Located in a strategic position, at the confluence of the rivers Rhône and Saône, Lyon is an elegant, dynamic city that charms visitors with its mix of history, culture, gastronomy and nightlife. A plethora of beauty awaits as you wander through the old, UNESCO-listed neighbourhoods of Fourvière, Vieux Lyon, Croix-Rousse and Presqu’île and discover the city’s exceptional museums, from the Museum of Fine Arts to the Confluence Museum – a truly multi-disciplinary archive of human history – and the Lumière Museum, dedicated to the two brothers who created the art of cinematography and were born right here in Lyon. And after such brilliance, why not treat yourself to lunch or dinner in one of Lyon’s typical bouchons? These fantastic restaurants serve up delicious local specialities. There’s a good reason why Lyon is considered the gastronomic capital of France!
We recommend starting your tour of Lyon at Fourvière Hill, a great vantage point from which to admire fantastic views across the city, and home to some of its main cultural and historical sites: the Gallo-Roman Theatre (the oldest Roman theatre in France), its museum, the Basilica of Notre-Dame and finally, at the bottom of the hill, Saint-Jean-Baptiste Cathedral. Here, in the Vieux Lyon neighbourhood, you can also explore the traboules: narrow passageways that run through buildings and private courtyards. If you love street art, don’t miss the Mur des Canuts, the largest mural in Europe, which depicts life in the Croix-Rousse neighbourhood.
As well as the Lumière brothers, another notable cultural figure who came from Lyon was Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, the world-famous author of The Little Prince. You can admire his statue in the Place Bellecour. This square is the beating heart of the city and a meeting point for its young people, along with the Place des Terreaux – another must-see, especially in the evening when the lit-up buildings make it even more atmospheric.
To make sure you have time to appreciate everything that Lyon has to offer, we recommend spending at least a weekend in the city. The best time to visit this destination is from early June to late September, or over the long weekend of 8th December, when the atmospheric Festival of Lights takes place.