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.
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
Over the bank holiday weekend of 13-17 May, the Nuits Sonores festival takes over venues all over Lyon. Electro and indie-rock fans will stay up till dawn, and then do it all over again the next day. nuits-sonores.com
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
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).
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
On 15-20 June, Annecy (just over an hour from Lyon by car) hosts the International Animation Film Festival, including free screenings on the lakeside. Take your own picnic and don't forget your swimsuit. annecy.org