Although Lyon is often overlooked when Paris is nearby, there are actually a lot of things to do. As one of the most historical cities in France, Lyon is a wonderful destination with many UNESCO World Heritage Sites. This guide will help give you a brief overview of a city less traveled.
Discover the History of Lyon
When a city is over 2,000 years old, just wandering the streets is an interesting thing to do. Founded by the Romans and declared a UNESCO site, visitors can experience the historic past through Roman ruins and Renaissance palaces. Popular sites include Basilique Notre Dame de Fourviere, Saint Jean Cathedral, the Traboules of Vieux Lyon, Rue Saint Jean and Saint Jean archaeological garden.
Visit a Museum in the City
Lyon’s museums are worth a visit if you’re interested in learning about the unique history and culture of such an ancient city. Popular museums include Musées Gadagne, Musée urbain Tony Garnier, Musée d’Art contemporain and Musee Miniature et Cinema. If you plan on visiting multiple museums, consider buying a Lyon City Card, which includes unlimited rides on public transportation, free or discounted entry fees to major museums, and one guided tour per person per day. A one-day pass will cost approximately $25 with multi-day passes starting at $38.
Explore Locals Parks
One of the most popular things to do for locals and tourists alike is a visit to Tête d’Or park, which is great for a day of relaxation and fresh air. Boasting a botanical garden, lake, rose garden, large greenhouses, and a zoo, the park is a wonderful place to experience Lyon like a local. Other popular parks include Parc de Gerland, Rhône banks and Parc des Hauteurs.
See an Exciting Show
With the world-famous Lyon National Opera nearby, the city is a great place to see a show. There are many other popular stages as well including Maison de la Auditorium, which is known for dance, and the Théâtre des Célestins, which is known for drama.
Witness the Spectacular Festival of Lights
The most memorable event in Lyon and one of the most spectacular in Europe is the Festival of Lights, which attracts over four million people from all over the world. Though the tradition of citizens illuminating their windows with candles lives on, the festival also attracts light shows from professional artists with the largest show being featured at Place des Terreaux.
Eat, Drink, and Be Merry
Lyon is known as a world-class gastronomic city that boasts over 14 Michelin-starred restaurants along with many local favorites as well. You’ll find mouth-watering food throughout the city from budget eateries to fine dining. Typical local dishes include salade lyonnaise, quenelle de brochet and saucisson chaud, to name a few.
Whether you’re coming to Lyon for business or for pleasure, there are plenty of things to do in the city. After finding a cheap hotel in Lyon, get a spectacular view of the city by visiting Fourviere Hill and then enjoy the free sites that Lyon has to offer.