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A taste of the finer things

Lyon has been a well-heeled sort of place since Renaissance times, thanks to its mighty banking institutions and proud place at the centre of the historic silk trade. So it’s no surprise that this bijou city, attractively spread across twin hills and two major rivers, has refined architecture, exquisite art and fancy food galore. Lyon holidays are perfect for those seeking something a bit out of the ordinary. A relaxed stroll around the medieval quarter of Vieux Lyon will help you appreciate the deep-rooted, ancient relationship between style and commerce – look out for its distinctive ‘traboules’ – secret, undercover passageways once employed by silk merchants taking shortcuts to market or simply keeping their wares out of the rain.

And holidays to Lyon aren’t complete without immersing yourself in the rich gastronomic culture – tuck into local specialities like duck paté or pork belly at a traditional Lyonnais ‘bouchon’ – or really go to town at one of the city’s many Michelin-starred establishments. Wine looms large here – this is France, after all – but it’s also worth spending an evening getting stuck into the city’s bold new wave of hip cocktail spots. Or why not enjoy a fortifying lunchtime tipple before taking in the masterpieces at one of the many superb museums?

All resorts in Lyon

Three tips for a top trip

Just follow your feet

Lyon’s compact size makes it ideal for discovering on foot – but if you tire, there’s a cheap metro and a funicular railway for climbing lofty Fourviere Hill.

Find the arcades

The pretty, fairy-lit Passage des Primeurs, a dinky half-covered 19th-century shopping arcade, is an atmospheric spot for a drink, coffee and pastry or a meal.

Head up market

Nibble your way through the pick of Lyonnais produce at the buzzing open-air Marché de la Croix-Rousse, set on a hill with views over the city.

Best attractions to see in Lyon

Parc de la Tete d’Or

France’s largest urban park boasts plenty of entertainment, including a fun miniature railway for kids, pony rides, elegant 19th-century hothouses, a substantial boating lake and a zoo.

The Museum of Fine Arts

Survey 5,000 years of art history in the arresting setting of a 17th-century Benedictine abbey, with sculptures by Rodin and Bourdelle within its hushed cloisters.

The view from Fourviere

Ride a sunset funicular up to the fairytale Basilique de Fourviere to witness all of Lyon spread out below you like a giant magic map.

Your Lyon questions, answered

Agreeably balmy from spring until around October. As such, there’s certainly no shortage of places to linger in a cobbled square for dinner or drinks al fresco.
Anything silky – go grab a glossy memento of your trip at Maison Brochier Soieries, a family run firm that counts Picasso among its famous former clients.
The beauty of travelling to Lyon is you can go whenever you like and you’ll be guaranteed a good time. Museums, historic sites and buildings are usually open year-round, so you can get your culture fix anytime. The same is true of the nightlife and restaurants. Summer is lively with arts festivals and the winter season is great for shopping at the Christmas markets. So, there’s simply no bad time to go.
Saucisson is something of an obsession here, but if you prefer sweet things, bag some praline roses – hazelnuts or almonds, caked in eye-popping flamingo-pink sugar.
Lyon is a versatile place for holidays. You may be looking to delve into the rich cultural history or tour the many museums. You may also be keen to savour the food and dine out at as many restaurants as possible. Perhaps you’re looking to burn off some energy at the nightclubs or shop until you drop. And if you’re heading to Lyon with the family, you may want to visit the parks and zoo.
From the diverse bars and cafes in the old town to the fine dining in Les Brotteaux, there’s something in every district to entertain. Many of the lively clubs are centrally located on both the right and left sides of the river, so you’re never far from a late night out. And the city’s theatres and cafes are great for catching a show or two.
Lyon is in central France, so not long at all. It will depend on which airport you wish to fly from, but it will usually take around two hours. You can fly direct too, so no need to worry about catching connecting flights. There’s a shuttle train service into the centre of Lyon, making it a hassle-free getaway.
If you like driving, you could hire a car when you visit Lyon and take a few day trips out to the countryside. However, with such a compact city, it isn’t necessary. With so much to do in Lyon itself, there’s no rush to travel around. There’s a metro, tram and rail network, as well as plenty of buses to get you from A to B. You could easily walk between most of the city’s attractions. And there are plenty of places to stop and relax, from parks to cafes.
As the third-largest city in France, Lyon can cater to every taste. So, if you’re looking to sample classic French dishes, local delicacies or international food, there’s no end of options. Garlic sausages, chicken liver tart and almond cake are just some of the city’s specialities. You’ll find the best of these in the bouchons scattered throughout the city.