises in all things silk.

1. Tete d’Or Home to a rose garden, a Zen garden, a lake, a glasshouse and a zoo.

Lyon History

  • Théâtre des Célestins – Designed by Gaspard André in 1877, this Lyon building boasts a beautiful Italian-style facade.
  • St Jean Cathedral – A gothic-style cathedral built between 1180 and 1480.
  • St Jean Archaeological Garden – Located next to St Jean Cathedral, this garden is home to the remains of several religious buildings.
  • Fourvière Basilica – Built in 1872, this large church is constructed from white marble.
  • Palais de Justice – This historical courthouse was built around 1835 by architect Louis-Pierre Baltard.

Lyon Art & Culture

  • Musée des Arts Décoratifs – A museum celebrating the decorative arts.
  • Centre d'Histoire de la Résistance et de la Déportation – This popular museum depicts daily life in Lyon under the German occupation.
  • International Puppet Museum – A museum dedicated to the history of puppets, ideal for children visiting Lyon.
  • Musée Vivant du Cinéma – This fascinating museum offers an insight into the history of cinema.
  • Auditorium – An impressive concert hall, home to the Lyon National Orchestra.

Lyon Shopping

  • Rue Auguste Comte – Here tourists will find Lyon’s antique stores.
  • St. Antoine Market – One of the main food markets in Lyon.
  • Halles de Lyon Paul Bocuse – Found in the Part-Dieu area, some of the best fresh food can be found here.
  • Rue Victor Hugo – Located just south of Bellecour, brand-name goods can be purchased here.
  • La Part-Dieu – The largest downtown shopping centre in Europe.

Gay & Lesbian Lyon

  • Forum Bar – This bar has predominantly gay and lesbian clientele.
  • Gay Pride march – This annual event takes place in June each year and never fails to draw large crowds.
  • United Café – Catering for young adults visiting Lyon, this popular bar offers a fun night out in a unique, cellar location.
  • Le Medley Club – An intimate gay bar, perfect for catching up with friends and locals.
  • Le 10 – This bar offers the excitement of theme nights and different music genres.

Lyon Outdoor

  • Parc de la Tête d'Or – This 105-hectare, English-style garden is one of France’s most beautiful urban parks.
  • Rhône Banks - Home to a 5km promenade featuring great views over the Croix-Rousse and Presqu'Ile areas.
  • Parc de Gerland – This tranquil Lyon park boasts numerous examples of stunning modern landscaping.
  • Jardin des Curiosités – A small garden designed by Canadian artists in a surrealistic spirit.
  • Parc des Hauteurs – An aerial adventure course and a ski and mountain bike slope.

Lyon Sport

  • Catch the Olympique Lyonnais play football at the Gerland Stadium.
  • Check out ASVEL, where the Villeurbanne basketball team regular puts on a great game.
  • Watch the LOU Rugby team get into a scrum at the Vuillermet Stadium.
  • Pay a visit to the Club des Sports de Glace de Lyon, the former training base of the 2002 Olympic gold medallist ice dancers.
  • Watch the tennis stars of the future train at the Tennis Club de Lyon.

Lyon Events

Lyon International Fair inMarch celebrates everything from art to gastronomy.

April’s Original Hip-Hop Festival attracts the best in local and international hip-hop acts.

With spectacular parades and fireworks lighting up the skies and streets of Lyon, Bastille Day (14 July) is the best excuse to dance the night away.

Every building is lit up and an enormous procession marches down the main street of Lyon for December’s Festival of Lights.

When To Go

Cold winds off the Alps meet Mediterranean warmth, making Lyon fairly temperate all year round.

However, Lyon’s weather is notoriously unpredictable, so make sure to pack an umbrella just in case!

Autumn is the best time to visit, with moderate temperatures and less rainfall than in spring.

Getting Around

Public transport is the best options, with clean, safe and reliable travel guaranteed.

Bicycle is not only the green, but also the clever option. Rent-a-bike options are available throughout the city.

Leave the car at home, as Lyon traffic is dense and very difficult to manoeuvre within (which is about the only thing the city has in common with Paris).

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Recommended hotels

From US$88

1 Novotel Lyon la Part Dieu

4 stars
4.7 / 5 3 reviews

47 Boulevard Vivier Merle Map

Coalescing a sense of contemporary style along with contemporary facilities and attentive service, Novotel Hotel Lyon La Part Dieu is an ideal retreat for both business and leisure travellers... More

Good visit
The hotel itself is very good. The rooms are sizeable and comfortable with good bathrooms and excellent beds. The staff friendly and helpful and speak english which was a huge relief as our french...
20 Sep 2015
From US$139

2 Hotel Le Royal Lyon - MGallery Collection

5 stars
4.7 / 5 6 reviews

20 Place Bellecour Map

Save 33% on your stay. Includes breakfast

Hotel Le Royal Lyon MGallery Collection offers discreet luxurious amenities, understated elegance and personalized service to discerning travellers while they are staying in the area. Plenty of... More

Fabulous hotel
Yet the hotel is under renovation, it is an amazing staying experience. Located just at the corner of tourist spot and metro station just across the road. This hotel makes you feel you are staying...
20 Aug 2015
From US$77

3 Hôtel Mercure Lyon Centre Château Perrache

4 stars
4.4 / 5 5 reviews

12 cours de Verdun Rambaud Map

Rate includes up to 40% off

Elegant dwellings are at hand at the Mercure Lyon Centre Grand Hotel Chateau Perrache. Maintaining old-world charm with its Art Nouveau architecture, the hotel is within close distance to the... More

From US$90

4 BEST WESTERN Hotel Charlemagne

4 stars
4.0 / 5 3 reviews

23 Cours Charlemagne Map

Upholding Lyon's tradition of hospitality and prestige, BEST WESTERN Hotel Charlemagne invites you for a fascinating holiday at one of the most exotic places in France. GeneralBEST WESTERN Hotel... More

Good location , nice staff
Great location for train, if like us you are journeying to other parts of the country and have big cases to lug around, and it was still only 20 mins walk to all attractions- Museum of the...
10 Jan 2014
From US$88

5 Mercure Lyon Grand Hotel Saxe Lafayette

4 stars
4.0 / 5 2 reviews

29 rue de Bonnel Map

Rate includes up to 40% off

Ideally located in the heart of the business area of Lyon, the Mercure Lyon Grand Hotel Saxe Lafayette with its comfortable accommodation invites discerning guests to participate in a truly special... More

From US$110

6 Hôtel Mercure Lyon Centre Beaux Arts

3 stars
5.0 / 5 1 reviews

73-75 rue President Map

Rate includes up to 40% off

A beautiful 19th century building that boasts a Lyon style of architecture; the Mercure Lyon Centre Beaux Arts offers you comfortable accommodation in a great locale, thus making it an ideal base... More

We were pleasantly surprised during our recent stay at mercure Lyon center. The room size was huge, especially after coming from Paris. Bed was a queen and very comfortable. The linens were ok. I...
7 Oct 2014
From US$165

7 Sofitel Lyon Bellecour

5 stars
4.8 / 5 4 reviews

20, quai Gailleton Map

Save 30% on your stay

Hotel Sofitel Lyon Bellecour, located in the heart of the city is an ideal hotel for a tourist getaway or a business meeting. The hotel offers all the modern amenities for a pleasant and... More

The reception staff were all excellent and incredibly help and attentive. Comfortable establishment. Close to Town Centre and attractions. Will book again.
3 Aug 2014
From US$173

8 Hotel Carlton Lyon - MGallery Collection

4 stars
5.0 / 5 1 reviews

4 rue Jussieu Map

Rate includes Half Board

Combining modern comfort and sophistication, Hotel Carlton Lyon - MGallery Collection is an ideal lodging option for those who are seeking superb facilities in an ideal location. From this hotel,... More

Would highly recommend
The quality of this hotel is first-class. We have been travelling through France for over three weeks and chose this hotel to have a bit of luxury. We were not disappointed. At the time of booking...
18 Sep 2014
From US$102

9 Hôtel Mercure Lyon Centre Plaza République

4 stars
3.6 / 5

5 rue Stella Map

Rate includes up to 40% off

Right in the heart of Lyon and the shopping streets of the Presquile, the Mercure Lyon Plaza Republique Hotel offers an ideal location as well as splendid comforts to make your visit to Lyon an... More

From US$88

10 Hôtel Mercure Lyon Centre Brotteaux

4 stars
4.0 / 5

112 - 114 Boulevard des Belges Map

Rate includes up to 40% off

Enjoying an exceptional location, the Mercure Hotel Lyon Brotteaux is the perfect place for your stay in Lyon. GeneralThe hotel also offers a well-equipped business centre that cater to the needs... More

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