Lyon is the third largest city in France and centre of the second largest metropolitan area in the country. It is the capital of the Rhone-Alpes region and the Rhône département. It is known as a gastronomic and historical city with a vibrant cultural scene.
A flourish of fabulous new accommodation, cultural sights galore, and a raft of exciting festivals will keep you royally entertained; whether it’s discovering the revamped Confluence district, ambling around the cobbled streets of Vieux-Lyon, or sipping coffee in the bohemian hangouts of Croix-Rousse, Lyon has it all. Here are the top 8 thing to do in Lyon, France
- Traboules – Traboules are delightful renaissance passageways, some 40 of which are open to the public, running beneath buildings in the direction of the Saône River. They gave the city’s silk workers direct access to riverbank, making it quick and easy to transport textiles, while also offering shelter from the elements. The best place to start your adventure is around Quai Fulchiron Rolland and Rue des Trois Maries.
- Vieux Lyon – In 1954, Vieux-Lyon, the city’s oldest district, became the first site in France to be protected under the Malraux law to protect France’s cultural sites. Covering an area of 424 hectares at the foot of the Fourvière hill, it is one of Europe’s most extensive Renaissance neighborhoods. There are three distinct sections: Saint Jean, Saint Paul and Saint Georges.
- Fourvière Basilica – The basilica is in the oldest part of the city, Lyon’s pilgrimage site and where several Roman sites have been discovered. This magnificent church, ever visible on the Fourvière hill to west of the city is one of a series of iconic hill-top churches built in major French cities in the late-19th century.
- Parc de la Tête d’Or – A little way north of the centre is one of the largest urban parks in the country, with a zoo and France’s foremost botanical garden within its boundaries.
- Musée des Beaux-Arts de Lyon – Housed in a former abbey from the 1600s, the Musée des Beaux-Arts is France’s largest fine art museum after the Louvre in Paris. There are 70 rooms, with paintings from the 1300s to the 1900s, sculpture and displays of both Egyptian and Oriental art.
- Ancient Theatre of Fourvière – 2,000 years after it was built it is still a performance venue during the Nuits de Fourvière drama festival every June and July. At its peak it would have held 10,000 spectators, but only the middle and lower terraces of the cavea remain.
- Lyon Cathedral – The city’s fabulous cathedral is a mostly gothic construction built between the 12th and 15th centuries. The majority of the original stained-glass windows are still here and date to the 1300s. They had been dismantled and packed away during the Second World War to save them from bomb damage.
- Lyon’s Murals – There are around 100 large paintings on walls around the city, often in working-class neighbour and on social housing, so they can draw you to places you might not otherwise venture.