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.
Hop on the river shuttle at St Paul (5th) or Bellecour (1st) and get off at Lyon's newest quarter, La Confluence. Exclusive brands, concept and designer labels can be found side-by-side with world street eating on heated terraces. Should the weather drive you indoors, then attack the climbing wall or opt for a high-tech cinema experience all within a stone's throw of each other.
The 12th Biennale de Lyon art exhibition is underway throughout the city at various venues. Guest curator Gunnar B Kvaran has invited artists from all over the world who work in the narrative field and use art to experiment with the modalities and mechanisms of storytelling. The exhibition titled Meanwhile
Suddenly, and Then gives pride of place to contemporary artists who undo mainstream narrative codes in order to tell stories differently. Until 5 January 2014. biennaledelyon.com
The Puces du Canal in Villeurbanne offers one the most renowned markets and antiques fairs in the Rhône Valley. Recently spruced up thanks to a street-art fair, early risers will enjoy browsing the vast alleyways crammed with vintage relics of all shapes, sizes and price-tags (1 Rue du Canal, 69100, pucesducanal.com).
Annecy offers a great day out. Its lake, one of Europe's purest bodies of water, sits among Alpine scenery and the Old Town offers visitors a diverse range of watersports and cultural pursuits. A short climb to the 12th-century chateau is a culture vulture's paradise. Once a stronghold of Genevan counts, it now houses archaeological exhibits of medieval Savoyard furniture and religious sculptures. Whether lazing or dining by the lake or heading up to take in some of the finest views of the Alps, it's all possible in one day. sncf.com