Visit Lyon: Top 15 Things To Do and See in Lyon

Every year, millions of tourists come to Lyon, the third-largest city in France. Why don’t you join them? After reading this complete guide, you’ll understand why Lyon is a must-see city during your visit in the Hexagon. From the activities to the hotels, we’ll tell you everything.


15 Things To Do and See in Lyon

1) Vieux Lyon: The Basilica of Fourvière

Basilique Fourvière

Built in 1870 on the Fourvière Hill, and consecrated in 1896, the Basilica of Fourvière is the symbol of the city of Lyon.

Every year, it attracts more than 2.5 million visitors and pilgrims.

The “House of Mary” – which has architectural roots from the Romans, Goths and Byzantines – is made of two superposed churches.

If you’re wondering why the name, just look at the roof outside to see the golden statue of Mary on top of it.

Enter the building, and enjoy the marvelous decor of the lower church (also known as “the crypt”) and pay attention to the austel in particular. Then climb up to the upper church. Take your time to visit the 8 different chapels.

You shouldn’t of course miss out on admiring the stained-glass windows and mosaics you’ll find all around the basilica.

Try to find the “Treasure of Fourvière”, a big set-piece made of gold-thread embroidery, jewels, etc…

Basilique Fourvière

Many historical guests, such as Napoleon the First, donated to contribute to the growth of this iconic treasure.

Have you exited the building? Don’t leave the area quite yet.

Outside, you’ll find the basilica’s garden where you’ll walk along beautiful flowery roads.

You might meet the statue of the Christ, and a bit further the statue of Joseph, on top of a cute little pond.

Last but not least, you can also take part in a fun little activity outside of the basilica.

You’ll be able to get a white ribbon and attach it to the olive tree while making a wish.

You can buy the white ribbons for a suggested price of 2 euros. The money gathered from these donations is used to renovate the basilica and its surroundings.

Prices: Free

Opening hours:

  • Monday-Friday: 7 AM / 7 PM
  • Saturday: 7 AM / 8 PM
  • Sunday: 12:30 PM / 7 PM



2) Vieux Lyon: Roman Theaters and Traboules

Roman Theaters

Lyon - Lugdunum - Théatre Romain
Credits: Jean-Christophe BENOIST / Wikimedia Commons under Creative Commons 4.0

Cultural heritage left by the Roman empire in Lugdunum, these 2,000-year-old Roman theaters are an important historical landmark.

The first one, the Great Theater, was declared to be an “historical monument” a century ago.

Built in 15 BC by Augustus, it’s the oldest theater in all of France. Expanded in 120 AD by Hadrien, its capacity reached 10,000 seats.

You could, at the time, enjoy comedies and dramas there, usually watched by the plebeians.

The second one, the Odeon, is smaller than the former.

Its capacity is “only” 3000 seats, but it was only used for speeches, politics, poetry and music. Odeon’s regulars were from the upper class.

Prices: Free

Opening hours:

  • September-April: every day, 7 AM / 7 PM
  • April-September: every day, 7 AM / 9 PM



Traboules (of Saint-Jean)

Credits: Chris 73/ Wikimedia Commons under Creative Commons 3.0

Traboules are typical streets from Lyon and are easily recognizable by how narrow they are. They usually cross through building blocks and courtyards.

You’ll find most of them in Saint Jean – here in Vieux Lyon – and in the Croix Rousse neighborhood, which we’ll talk about later in this guide.

For now, let us dive into the Saint Jean traboules, using this interactive map which will help you not to miss anything. The explanations are unfortunately only in French; however, you’ll still be able to follow the path fairly easily.

Your journey will begin at the Place Saint Jean, take your time to go through every spot on the map to truly enjoy the beauty of the traboules – it shouldn’t take you too long to complete anyway.

Be careful not to disturb the privacy of the people living there, as this will mainly take place in residential lots.

Once you’re done, you should be facing the Saint Jean Cathedral.


3) Vieux Lyon: Saint Jean Cathedral

Cathédrale Saint Jean

The Basilica of Fourvière is not the only magnificent religious monument Vieux Lyon has to offer.

The Saint Jean Cathedral – also known as “Primatiale Saint Jean” – was built between the twelfth and fifteenth centuries, and is another architectural gem of Lyon.

This monument played an important role during huge historical events such as the wedding of King Henry the Fourth and Catherine of Medicis – a well-known figure in French history.

From the outside as well as from the inside, you’ll be able to admire the stained-glass windows and the central rosette decorating the cathedral’s facade.

As you enter, look for the astronomical clock inside the cathedral, which still uses its primitive mechanism from the sixteenth century.

Cathédrale Saint Jean

It should be able to give you the date as well as the positions of the moon, the sun and the earth. The clock is set to be precise up until the end of 2019.

After checking out the interior, visit the “Jardin archéologique” right outside of the cathedral.

You’ll find here two church remains left from the fourth century: the ruins of Saint-Etienne and Sainte-Croix.

These two used to be standing next to the primitive Saint Jean Cathedral – basically a smaller version of today’s monument located at the exact same spot.

You won’t be able to visit this one, unfortunately, as it disappeared hundreds of years ago to evolve into the beautiful cathedral you see today.

Prices: Free

Opening Hours:

  • Monday-Friday: 8:15 AM / 7:45 PM
  • Saturday: 8:15 AM / 7 PM
  • Sunday: 8 AM / 7 PM

Website (in French)


4) Vieux Lyon: Musée Miniature et Cinéma

If you’re feeling like visiting a museum, this is the one for you.

Well, not actually the one, because you’ll be visiting two of them: the Miniatures Museum and the Special Effects in Cinema Museum.

Musée Miniature et Cinéma
Credits: Micka13/ Wikimedia Commons under Creative Commons 4.0

The backstory is that the creator of these museums had two hobbies in life: cinema and miniatures. So he decided to combine them into a 2000m² exhibition.

On one hand, you’ll have the Special Effects in Cinema Museum of Lyon, famous for being the “birthplace of cinema”.

The exhibition features movies from the 60’s to nowadays, displayed in 12 different rooms.

Expect to learn more about the movie industry – especially about movie sets, masks, costumes, and special effects such as “stop motion”, for example.

On the other hand is the Miniatures Museum, where you’ll find hundreds of “hyper-realistic” miniature scenes.

Musée Miniature

They’re so realistic that your senses will constantly be fooled by these “visual mirages”.

It is a very unique museum that you need to check out for yourself to truly experience what it has to offer you.

Prices: 9.50 euros for adults / 6.50 euros for children.

Opening hours:

  • Monday-Friday: 10 AM / 6:30 PM
  • Saturday-Sunday: 10 AM / 7 PM



5) Parc de la Tête d’Or

Located up north, this gorgeous park will be your main walking spot.

Here are all the activities you should expect.


The park’s lake

Parc de la Tête d’Or
Credits: Phinou / Wikimedia Commons under Creative Commons 3.0

Let’s address the elephant in the room: the giant lake spreading across most of the park.

Not only will you be able to admire these 17 hectares of water, but you will also be able to explore it using boats.

Whether you’re on a motorboat or on a pedal boat, you’ll enjoy a relaxing atypical cruise. This should be particularly pleasing during summertime, under the sunshine.


How to visit the park?

On the topic of transportation, you could also use the small train, called the “lizard train”, which provides guided tours around the park.

Would you like a terrestrial vehicle with a little bit more freedom? The “balad’or bikes, the park’s rental bicycles, will help you go wherever you want to in no time.

If none of these suit your taste, you can of course always just take your time and enjoy a walk around the park. You could, for example, enjoy a peaceful trip in the rose garden.


Botanical Park and Zoo

Speaking of gardens, you can also visit the beautiful botanical park, one of the largest open-sky botanical museums in Europe, spread over 8 hectares.

In this gorgeous scenery, you’ll find no less than 15,000 different species.

You may also enter the greenhouses, which host more than 6,000 different species across 6 hectares of exhibition.

Suffice to say that this place is an ideal peaceful walking spot.

Parc de la Tête d’Or
Credits: Simlaurent / Wikimedia Commons under Creative Commons 3.0

If you’re more into zoos, you’ll find this one very fitting. Not only does it display a large range of species, but it also actively acts in favor of preserving some of them from extinction.

Come meet a variety of 400 different semi-free animals in an 8-hectare exhibition.

The line-up features giraffes, flamingos, zebras and a hundred tortoises from California.

If you want to see even more animals, you can also visit the “parc à daims” next to the zoo. This park is a plot of land exclusively reserved for a herd of deer living in almost natural conditions, while still being accessible to the general public.


Children’s activities

Last but not least, the park offers multiple fun activities for children, from 2 to 13 years old.

You may find a merry-go-round from the 30’s, as well as a bigger one from 1895. Both of them are guaranteed to offer a magical experience to your kids. Some swings, the all-time favorites, are also free to use nearby.

Parc de la Tête d'Or, Lyon - carousel
Credits: Elliott Brown under Creative Commons 2.0

More original, “quads with pedals” are rentable on the Place de l’Observatoire for children to (almost) freely move around with. “Mini boats”, basically water bumper cars, are also made available for your little pirates.

How about some pony-riding in the forest? Kids may go on a little adventure riding on their back, or on a barouche attached to the pony.

Lastly, there’s also a mini-karting circuit so that the children may enjoy some wacky races.

Prices: Free (to enter)

Opening hours:

  • Park: 6:30 AM / 10:30 PM every day
  • Zoo: 9 AM / 6:30 PM every day



6) Croix Rousse Neighborhood

This charismatic and historic neighborhood should be one of your top priorities when coming to Lyon.

There’s so much to see, but we will focus on a specific path which will not feature all of the notable spots – so feel free to look up any other options to enhance your experience. For example, there’s a guided tour of the neighborhood’s painted walls.


Maison Brunet

Place Rouville, 69001 Lyon

To start things off, you’ll visit a very unorthodox monument.

This normal-looking building from the nineteenth century has in fact – if you overlook the over-use of windows – a very well-thought-out architecture.

Maison Brunet
Credits: Romainbehar / Wikimedia Commons under Creative Commons 1.0

In this building, there are:

  • as many windows as days in a year (365 – which explains the building’s nickname: “the 365-windowed house”),
  • as many floors as days in a week (7),
  • as many front doors as seasons in a year (4),
  • as many apartments with a fireplace as weeks in a year (52),
  • and there’s also 2 staircases leading to 6 floors (12), which refers to the number of months in a year.

Historically, it also got involved in the Canuts popular uprising, to the point where it got nicknamed the “Forteresse du Peuple” (translated: “Fortress of the People”) in 1834.


Boulevard de la Croix Rousse

Boulevard de la Croix Rousse
Credits: Olivier Aumage/ Wikimedia Commons under Creative Commons 2.0

Boulevard de la Croix-Rousse, Lyon

Keep walking and you’ll pass by the Boulevard de la Croix Rousse, the busiest street in the neighborhood.

Here you’ll find a handful of shops and cafés; feel free again to take a break if you need one.

Otherwise, buckle up! Next destination: the Mur des Canuts.


Mur des Canuts

Mur des Canut
Credits: µµ / Wikimedia Commons under Creative Commons 2.0

Mur des Canuts, 36 Boulevard des Canuts, 69004 Lyon

This fresco is the largest in Europe.

Painted in 1987, this fresco is regularly updated to match the changes the neighborhood is going through. Both the buildings and the characters receive changes.

This is why the young dad you might see there today will in 30 years no doubt have white hair – if he has any!

The middle stairs are also another interesting part of the fresco. They give an illusion of depth, especially when seen from afar.

Look for as many details as you can, and get back on track to your next destination.


Jardin Rosa Mir

Jardin Rosa Mir, 87 Grande Rue de la Croix-Rousse, 69004 Lyon

This gorgeous 400m² secluded garden, created between 1957 and 1983, is an unusual spot that is guaranteed to impress you.

This garden is discreetly located in a courtyard. “Inside” will await you a tasteful selection of plants, flowers and shells that have been carefully assembled together.

It was a herculean task that took 25 years to accomplish – no wonder why!

Jardin Rosa Mir
Credits: Medium69 / Wikimedia Commons under Creative Commons 2.0

Because of the limited amount of space, only 15 visitors are allowed at the same time in this free access visit, so try not to come during rush hours.

When you’re done, before leaving the area turn around to the next spot right next to you.


La Croix Rousse

Place Joannès Ambre, 69004 Lyon

Here you’ll see the famous Croix Rousse, the monument that later gave the neighborhood its name.

Well to be honest, it’s actually one of the many red crosses that have existed.

Indeed, since the sixteenth century, many crosses have been successively created and destroyed throughout history. This one was actually crafted during the twentieth century.

Its name comes from the yellowish color of the material it’s made of, which used to be named “pierre rousse” (translated: red stone).


Place Bellevue

Place Bellevue, Lyon

A few steps from the spot right after this one is located a very pretty and retro-inspired square with an even better view. Take your time to enjoy the said view while resting – you should have walked quite a bit by now after all!

From this spot, you’ll see the whole eastern side of the city.

From the Rhône to the Parc de la Tête d’Or, you’ll see every last bit of this incredible scenery – especially the Part-Dieu towers overlooking the rest of the buildings.

As soon as you’re ready, reach the next point.


Gros Caillou

Le Gros Caillou, Boulevard de la Croix-Rousse, 69004 Lyon

This dull-looking grey stone is in fact one of the neighborhood’s main symbols.

This indestructible giant rock, discovered back in the nineteenth century during the creation of a tunnel between the Croix Rousse and the Presqu’île, symbolizes the annexation of the Croix Rousse to the rest of the city. It also stands for Lyonese values such as strength and resilience.

This rock is rumored to be hundreds of thousands of years old, or even maybe a million years old.

The monument also has its own mythical origin story, created by the Canuts.

Gros Caillou
Credits: Xavier Caré / Wikimedia Commons under Creative Commons 4.0

The myth is the story of a stone heart bailiff who evicted a poor Canuts family.

In punishment, the man was forced by God himself to push his stone heart through the entire city. Every step he made, the stone got bigger – which made the next step harder, and so on.

After pushing for a while, he ended up collapsing at the Croix Rousse neighborhood, right where his sisyphean journey began.

The location itself is also worth noting, and you’ll be able to enjoy a nice view similar to the one in Place Bellevue.


Traboules de la Croix Rousse

Now that you’ve arrived at the Gros Cailloux, you’re ready to finish your adventure by a quick expedition through the local traboules.

By following this roadmap, you’ll get to enjoy the unique magical atmosphere these narrow streets radiate. Again – don’t forget to respect the local people’s privacy.

As soon as you get out of the traboules, you’re done! To congratulate yourself, you could go to a local restaurant near you.


7) The Fresque des Lyonnais

La Fresque des Lyonnais
Credits: Chabe01 / Wikimedia Commons under Creative Commons 4.0

Let’s now talk about one of the city’s most iconic spots: the Fresque des Lyonnais.

Inspired by the fresco made in Barcelona, this authentic trompe-l’oeil located in the 1st arrondissement puts the spotlight on 30 different historical characters that made Lyon the city it is today.

Meet Saint Exupéry, Edouard Herriot, Paul Bocuse, the Lumière Brothers and many others posing on their respective balconies.

Try to identify as many characters as you can using the clues left by the artists.

Lyon is well-known for its numerous painted walls, but if you’re looking for the most famous one, this one should take the cake.


8) The Place des Terreaux

Here, you’ll be stepping on a historical square.

Indeed, this square marks the border between the Croix Rousse and the Presqu’île – which used to be 2 different cities.

When there’s a famous square, there’s usually also a magnificent fountain. The Place des Terreaux is no exception to this pattern.

The Bartholdi fountain was conceived, near the end of the nineteenth century, to be placed in Bordeaux. It finally landed, decades after, in front of the Hotel de Ville de Lyon, on this iconic square.

Because of this, the fountain actually represents the Garonne and its tributaries, not the Rhône.

La Place des Terreaux
Credits: Gonedelyon / Wikimedia Commons under Creative Commons 3.0

Fun fact: during renovations in 1993, when the fountain was to be moved a few meters, the “Trésor des Terreaux” was discovered buried under the fountain. The treasure is an urn containing 543 gold and silver coins dating back to the Hundred Years’ War!

You can find it in the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Lyon.

You can also see around the square:

  • The Massif des Terreaux, a building from the nineteenth century, holding the Galerie des Terreaux – which unfortunately is rarely used nowadays.
  • The Palais Saint-Pierre, a beautiful building with a very large facade, and where you’ll find the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Lyon we just talked about.
  • The Hotel de Ville de Lyon, an enormous building from the seventeenth century, renovated in the nineteenth century and located between the Place des Terreaux and the Place de l’Opéra.

In the nearby streets, you’ll also find a bunch of restaurants and cafés you can stop at.

You can also do a bit of shopping in the local stores.


9) The Place Bellecour

On the subject of squares, here are some more of them.

Before we start, the Place Bellecour is nearby other squares such as the Place des Jacobins (and its marvelous fountain) and the Place des Célestins (a pleasant square right in front of the Théâtre des Célestins) – you might want to check them out as well.

If you want a shopping destination, this is the place for you. These 3 squares, and the streets connecting them, are filled with a great variety of shops.

You can also rest your legs by sitting at one of the terraces to enjoy a cold drink or a big cup of delicious ice cream.

Hands down the most important square in the whole city, the Place Bellecour is one of the 4 biggest squares in France.

La Place Bellecour
Credits: Christophe.Finot / Wikimedia Commons under Creative Commons 2.5

At the center, you’ll find a statue of King Louis the Fourteenth on his horse, accompanied by the allegories of the Saône and the Rhône.

The square has lived through plenty of historical events, and had evolved throughout history since antiquity, and has changed names a total of 5 times.

But more than anything else, this is a square full of life where the Lyonese gather up spontaneously; as they did, for example, after the victories at the football World Cups of 1998 and 2018, but also to commemorate Michael Jackson’s death when they heard the news. This is also where the protests – a French specialty – usually end up happening in Lyon.


10) Take a walk along the Saône

The Saône is one of the two rivers going through Lyon, with the other being the Rhône.

The side of the river was altered by the city council to offer an entertaining aspect to this beautiful walking path that is tens of kilometers long.

You could refer to this official guide, however, it is more than a cultural spot; the Saône should be an excuse for you to wander mindlessly.

bord de la Saône

The best way to enjoy your time there is to just walk along the river to your heart’s content.

Follow the path and discover for yourself the multiple open-air exhibitions – while enjoying the nice weather.

You’ll also find barges converted into charming restaurants and cafés where you can either rest for a bit or enjoy a meal while being gently swayed by the river’s light waves.

You should also try to come by at sunset to admire the mesmerizing color palette reflecting on the river – a must-do for any romantic trip to Lyon!


11) Barbe Island

A more atypical excursion this time around, at the Barbe Island, located in the middle of the Saône.

Be careful, this is not fully a tourist area. Because people are living there, the private area – where you’ll mainly find the interesting spots – has opening hours that you should respect if you ever want to visit it.

As soon as you arrive on the island, the visit begins. The bridge you have to use to get across was built in 1827, and is the oldest standing bridge in the whole city.

The Barbe Island is a real-life mythical place where druids and priests used to get together, especially at the abbey built in the fifth century. This abbey is the oldest standing religious building in Lyon and one of the oldest in the entirety of Gaule.

Ile Barbe
Credits: Alexmar983 / Wikimedia Commons under Creative Commons 3.0

More than a cultural journey, you’ll go on a refreshing trip inside of this small piece of paradise located in the heart of the third-largest city in France.

Before leaving, make sure to check out the belvédère made by Jean-Michel Othoniel on top of the Saône and right next to the island’s bridge. This work of art was made out of colored giant pearls.

Prices: Free

Free access, except for the private area which is open:

  • Monday: 6 AM / 6 PM
  • Tuesday-Friday: 6 AM / 8 PM
  • Saturday: Closed
  • Sunday: 6 AM / 1 PM


12) Confluences museum and neighborhood

South of the Lyonese Presqu’île you’ll find the Confluences neighborhood.

What should you do, and what should you see?

Your eyes will naturally alight upon the Confluences Museum and its unique modern architecture.

Musée des Confluences

Inside, you’ll of course find permanent exhibitions. There are 4 of them, and here is a quick overview:

  • Origins – Stories of the World: where you’ll wonder how the world originated, from the Big Bang to Pre-history.
  • Species – The Web of Life: where you’ll learn about the relationships between humanity and other animals.
  • Societies – Human Theater: an exhibition on the different human societies.
  • Eternities – Visions of the Beyond: where you’ll wonder about the afterlife and learn more about the way that humanity has perceived death throughout history.

In contrast to the Museums of Miniature and Cinéma, there are also temporary exhibitions, as well a varied set of conferences.

If you’re interested, don’t hesitate to check what exhibitions will be on during your stay in Lyon.

Prices: 9 euros for adults, free for children and students (<26 years old)

Opening hours:

  • Monday: Closed
  • Tuesday-Friday: 11 AM / 7 PM (except on Thursdays, when evening exhibitions take place until 10 PM)
  • Saturday-Sunday: 10 AM / 7 PM



13) The Festival of Lights

If you plan on visiting Lyon in early December, congratulations! You’ll have the chance to witness one of the most ancient and traditional celebrations in the city – the Festival of Lights.

Since 1852, on every 8th of December, the Lyonese light a “lumignon” (like a candle) on their balconies before going out in the streets to admire the lights in the evening.

However since its inception, this celebration has evolved in many ways; it now lasts 4 days and involves light-themed shows all around the Vieux Lyon and the Presqu’île, some of them using the nearby buildings to their advantage – even the monuments!

fête des Lumières
Credits: Jilibi / Wikimedia Commons under Creative Commons 3.0

For example, during the Festival of Lights, you’ll witness the 30 characters from the Fresque des Lyonnais become animated during a show dedicated to the painted wall.

Would you like to take part in this unique event, while also contributing to a great cause? At the Place Sathonay, you can buy a lumignon for 2 euros, and then put it down yourself on the floor. All the lumignons are then assembled to create a unique design.

All the profits go to a charity. In 2018, all the donations were donated to Docteur Clown, a French charity that pays clowns to visit sick children in hospitals to put a smile back on their faces.

The Festival of Lights is also a good occasion for you to save money! During the event, the city offers deals on public transport so that people give up their cars for the 4 days – don’t hesitate to use this to your advantage.

Opening hours: 8 PM/ 12AM

Dates: From the 5th to the 8th of December.



14) Eat in a “bouchon lyonnais”

Traditional “cafeterias” for the local workers, the bouchons lyonnais are still today a major act of French cuisine that you shouldn’t miss if you come to Lyon. Come into one of these two reputed bouchons to know what the real Lyon tastes like!


Bouchon Tupin

30 Rue Tupin, 69002 Lyon France

Welcome to the Internet’s favorite restaurant in Lyon! This fairly new restaurant currently holds the top spot on TripAdvisor.

Led by a dynamic young staff, this restaurant has built itself a stellar reputation in a matter of a few years.

As the name indicates, here you’re in a bouchon lyonnais that offers traditional cuisine in a retro decor.

Enjoy some of the best local delicacies, such as the oeufs en meurette, the quenelles de brochets or the pluma de cochon.

To complement your dish, you can also get a bottle from their excellent wine selection.

The waiting staff is also impeccable: they are fast, efficient and cheerful.

Basically, them getting the number one spot was not a fluke.

Prices: Count on around 20 euros to get a dish and a dessert.

Opening hours:

  • Tuesday-Saturday: 12 PM / 2 PM and then 7:30 PM / 10:30 PM
  • Sunday-Monday: Closed

Tripadvisor’s rating: 5/5

Google’s rating: 4.8/5

Lafourchette’s rating: 9.4/10

Website (in French), Facebook page.


Café du Nain

5 rue Montesquieu, 69007 Lyon France

This old and critically acclaimed bouchon has changed owners in the last few years; however, it did not lose its soul!

You’ll be welcomed with a good, traditional cuisine made with fresh produce – everything you should expect from a good bouchon.

You’ll feel right at home while enjoying your delicious dish. We recommend that you try the andouillette, perhaps their most well-received dish.

By the way, this restaurant is located in a more secluded neighborhood, away from the more ‘touristy’ ones. By going here for your meal, you’ll get an authentic experience of Lyon’s gastronomy and what it has to offer you.

Prices: Count on around 20 euros for a menu.

Opening hours:

  • Monday-Friday: 9 AM / 2:30 PM and then 7 PM / 10 PM
  • Saturday-Sunday: Closed

Tripadvisor’s rating: 4.5/5

Google’s rating: 4.5/5

Lafourchette’s rating: 9.3/10

Facebook page


Mr Edgar

4 B rue de Belfort, 69004 Lyon, France

You might have had enough of the bouchon lyonnais already.

You deserve some gastronomical diversity from time to time! How about some less traditional cuisine?

At Mr Edgar’s, you’ll experience a more original and inventive cuisine that, as opposed to the very traditional bouchons, will try and reinvent the local classics while still using fresh produce.

The warm welcome of the waiting staff will put you in great frame of mind to enjoy your meal. Not as much as the beautiful setting though – you might even have the chance to eat under the sunshine, thanks to the veranda.

Prices: The lunch menu (starters, main course, dessert) costs 17 euros.

Opening hours:

  • Tuesday-Saturday: 12 PM / 1:30 PM and then 7:30 PM / 9:30 PM
  • Sunday-Monday: Closed

Tripadvisor’s rating: 4.5/5

Google’s rating: 4.5/5

Lafourchette’s rating: 9/10

Website (in French), Facebook page.


15) The Halles de Lyon Paul Bocuse

Now that we’ve closed these gastronomic parentheses, it’s time we open them back again! After all, you’re in a major French city, what did you expect?

Welcome to the Halles de Lyon Paul Bocuse, named after the famous Lyonese chef.

Here will await you around 50 different stores, each one selling quality products representing the best of Lyon’s gastronomy – at a price just a bit above average.

To visit, you’ve got two choices:

Halles de Lyon Paul Bocuse
Credits: Arnaud 25 / Wikimedia Commons under Creative Commons 4.0

First, you can choose to follow a 2-hour food tour.

During the tour, you’ll be able to taste a great variety of the product for the price of 60 euros; the price includes both the tour and the cost of what you’re going to eat.

This way, you can taste a bit of everything without the fear of suddenly going overboard by eating too much – and of course, paying too much!

Or, if you want to do it by yourself, nobody will stop you. Feel free to investigate the way a kid would in a toy shop!

You can also stop here for lunch if you want to.

Opening hours:

  • The Halles :
    • Monday: Closed
    • Tuesday-Saturday: 7 AM / 10:30 PM
    • Sunday (and public holidays): 7 AM / 1 PM
  • The stores (this is the general schedule, and it may vary for each store):
    • Monday: Closed
    • Tuesday-Saturday : 7 AM/ 7:30 PM
    • Sunday (and public holidays): Closed
  • The restaurants:
    • Monday: Closed
    • Tuesday-Saturday: Close at 10:30 PM
    • Sunday (and public holidays): Close at 4:30 PM

Website (in French)



What To Do Around Lyon?

Beaujolais Vineyards

150 Aux Vergers, 69430 Lantignié

The Beaujolais wines are one of the most famous wines in France, and their vineyards happen to be located right at Lyon’s door; it would be a shame not to pay them a visit!

There are a bunch of them both north and south of the city. There is also a surprisingly high variety of guided tours on the subject.

Some of them even start in Lyon, which is very useful for tourists that came without a car.

We’ve selected one for you in particular : Frédéric Berne’s wine tour at Lantignie – which is one hour away from Lyon by car.

Vignobles Beaujolais
Credits: Alainauzas / Wikimedia Commons

You’ll get to choose between 3 types of tours:

  • A 30-minute wine tasting, during which you’ll enjoy a guided wine-tasting of local products.
  • A 60-minute tour and tasting, during which you’ll learn more about the wine-making process and the lifestyle of an oenologist, while tasting some of the wine.
  • A 2-hour tour and tasting through the vineyard, during which you’ll get to walk through the whole domain of 9 hectares, while learning more about the wine-growing methods and again the wine-making process as a whole (while tasting some of the wine, of course!).

As you can already see, all of the tours have a terrific price-to-quality ratio. They’re all conducted by a passionate and fascinating oenologist. If you have some time to explore Lyon’s surroundings, do not hesitate to take a turn to this vineyard.

Of course, if you like their wine you can buy some of it, which costs from 8 to 15 euros a bottle – depending on the one you’re interested in.

If you’re interested, you should book online.

Prices: Free, 8 euros or 15 euros (depending on the tour you’ve chosen), and from 8 to 15 euros for a bottle of wine.


Pérouges Village (40 km away)

Pérouges is a typical medieval village located 40 kilometers away from Lyon.

You’ll be able to walk along its lovely flowery streets while admiring the old buildings.

In addition to the square and the streets, you’ll have to visit the “porte d’en haut” and the “porte d’en bas” which are the gates remaining from the walls of the ancient fortress.

Village de Pérouges
Credits: Arnaud 25 / Wikimedia Commons

Fun fact: the fortress only got besieged once – back in 1468 – (by the Dauphinois under the King’s banner) and actually emerged victorious!

The visit’s main course: the fortified church that you may find near the “porte d’en haut”, built during the fifteenth century.

After you’re done, if you feel hungry, choose one of the very good restaurants the village has to offer.



Visit other large cities near Lyon

One of Lyon’s most underrated advantages is how relatively near it is to other big French cities.

You could in fact visit Lyon in a few days and then decide to dedicate a single day of visit to Grenoble – which is only an hour away – and without changing hotels! If you don’t know this city, it is reputed for its very gorgeous landscape.

You could also choose to go to Saint-Etienne – again just an hour away from Lyon.


How Much Time Do You Need to Visit Lyon?

The answer to this eternal question lies between you and your calendar. But if you want some advice – between you and us – visiting in a single day would be doable, but it will feel a bit too short. Ideally, you’d want to stay for 2 or 3 days.

Whatever your decision might be, we’ve prepared programs for you to follow in order to see as much as you can in the limited amount of time you’ve chosen.


Visit Lyon in 1 day

For this very busy first – and maybe last – day, wake up early in the morning and head to the Vieux Lyon. It shouldn’t be far away from your hotel if you’re well located.

As soon as you arrive in this iconic neighborhood, start with the Basilica of Fourvière and its surroundings.

Before getting down the hill, don’t forget to visit the Roman theaters.

When you get back down, start by visiting the Cathedral Saint Jean. Then, go through the traboules using the map to truly experience the Vieux Lyon.

If you have time, and if you’re interested, you may also go to the Musée Cinéma et Miniature before feeling consumed by your own hunger.

Now that you’re fully ready, you need to go to a bouchon lyonnais. Try finding one either by the Saône or in the Presqu’île – this is where you’ll be going afterward anyway.

During the afternoon, start with the Place Bellecour, and work your way up while going to the Place des Célestins, then to Place des Jacobins and finally the Place des Terreaux. Don’t hesitate to do a bit of shopping, or stop by a terrace to take a break.

Then, head to the Fresque des Lyonnais, and start your evening with a pleasant walk along the Saône. You’re free to decide whatever you want to do during the rest of your evening.


Visit Lyon in 2 days

This second day will help you finish visiting the must-see spots of the city.

First target: the Croix Rousse neighborhood. Follow the path we presented to you to enjoy it to its fullest extent.

When you’re done visiting it, make sure to complete your experience by going to one of the local restaurants, whether it is a bouchon or a more atypical one like Mr Edgar.

Now that you feel rested, go to the Parc de la Tête d’Or to enjoy its relaxing ambiance for the whole afternoon – there’s so much you can do there after all!

Lastly, if you don’t have anything planned for the night, make sure to check out the Festival of Lights if you’re in Lyon during early December.


Visit Lyon in 3 days

If you want to stay here a third day, you should use it to explore Lyon’s surroundings.

Spend the morning at a Beaujolais vineyard that you’ll find either north or south of the city.

Go there using a car, or try to find a guided tour that starts in Lyon if you don’t have one.

If you do, go to the Pérouges Village afterward and enjoy a nice traditional meal there and then explore this very peaceful and gorgeous town.

If you still don’t, then you can go on a gastronomic adventure of your own at the Halles de Lyon Paul Bocuse.

As you get back for the evening, decide whatever you want to do.


Hotels in Lyon: Our Recommendations

Convinced by Lyon and its undeniable charm? Then you’ll need a good hotel to stay at. We can help you find one that suits your needs and tastes. Here’s a little selection for you to choose from.

Every one of these hotels is up to today’s standards: the rooms have good wifi as well as a private bathroom.


Hotel Tête d’Or **

Hôtel Tête d’Or
62, rue Garibaldi, 69006 Lyon France

You probably guessed it by the name – this hotel located near the Parc de la Tête d’Or will give you an easy access to the park’s accommodations.

The neighborhood is lively, so you’ll easily find nearby shops and restaurants.

You’ll be a quick 10-minute walk away from the Presqu’île.

You’ll have the chance to spend the night in a nicely decorated and comfortable bedroom. Don’t hold us responsible if you can’t seem to leave the warm embrace of your bed in the morning.

If you finally get up, a copious breakfast buffet made of fresh produce will await you after a relaxing hot bath.

A cozy communal room equipped with large full bookshelves will also be at your disposal whenever you get tired of the flat-screen TV in your room.

Prices: starting at 61 euros a night.

TripAdvisor’s rating: 4/5

More information and reservations.


Hotel du Théatre **

Hotel du Théatre
10 rue de Savoie, 69002 Lyon France

Located two steps away from the Place Bellecour, in the Presqu’île, and from the Vieux Lyon, this hotel’s price-to-quality ratio is unmatched in this area.

Some of the rooms also give a very nice view of the Place des Célestins, which is also nearby.

Speaking of which, the rooms will provide all the necessities for you to get some rest in a simple yet nice framework.

After a pleasant shower, turn off the flat-screen TV, eat up the copious breakfast and go explore the third-largest city in France.

Prices: starting at 68 euros a night.

TripAdvisor’s rating: 4/5

More information and reservations.


Mercure Lyon Centre Château Perrache ****

Mercure Lyon Centre Château Perrache
12 Cours Verdun Rambaud, Esplanade De La Gare, 69002 Lyon France

This hotel, located in the Confluences neighborhood, follows its main trend – modern art.

The interior decoration as a whole follows the Art Nouveau style, giving the hotel a fresh and original look.

Your cozy-chic room will provide anything you need and even more. Would you maybe like a Bluetooth Hi-Fi system or a flat-screen TV that broadcasts international channels? Both are included.

If you choose to book a “privilege room”, you’ll also get free coffee, soft drinks and a bathrobe.

A generous breakfast will be waiting for you in the morning – or would you rather enjoy it in bed?

Lastly, both a restaurant with a terrace and a lounge bar will be available throughout the day and evening.

Prices: starting at 84 euros a night

TripAdvisor’s rating: 4/5

More information and reservations.


Grand Hotel des Terreaux ****

Grand Hotel des Terreaux
16 rue Lanterne, 69001 Lyon France

This luxury hotel is perfectly located midway between the Place des Terreaux and the Vieux Lyon.

The indoor pool is a very welcome surprise which will help you cool off during the summertime – especially after a long day of walking around.

Not feeling refreshed yet? The hotel’s bar might do the trick.

Every room is individually decorated. Choose the color palette you prefer from an impressive set of choices. No need to worry about liking your room decor, you’re basically the one picking it!

Not only will you spend a good night, but you’ll also gently wake up by taking a hot bath and enjoying a delicious breakfast delivered to your room.

Prices: starting at 110 euros a night.

TripAdvisor’s rating: 4.5/5

More information and reservations.


Mercure Lyon Centre Beaux Arts ****

Mercure Lyon Centre Beaux Arts
73-75 Rue du Président Edouard Herriot, 69002 Lyon France

Ideally located in the center of Lyon, this elegant hotel from the nineteenth century will warmly welcome you during your stay.

The location is indeed strategic: south you’ll find the Place Bellecour, west there’s the Vieux Lyon and to the north is the Place des Terreaux. The Place des Jacobins and the Place des Célestins are also both nearby.

The Art Deco style bedrooms are fully furnished. You’ll find everything: wifi, flat-screen TV and – the cherry on the top – air conditioning.

Is it too hard to get out of your comfy bed? Don’t worry, you can get your breakfast delivered right to your door.

Now that you’ve finally woken up, your Italian shower will be waiting for you – unless you’d rather have a bath.

If you don’t have the time to take it slow, you can still get your breakfast downstairs. And if you really have to leave as fast as possible, go get the express breakfast at the bar.

Prices: starting at 119 euros a night.

TripAdvisor’s rating: 4.5/5

More information and reservations.