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Turn your city break into a microadventure 

Lyon:  Cross-country hiking from Lyon to Grenoble

Journeys often lead to adventures. Having a reason to hike from one place to another adds purpose to a journey and leads you to places you have never seen before, and meetings with interesting, interested local people. So consider booking a flight out to Lyon and your return flight two days later from Grenoble. 

Hike cross country from one airport to the other and see what you discover on the way. With planning, or a high level of adventure, you could do most of this hike off-road. But even if you stick to small roads (D-roads) then you'll be in quiet, wooded farmland most of the time. There are plenty of gentle rivers and secluded lakes to swim in along the way. That, plus a diet of bread and cheese, sounds perfect to me! The idea of this little adventure is for you to use your imagination and curiosity to plan your route. There is no official route here - I just made it up because it sounded fun to me! If you'd like to plan more carefully I recommend buying a detailed road atlas of France and plot your route. Tear out only the pages you require to save some space in your pack. 

Level of Difficulty: Hard (you need to be sure you are able to walk 60km and not get lost. Otherwise you'll miss your flight home!).  

What to pack: Warm clothes (check the weather forecast!), woolly hat, headtorch, raingear, sleeping bag, mat and bivvy bag. 

Best time to go: late spring.


Lyon really does represent the best things about France; arguably the finest cuisine in the world, beautiful classical French architecture, pavement cafes, perfectly manicured parks and even a World Heritage listed old town.  Paris might have the romance, Nice the beach, but Lyon has the food.  If you’re after a good meal, then look no further than France’s third-largest city. The gastronomy capital of the world, Michelin starred eateries, cafes and bistros abound. Not to mention, the city’s own traditional restaurants, known as bouchons offer up a healthy serving of hearty Lyonnaise cuisine such as coq au vin, all washed down with a glass of red – well this is Beaujolais country after all. You’ll find markets galore selling everything. 

This World Heritage listed old town is a delight of Renaissance gems, Gothic cathedrals and medieval churches, with many of the buildings doubling up as boutique hotels and restaurants. And as France’s third-largest city, you can expect the usual assortment of museums and cultural diversions.  This cosmopolitan city has a mix of everything from traditional pubs, wine bars, jazz cafes and even the odd riverboat-cum-nightclub or two, bobbing about on the River Rhone.  



Tout le Monde Dehors is a programme of free outdoor events running from June till September. Choose from dances, concerts, circus, cinema, sport, drawing, yoga etc and just turn up! tlmd.lyon.fr


Take metro C to Henon, and then walk two minutes to Boulevard des Canuts, to Lyon's latest frescp, Le Mur des Canuts. It's absolutely massive and well worth a selfie. Later, stroll to Croix Rousse market (Tuesday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday mornings).

Key Areas

The Museum of the Resistance (Centre d'Histoire de la Résistance et de la Déportation) is a sobering but excellent reminder of the role Lyon played during WWII as the embarkation point for deported Jews and the heroism of those who resisted. www.chrd.lyon.fr/

The Musee Lumiere, in the fabulous house built by the Lumiere Brothers, tells the story of cinema from historic beginnings to today. It takes around three hours to explore, then invites you to settle in for a classic film showing. For more information visit institut-lumiere.org.

La Fête des Lumières (5 to 8 December) began as a celebration of the Virgin Mary and is now a massive lightshow taking over the entire city. Buy some hot wine, get a free map and wander from one breathtaking display to another. (fetedeslumieres.lyon.fr).

Day Trips

Annecy, 1 hour 30 minutes by car from Lyon, is a stunning min-Venice complete with canals, tiny bridges, 12th century buildings and a crowd of bars and restaurants. The lake offers swimming, boating, pedalos, cycling, sun-bathing and pleasure cruises.

Annecy, an hour and a half by car from Lyon, is magical at Christmas. The market stalls twinkle with fairy lights, the lake is stunning when it snows, the 12th century canals reflect the Christmas decorations, and there's even a skating rink. (tourisme-annecy.net).

When it's sweaty-hot in Lyon, spend the day at the Grand Parc Miribel Jonage, picnicking and lounging in the shade, swimming in the lake, and drinking cold beer from your ice-box. Cycle there or get the No.83 bus. grand-parc.fr

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*Prices shown are per person based on two people flying on the same booking. Fees & charges may apply. Min 4 seats available per flight, one way inc. taxes.