LyonLyon is commonly referred to as the gastronomy capital. In the past, this label was associated with sauces and a petit-bourgeois small-town complex. However, with the arrival of the TGV high-speed train connecting Lyon to Paris and Marseille, as well as the winning streak of Olympique Lyonnais in various League Championships, Lyon underwent a transformation. The city now boasts daring architecture, bustling cafés, and avant-garde exhibitions, ushering in a new era.
The CityThere is water everywhere, flowing under 28 bridges. Lyon is divided into different areas by two rivers, the Saône and Rhône, and two hills, La Croix-Rousse and Fourvière. In the west, by the Fourvière hill, is the bustling, historic city centre with its Renaissance pomp. It bears witness to the riches that the city’s profitable silk industry earned, following François the First’s tax reductions in 1536. In 43 BC, the Romans founded the capital city of the Gallic provinces on a peninsula, at the foot of La Croix-Rousse and in the area around the Town Hall and the Opera, France’s most prominent architects and artists were given a free hand in the 1990s. The result was Post-Modern glamour: a Rococo opera with a glass dome, a grand square with columns and 69 water jets. From the Town Hall and the Opera, the main shopping, restaurant and café streets, the rue de la République and rue Président Herriot, extend in a north-south direction. The Congress Centre with the 3,000 seat amphitheater built by Renzo Piano, the Contemporary Art Museum and Interpol sandwiched between the Rhône River and the Park de la Tête d’Or, are part of the business centre on the left bank of the river. The underground railway system is extensive - you seldom have to walk for more than 15 minutes.
Do & See
Dive into culture, history, fashion and food in the wonderful city of Lyon. Whether you are here for a weekend or a week you will find countless things to do, from historic sights to world-class museums and pleasant city parks. Take your time and discover why it is so easy to fall in love with Lyon.
Plunge into the small, picturesque, yet lively world of Lyon’s traditional restaurants – the bouchons. Their menus display all the specialities from the local markets and traditional Lyon dishes. Lyon is also the capital of gastronomy and grande cuisine. The uncontested master of French cuisine, Paul Bocuse, has his restaurant by the Saone, and new chefs brimming over with creative talent abound. In Stendhal’s "Memoirs of a Tourist," he wrote: “I know one thing that you do very well in Lyon, you can eat admirably there.”
In grand French fashion, Lyon's cafes are a sight to behold. From grand squares such as Place des Terreaux, Place Louis Pradel to hidden alleys in the Old City, there is hardly a dull spot to stop for a coffee.
Bars & Nightlife
Night owls will have no problem finding things to do in Lyon. After admiring the city's beautiful monuments lit up by night, go to one of many animated bars or clubs to discover Lyon's energetic night life.
Shopping becomes deceptively relaxed in a pedestrian-friendly city like Lyon. All you have to do is to follow the pedestrian route along the rue de la République and rue Président Edouard Herriot for your credit card to become overheated. But don’t forget that you are at the hub of the gastronomic galaxy. Failing to take a few samples of local specialities home would be a great mistake.