Lyon Travel Guide

Get Your Bearings in Lyon

Where to Stay

Lyon's accommodations are located throughout the city. Hotels located at the confluence of the Saône and Rhône rivers to the north end of Presqu’île are within walking distance of museums and restaurants. Hotels located on the western bank of the river Saône look across the UNESCO world heritage Vieux Lyon, close to many of the historic sites of Lyon.

Take It or Leave It: Hotels like the Hotel Le Royal Lyon offer pet-friendly accommodations.


What to Eat

Restaurants in Lyon focus on local French cuisine, and the celebrated chef Paul Bocuse has several establishments in the city.  The main restaurant district is on La Rue Merciere, which offers a multitude of dining options and cuisines. Budget options are found in La Rue des Marronniers, another dining district.

Be Sure to Sample: Try the local delicacies, like liver cake and the regional cheese.


Things to See

Many of Lyon's attractions involve historical buildings. Close to the Fourviere Hill lies the ruins of two Roman amphitheaters which are over 2,000 years old. One of many museums is the Museum of Gallo-Roman Civilization, celebrating the impact the Roman Empire had on this city long ago. The Cathedral Saint Jean Baptiste is an imposing 12th-century Gothic cathedral, while the Basilique Notre Dame de Fourviere is another more recent example of religious architecture.

Hot Tips: Lyon's Cyclopolitain, an updated version of a rickshaw, are a unique way to get from one attraction to the next.


Places to Party

Lyon offers many venues for nightlife including an active theater district featuring opera, comedy and classical concertos. Cargo boats are a popular party venue. Located on the rivers, the boats are multistory venues with open air sections for fair weather, where DJs or performers play to dancing crowds. Lyon also has a popular group of gay bars spread throughout the city.

Caution: Cargo boats featuring a musical act will often charge a cover.
Hot Tips: Newsstands throughout the city sell weekly guides describing what's going on in the city.


Where to Shop

The Rue Emile, Rue de President-Herriot and Place Kleber contain numerous fashion outlets from small boutiques to larger malls. Art galleries are also popular in Lyon, as are antique stores. The Cite des Antiquaires is a mall specializing in antiques dating from the 18th-20th century. The August Comte district is one of several large flea markets in the city.

Caution: The Cite des Antiquaires is only open Thursday to Sunday.
Best Local Souvenir: Lyon is known for its scarves, ties and other silk accessories.


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About Lyon

With two rivers running through its heart — la Saône and la Rhône — Lyon is blessed with a rich 2,000-year-old history. Lyon is the third largest city in France and a long established business center, yet it possesses plenty of Old World attractions, including place Bellecour and the Amphitheatre of the Three Gauls. Lyon is also said to have "more restaurants per square metre than any place on earth." Old Lyon stretches out along the Saône and invites tourists with its Florentine architecture. Quartier Merciere and the surrounding area form the central commercial district, offering a number of cafés and shops. Visitors will want to view the collection of Egyptian fabrics at the Historique des Tissus; the masterworks of Rubens and El Greco at Musee des Beaux-Arts; and the history of cinematography at the Lumiere brothers' house.