The French City You Should Visit Next: Lyon, France

Advisor - Christian Caudill
Curated By

Christian Caudill

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  • Lyon

  • Arts & Culture

  • Boutique Travel

  • Food & Wine

  • Local Culture

  • Local Food

  • History

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Curator’s statement

Despite being France’s third largest city and recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Lyon isn’t among the top destinations in France. In reality, the city is an underrated gem that offers visitors the opportunity to immerse themselves in French culture and live like a “local.”

From Roman ruins and medieval passageways to fine art museums and world-renowned gastronomy, Lyon is the perfect destination to experience the vibrancy, culture, and history of a French city without the large crowds, tourist traps, and high prices of better-known destinations.

Just two hours by train from Paris, Marseille, or Geneva, Lyon is a must-add to a multi-city itinerary, or spend a few days visiting the city before venturing into the nearby Burgundy wine region or charming towns of the French Alps.

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Where to stay in Lyon, France

Boscolo Lyon Hotel & Spa

Your French sanctuary in the heart of Lyon, where elegant design, relaxation and culinary delights converge for a delightful stay in the gastronomic capital of France.

Fora Perks
  • Welcome amenity.

  • Breakfast daily.

  • Upgrade & extended check-in/out whenever possible.

InterContinental Lyon - Hotel Dieu, an IHG Hotel

Your luxurious retreat in the historic heart of Lyon, where French elegance, riverfront views and gourmet experiences unite for a remarkable stay in the heart of the city.

Fora Perks
  • Hotel / Resort credit.

  • Breakfast daily.

  • Upgrade & guaranteed late check-out.

La Villa Florentine

Your hillside haven overlooking Lyon, where Renaissance charm, city vistas and gourmet dining combine for a delightful stay in the heart of the Rhône-Alpes region.

Fora Perks
  • Hotel / Resort credit.

  • Breakfast daily.

  • Upgrade & extended check-in/out whenever possible.

Advisor - Christian Caudill

Unlock perks by contacting Christian to book your trip.

Things to do in Lyon, France

Statue of woman inside a building.

Museums

Maison des Canuts: Learn about Lyon’s centuries-old silk and textile industry, tour the workshop, and watch a live silk weaving demonstration. For families, this museum offers kid-friendly exhibits and activities.

Musée Lumière: For cinephiles, this museum dedicated to the cinema pioneers Auguste and Louis Lumière and their contributions to cinematography is a must-visit.

Musée des Confluences: This science and anthropology museum invites visitors to explore the past, present, and future of humanity, and our cultures and societies.

Museum of Fine Arts: France’s second-largest collection of fine art after the Louvre.

Lugdunum Museum and Roman Ruins: Explore Lyon’s ancient history and tour Roman ruins scattered throughout the old city. For families, this museum offers kid-friendly exhibits and activities.

Sites and Activities

Fourvière Basilica: This 19th-century basilica combines byzantine, gothic, and romanesque design to create one of Lyon's most emblematic sites. Inside you’ll find a colorfully decorated church with elaborate mosaics and stained glass windows. Outside from the plaza next to the church and gardens below, you’ll find sweeping views of Lyon, and might catch a glimpse of Mont Blanc on the horizon.

Parc de la Tête d’Or: This nearly 300-acre park offers something for all ages, from beautiful gardens to puppet shows and even a zoo!

Vieux Lyon tour: Immerse yourself in the city’s geography and history with a guided tour through Lyon’s ancient old town.

Accrobranche Adventure Park: Looking for some outdoor adventure and unique panoramic views? Clip in to Lyon’s high ropes and zipline courses nestled in the trees of Fourvière hill above the city. The park offers courses for all ages and experience levels. 

Culture

Fête de Lumières: Lyon is beautiful around the holidays, but especially during the annual Festival of Lights in early December, when the city comes alive with light shows projected on buildings and plazas throughout.

Nuits de Fourvière: If you find yourself in Lyon during the Nuits de Fourvière festival, enjoy theater, dance, circus, opera, and more in an ancient Roman amphitheater.

Day Trips

Annecy: A beautiful lakeside town nestled in the French alps. Beautiful in all seasons, but a dip in the crisp glacial lake waters is especially refreshing in summer. Two hours by train from Lyon, Annecy is possible as a day trip, but I recommend you plan to spend at least one night to soak in all of its beauty.

Perouges: A perfectly Instagrammable, well-preserved medieval village just one hour by train from Lyon. You’ll feel like you’ve stepped back in time.

Vienne: If you don’t get your fill of Roman ruins in Lyon, hop on the train to head 30 minutes south to Vienne, once an important center for trade and commerce under the Roman Empire.

Places to eat & drink in Lyon, France

Different kinds of cheese.

Restaurants:

Le François Villon: A traditional Lyonnaise bouchon in the heart of Vieux Lyon.

L’Institut Restaurant: No Lyon guide would be complete without a nod to Chef Paul Bocuse’s cuisine. Part restaurant, part training school, food is prepared by culinary students of the Institut Lyfe (formerly Institut Paul Bocuse).

Les Halles de Lyon Paul Bocuse: An indoor food market with more than 50 produce vendors, cheesemongers, butchers, bakeries, full-service restaurants, and more for those who can’t quite decide on one spot.

La Table Brestoise: A hole-in-the-wall spot serving Breton galette and crêpe specialties perfect for lunch.

Sweet Treats:

Pralus: Lyon is known for its pink praline candied almonds. This family of bakers is known for its Praluline (brioche bun with pink praline on top)

Wine Bars:

Les Assembleurs: Offering a large variety of wines on tap, this wine bar also specializes in les assemblages (blends) and even invites you to experiment with creating your own. Small plates also available.

Table et Vins d’Ainay: This cozy wine bar invites you to expand your wine palate and knowledge. Instead of a wine list, servers ask for your preferences and bring you a bottle for a blind tasting. Small plates also available.

Need to Know

For more travel tips, check out Fora Advisor Karen Morales’s guide, Multigenerational Trip Across France: 12-Day Itinerary.



Advisor - Christian Caudill

Travel Advisor

Christian Caudill

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This guide is part of our ongoing series on travel to France.