It’s hard to capture Lyon in words. Five days in the third largest city in France left me desiring for more time. When I think of France, my mind races to Paris but alternatively Lyon has a lot to offer. The enticing, lively culture of Lyon exudes a kind of “coolness” that I hadn’t seen before in France.
With a bustling gastronomic scene, everywhere you go in Lyon there are many contenders for a good meal. The hip coffee shop, the 6 table eatery, a luxury food hall, and more bouchons to choose from set Lyon apart. Paired with the stunning Parc de la Tête d’Or, endless museums, and a bustling nightlife, Lyon seems to have it all.
A city set between two rivers, the Rhône and the Saône, the idyllic location blends a bustling new town with the old town. Whether you want to explore cobblestone streets or stroll the more cosmopolitan streets, Lyon offers a vibrant city escape.
The Alternative Guide to Lyon, France
What to Know Before Visiting Lyon, France
- Many direct trains are available into Lyon from major cities.
- Once on ground, walking is easy and there is Uber for longer stretches.
- Almost everywhere takes credit card, though it is advised to have a few Euros on hand.
- Three to four nights is recommended to see Lyon in-depth.
Where to Stay in Lyon, France
- Away Hostel Lyon: A trendy space that is bright and designed with modern amenities, Away Hostel is the hip place to be. With options for shared or private accommodations, the space is beautiful and incredibly well priced for the city.
- Airbnb: There are plenty of wonderful Airbnb’s in Lyon. When renting, I’d recommend staying in the 1st, and try to be close to the Hotel de Ville.
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Where to Eat in Lyon, France
- La Poissonnerie: Come here for all things seafood related.
- Les Halles de Lyon: A large food hall featuring endless restaurant options. Everything in here is wonderful and worth a visit.
- La Bijouterie: My favorite meal in Lyon, come here for their lunch prefix that showcases their French-inspired dim sum.
- La Boite a Cafe: Great coffee and small pastry menu to accompany.
- Casa Jaguar: A relaxed South American inspired menu, brings forth bold flavors. Try the fresh ceviches here.
- Ravigote: With seasonal ingredients, the playful menu is impressive not only for dinner but lunch too.
- Le Laurencin: Popular not only with tourists, this class bouchon serves large portions at a good price.
- Cafe Comptoir Abel: A classic place in Lyon, come here for traditional Lyonnaise food that is sure to win. Their prefixed lunch menu is delicious, and be sure to try the house pate.
- The New Smoke World: A good stop for quick food, with a diverse sausage menu.
- Diploid: A neighborhood coffee shop and eatery, their breakfast is delicious as well as their small lunch menu.
- Le Cercle Rouge: Refined bistro food in a cozy space.
- Hot Globe: If you’re looking for a quick and cheap meal, this is the spot for sausages packed with a ton of flavor, all to-go.
- Chez Lucien, Bistrotier: Classic French food done with an upscale twist.
What to Do in Lyon, France
- Musee Jean Couty: Step into the world of Jean Couty, where you can see the studio of the artist and learn more about his works.
- Ride the funicular to the Basilica of Notre-Dame de Fourviere. The views from here are the best around, be sure to come for sunset.
- Stroll through the gardens at Parc de la Tete d’Or.
- Cruise the rivers on a boat tour.
- Experience the incredible architecture at Musée des Confluences.
- Explore Vieux Lyon, taking a walk through the historic cobblestone streets.
- Take a day trip to Annecy. A quick train or bus ride, this magical town is worth a day trip to explore the town, eat raclette at Le Fretti, or spend the afternoon on the lake.
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