From Roman times to the 20th century, passing through the Renaissance, the majority of the Lyon’s architectural heritage is listed as UNESCO world heritage sites. Located at the junction of the Rhone and Saône rivers, it has taken 2,000 years to build the city and 20 years to turn it into a modern metropolis now capable of competing with many capitals.Population : 491,268 inhabitants
Thanks to its position at a crossroads, Lyon is at the center of many highway infrastructures. Going down highway A6 from Paris will get you there in 4 hours and 30 minutes, while from Marseille on A7 is 3 hours. The highways also allow you to get to Chambéry and Grenoble in an hour and 20 minutes.
The Saint Exupéry Airport is the second most important airport in the area after Nice’s. Located 25 minutes from Lyon, it connects you to the majority of European capitals and large cities.
The two main European train stations are Part Dieu and Perrache.
Part Dieu offers a transfer between Lyon and Paris in just 2 hours with the TGV trains, which allows the city not to be too distant from the capital.
The two stations can reach the majority of French cities and can take you to Belgium, Switzerland, Italy, and even to Spain.
Lyon has the second most important public transportation network after Ile de France. The city consists of 4 metro lines from the TCL brand (A, B, C, D). It connects the stations Gare de Vaise in the west to Bellecour in the center in just 8 minutes, Perrache station and Part Dieu in 20 minutes, Hôtel de Ville à Cuire in 9 minutes, the Gerland Stadium in Bellecour in 12 minutes, and Gare de Vénissieux in Bellecour in 13 minutes. The metro runs from 5am to midnight and trains come by every 5 minutes on average. The price of a single fare is 1.70 euros and is valid for 1 hour while the day pass is 5.20 euros. There are also prices for a family pass.
Thanks to the two funiculars located in the Vieux Lyon neighborhood, you can reach the Basilique de Fourvière, the landmark of the city, in just a few minutes, as well as the Saint Just neighborhood (5th arrondissement).
There are also 5 tramlines (T1, T2, T3, T4, T5) and the Rhone Express that lets you easily get the Saint Exupéry Airport in less than 30 minutes. The tram runs all year round from 4:25am to midnight. For anyone between the ages of 12 and 25, a single fare costs 13 euros while a round trip costs 23 euros. For those older than 25, the pass costs 15.70euros, for a round trip it is 27.50 euros.
The transportation network in Lyon consists of 9 lines for the TrolleyBus and around 150 lines for the city bus.
For more information, go here
TRANSPORTATION BY SEA
The Vaporetto allows you to get to the new neighborhood by the Saône, Confluence, a very modern place whose architecture is really different from that of other neighborhoods. You can climb aboard at the Saint Paul quai Bondy stop or at Bellecour at Pont Bonaparte and go to the nautical area of Confluence where you will also make your return trip. The price for a single fare is 2 euros for 20 minutes on board. It makes stops every hour and the first one is at 10:10am while the last is at 9:10pm.
Vélo’v allows you to rent bicycles for your daily trips. For short-term users, the first 30 minutes are free, the first additional half-hour is 1 euro, while the second half-hour and any after cost 2 euros. With more than 300 stations, the bike is a favored mode of transportation in Lyon.
-The Festival of Lights: Sometimes called the Festival of December 8th or the Festival of Illuminations, this event takes place every year for four days around December 8th. This event brings together millions of tourists from all around the world. Now it is one of the four largest gatherings that exists in the world. During these few days, you can see the city in a completely new light. The Basilique de Fourvière is still the most incredible monument to see during the light shows. Many activities bring the streets alive and every window shares the light of its candles. The buildings’ facades come alive with visual effects of all sorts. This is when the city becomes a real show.
- Summer: During the summer, the city puts on a completely different face. The various parks, like the Tête d’Or, the most prestigious of all, are bombarded with vacationers, but the park has plenty of space to allow you to enjoy the calm of nature. This play is overflowing with activities, offering a zoo, botanical garden, lake, and suitable water sports.
Along the banks of the Rhone, you’ll have the pleasure of taking a walk up to Lake Miribel Jonage.
The sun can also make it easier to discover different neighborhoods like Croix Rousse, the canut (silk weavers) neighborhood or Vieux Lyon considered to be a miniature Venice, this neighborhood takes you back to the Middle Ages and the Renaissance.
On the more beautiful days, you can also appreciate the various cruises that the Navig’inter company organizes each year.
- Off-Season: In September , during the off-season and especially in September, the city of Lyon offers you the privilege of attending the Biennale of Dance and Contemporary Art. Every two years these events are organized and offers you a large variety of shows and expositions.
Towards the end of the season you can also enjoy some lovely strolls through the vines and in the Beaujolais region.
Tourism Office: Located on Place Bellecour 69002, but also in Vieux Lyon, rue Adolphe Max next to the Saint Jean metro station.
Emergency number: 112 (Euro zone, 112 redirects you to numbers 15, 17, 18, 115, and 119)
Fire: dial 18
Ambulance (medical emergency): dial 15
Police: dial 17
Missing children: dial 116
The following prices are indicative. They refer to a one night stay in a standard double bedroom and may be subject to confirmation at the time of booking.
The city of Lyon offers a wide range of hotels in the city center and its surroundings.
- The 1 star hotels cost less than 50€ per night
- The 2 and 3 star hotels cost between 50 and 100€ per night
- The 4 star hotels are between 100€ and 150€ per night
- The 5 star hotels are between 150€ up to over 450€ per night
Youth Hostels :
Vieux Lyon Youth Hostel located on the new Montée du Chemin offers you the pleasure of being able to getting to all the attractions in the city in just 10 minutes.
This hostel is part of the United Federation of Youth Hostels. To reach the network of hostels, you need to pay for a membership card for 11€ that is then valid in all European hostels.
For a room with 6 beds and more, the price for a night is 19.50€ with breakfast included while a room with 4 to 6 beds, a night is 22.90€ also with breakfast.
More information: here
SLO Living Hostel is a completely new youth hostel located in the Guillotière neighborhood on rue Bonnefoi. This hostel offers a terrace, a bar, and a nice family atmosphere.
The price for a two-bed dorm is 65 euros, with access to a shared bathroom. A private double room is 77.20 euros with a private bathroom and access to shared restrooms. A night in a mixed dorm with 4-8 beds is 26.10 euros to 30.10 euros.
More information: here
The following prices are indicative, they refer to the price of one course or a menu for one.
The city of Lyon is know for its good food. The famous “bouchons” are typical restaurants where you can eat specialties like quenelles, salade lyonnaise, or cervelle de canut. It is all usually accompanied with a glass of Beaujolais or Côtes-du-Rhône. This traditional place has to be simple and inviting.
Rue Mercière and rues des Marronniers, located in the 2nd arronddissement, are the two streets where most restaurants can be found.
Inviting and very lively, you’ll be able to discover a completely different atmosphere in the city. Additionally, there are many bouchons in Vieux Lyon.
Concerning the price, there is something for all budgets. Generally, restaurants establish menus for lunch or dinner, and you choose from the different specialties.
The great chef, Paul Bocuse, has 5 restaurants in Lyon: “Le Nord”, “Le Sud”, “L’Est”, “L’Ouest”, and “L’Argenson”. These five restaurants each have their own history and identity. Also, Les Halles de Lyon - Paul Bocuse was inspired by him and brings together the best of the region in all domains: fish, baked goods, meat, cheese, etc. This place guarantees great products.
For a night out:
To be sure that you are making a good choice for your outing, the Petit Paumé guide brings together all the city’s deals.
The most frequented places at night are:
- Place des Terreaux, which is one of the centrals squares in the city with the Hôtel de Ville, Fine Art Museum (Palais Saint Pierre), and the Bartholdi Fountain. Many bars can be found along the square as well as discotheques and dance clubs like Sham’rock or the Abreuvoir.
-Along the banks of the Rhone between Pont Wilson and Pont Morand, barges are turned into bars and restaurants. These places are very popular among the citizens of Lyon. There you’ll find the beer bar, Star Ferry; the festive bar, La Passagère de Saint Malo; or the coffee bar, Loupika and plenty others.
-On the slopes of Croix Rousse, the old silk weaving neighborhood, you’ll find the famous tapas bar,Le Terrier du Lapin Blanc, with prices from 3 to 11.50€ and a diverse choice. Or there is the cocktail bar, L’envers de pentes (pint for 4.50€, half a pint for 2.50€).
The city of Lyon organizes many activities that can make your visit easier
Thanks to the day pass offered by the Open Tour bus company, you’ll be able to discover the main points of interest in the city. From Place Bellecour going to Vieux Lyon to finish by the banks of the Rhone, your trip in the double-decker bus will let you switch between the upper and lower levels for all 45 minutes of the trip. The adult pass costs 19€ for 1 day, for two days it is 22€, while the children’s pass for 1 or 2 days is 8€. You can also have a 25€ ticket (adult) 8€ (child) combining the day pass for buses and cruises.
More information : here
Lyon City Boat invites you aboard their ship for a short cruise with commentary to discover the treasures of Lyon’s heritage seen from the river. You can choose a cruise more centered around nature to take you to Ile Barbe (Saône) or the path towards the new, modern neighborhood, Confluence (Saône and Rhone). Each cruise lasts between 1 hour and 1 hour and 15 minutes. You’ll have the chance to be on deck to see the monuments outside or you can shelter yourself from gloomier weather.
It is clear that in Lyon there are must-see places like the famous Traboules in Vieux Lyon
A traboule is a path from one street to another, offering architectural treasures that will take your breath away: interior courtyards, Italian galleris, wells, and spiral staircases.
During your journey, don’t forget the Maison du Chamarier, the Loge du Change, Hôtel de Gadagne , and finish with the St. John the Baptist Cathedral with its famous astronomical clock.
Also go out and discover the painted walls. These large optical illusions let the city become the European capital of painted walls along with Berlin. One hundred frescos adorn the facades of building, pleasing all passers-by.
So go discover these works, especially “Des Lyonnais Célèbres” , “le Mur des Canuts”, and “la Bibliothèque de la Cité”.
*This travel guide was published in November 2014, prices may then vary.