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?
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.