Cheap flights to Lyon
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.
Le Mur de Lyon claims to be the largest indoor climbing wall in France, and caters for everyone from beginners to experts. An ideal way to get moving when it's cold outside, go along and have a go (11 Rue Lortet, lemurdelyon.com).
The Musee des Beaux-Arts in Place des Terreaux is stuffed with paintings, coins, furniture, clothes, and sculptures plus special exhibitions. It could take all day to see it all. mba-lyon.fr/mba
The Festival of Lights (La Fete des Lumiere), on 5-8 December, is an astounding free light show mainly consisting of images projected onto buildings. Stroll around the sights while sipping hot wine. fetedeslumieres.lyon.fr
The calm month of July offers the perfect opportunity to go off the beaten track and head into the quieter quarters such as the Croix Rousse (4th), which is perched on the hill overlooking the city and its two rivers. It's also the month for witnessing the firework display on 14 July to mark Bastille day, commemorating the anti-monarchy revolution of 1789. Military marches take place at 11am in and around the impressive Place Lyautey.
The Musee de Miniature et Cinema in Vieux Lyon is fascinating; full of models from famous movies and insights into special effects. It takes at least three hours to see it all and kids (both old and young) love it (Maison des Avocats, 60 Rue Saint Jean, museeminiatureetcinema.fr).
Portishead, Elton John, Goldfrapp, Damon Albarn, Franz Ferdinand and Bobby Womack are just some of the big names headlining at Nuits De Fourviere, one of France's best-known summer festivals, which runs throughout the month at the Roman ruins on the hillside of Fourviere. nuitsdefourviere.com
Head to Saxe-Gambetta (3rd) and discover the discount clothing stores and other bargain-filled outlets that line the streets off Avenue Marechal de Saxe. Foodies should keep their eyes and nostrils open for speciality food shops from around the globe. Stop off for lunch at Lyon's neighbouring Chinatown, before strolling or cycling back into town alongside the Rhône.
Head to Miribel Park (a 20-minute cycle or bus ride from the centre), where you can enjoy the tranquillity of the lake with a picnic or try one of the many sports and games on offer (grand-parc.fr). On the way there or back head to Cité Contemporain (81 Quai Charles de Gaulle) alongside the stunning Parc de la Tête D'Or (lyon.fr), which makes a great stop for lunch or dinner with its terraced restaurants and attractions, including a casino and cinema.
Hop on a train to Tain L'Hermitage home of Valrhona chocolate. The recently opened museum offers visitors a chance to learn all about and taste the wonderful stuff. Wine lovers can find plenty of cellars, including the Chapoutier shop, just near the train station. Take some walking shoes and head over the Tournon footbridge to visit the 15th-century chateau or mooch around the tiny nearby shopping streets. Take a well-earned pit stop on the Quai Farconnet, where you'll find plenty of little eateries overlooking the Rhone.