France’s third city is a bustle of boutiques, bistros, hidden passageways, riverside walks and historic architectural masterpieces. There is a lot to do both in the city and the surrounding countryside but here is a short list of things you have to do in Lyon!
Things to do in Lyon France
Lyon is France’s gastronomic capital and you could spend your whole trip just going from romantic bistros to gourmet restaurants and sidewalk cafes.
Many of the “must-eat” dishes can be sampled in the many “Bouchon”, intimate restaurants which serve traditional Lyonnais cuisine in multi-course meals.
Try the offal (tripe, bone marrow and pork offal sausages), fish dumplings and chicken liver cake. Café de la Cloche is a good choice for trying the Lyon café culture and chocoholics can enjoy the Chokola chocolate-only shop! Wash down your meal with some of the local wine like Brouilly.
2. Vieux-Lyon (Old Lyon)
Wander through the meandering pedestrian cobbled streets, take in the historic buildings, stores, craftsmen shops and sidewalk cafes.
You can see Renaissance and Medieval architecture and this is one of Europe’s largest concentrations of Renaissance architecture.
The buildings which have struggled to survive have been lovingly restored and renewed. Within Old Lyon is the Musee des Beaux-Arts de Lyon and St. Jean cathedral.
These are tunnel-like passage ways which wend their way between and even through houses. The majority of traboules are found here in Lyon.
You may just follow a traboules which opens up to a secret garden or courtyard. It is believed that the French resistance used these passages during the Second World War to hid from the Germans.
4. Saint John Cathedral
Although there is also the hill top Notre Dame de Fourviere Basillica, this one, the cathedral St. Jean is a 15th century masterpiece and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The Roman Catholic cathedral was built on the site of earlier churches and parts of the earlier structures dating back to the 6th century still remain.
The cathedral’s most stunning feature is the astrological clock, a 13th century addition.The church also has stunning stained glass windows and a beautiful rose window.
5. Parc de la Tete d’or (Golden Head Park)
This is one of Europe’s largest parks covering 290 acres, here you can enjoy the wide open green spaces, a small zoo, botanical gardens, rose gardens, a velodrome, greenhouses, a large lake, mini-golf, miniature train, sports grounds and a statue commemorating the 22nd G7 conference of 1996.
Enter through the ornate 1901 wrought iron Porte des enfants du Rhone. The park is one of only a handful of parks in Lyon and is very popular. Come here to picnic, play or enjoy the attractions.