• Menu
  • Menu
Blick auf Lyon von der Spitze Notre Dame de Fourviere, Bild: prochasson frederic / shutterstock

Lyon: Experience history in the artful French metropolis

The third largest city in France offers a wide range of things to see and do. Lyon is a suitable destination for individuals, couples or families with children and offers interesting places in every price range.

The city itself is easily accessible by plane. Lyon-Saint-Exupéry International Airport is less than half an hour from the city centre and can be reached quickly and easily by public transport.

You can also travel to Lyon by train or long-distance bus for about the same price. The huge Lyon Part-Dieu main station is served by many German trains. Long-distance buses arrive in Lyon Perrache, with the bus journey taking approximately twice as long as a train journey.

Transportation in Lyon

You can get around the city by bike, bus, tram or metro. The metropolis has a well-developed network of cycle paths. Bicycles can be rented at many velo’v stations spread across the city.

There are also guided tours by bike, Segway and even by boat. A funicular runs from the old town up to the hill with Lyon’s towering Notre-Dame de Fourvière Basilica.

Discounts on all means of transport and several activities are available with the purchase of a Lyon City Card. The card gives you free admission to all of the city’s more than 20 museums.

Impressive sights of Lyon

Lyon’s most famous attraction is probably the Basilica of Notre-Dame de Fourvière, which was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1998. It is located west of the old town on a mountain that can be climbed either on foot or by funicular. The cable car travels on the hill past several monuments and gardens.
Once at the top you have a fantastic view over the whole city. When the sky is clear, Mont Blanc is visible in the distance. The view is also a special experience at night.

See also  Normandy - History, culture and relaxation on France's Channel coast

The centre of the city is the largest pedestrian square in Europe, the Place Bellecour. It is surrounded by various shops and cafés. Here you will find the tourist information, an art gallery and the Ferris wheel of Lyon, as well as some monuments to relevant people. Among others, you can find Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, the author of the classic “The Little Prince” from Lyon.
Near the square there are many accommodations, shopping streets and the historic Vieux Lyon, the old town.

Also worth seeing are the Saint-Jean-Baptiste Cathedral in Lyon’s old town, the two Roman amphitheatres and other important buildings on the Place des Terreaux, including the Lyon City Hall.

Discovering Lyon

Place de Bellecour in Lyon
Place de Bellecour, Image: tichr / shutterstock

There is a lot to do in the city. It doesn’t always have to be expensive. In fact, Lyon has a lot to offer that is completely free of charge.

A popular activity in Lyon is to search for the traboules, which the silk weavers of the past used to transport silk. The secret passageways are hidden behind front doors and lead through corridors, stairwells and courtyards. In the footsteps of the silk weavers, the city can be perceived in a completely different way. If you don’t want to shake too many front doors, you can get an overview of the traboules at the tourist information office on Place Bellecour.

The city has a colorful variety of museums. With the Lyon City Card, you don’t pay admission to the more than 20 museums. Particularly exciting are the Museum du Cinema et de la Miniature, where sets, props and costumes from various films are exhibited, the natural history museum “Musée de Confluences”, the Musée des Beaux-Arts or the Museum Lumière, which revolves around the development of photography and film.

See also  The most beautiful beaches in France

An absolute must is dining in one of the rustic bouchons, where traditional French cuisine is in the foreground. Since the restaurants are usually very full, it is advisable to book a table in advance.

Another tip is to visit the Parc de la Tête d’Or. There is plenty to do here. The many green spaces invite you to linger and relax. The park is home to a free zoo, a botanical garden, a rosarium, and a lake where you can row a boat. Mini golf and pony rides are also available.

Art in the city

Jacobin Square Lyon
Jacobin Square in Lyon, Image: RossHelen / shutterstock

Lyon is an ideal destination for art lovers, as art is present everywhere in the city. Not only in the museums, but also in underground garages or on house walls, you can marvel at impressive works of art.

The “Mur des Canuts” (“Wall of the Silk Weavers”) is the largest mural in Lyon with 1200 square meters. The scene changes over the years and the characters grow with it. The mural is located in the artists’ district of La Croix-Rousse. There you can discover street art as well as unusual shops, cafés and galleries. The neighborhood is located on a hill in the city center. The view can be enjoyed especially from the Jardin de la Grande Côte.

On the banks of the Saône river, there is a regular artists’ market and a bouquinists’ market.

With children in Lyon

Lyon and the surrounding area also have interesting places and activities for children. Both the traboules and the huge Tête d’Or city park are fun for the whole family.

For a change of pace, take a day trip to one of Lyon’s parks, such as the Walibi Rhône-Aples amusement park with a large number of rides, or the Family Aventure adventure park.

The Safari de Peaugres animal park and the Lyon Aquarium are popular with parents and children.