A Comprehensive Guide to the
Top Attractive Sights in
Lyon

Introduction

Looking for an exciting place to go on holiday? Commanding a strategic position at the confluence of the Rhone and the Sane Rivers, Lyon has been the center of attraction luring individuals to it. The Romans called it Lugdunum in 43 BC, and for 2,000 years, Lyon is an important cultural and economic center. Lyon may not at all times be a tourist destination, cultural gems await those who explore the area.

Lyon has won a spot on the UNESCO World Heritage list, with a history dating back to ancient Roman times. The town contains the oldest buildings, medieval quarters, and fine Renaissance houses in France. Lyon is the third-largest city in France and provides a range of tempting opportunities to contemporary urban adventurers.

Where is Lyon Located ?

Lyon, sometimes spelt Lyons, is the capital of the Rhône department and the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region, in east-central France. Located on a hilly site at the confluence of the Rhône and Saône rivers, Lyon is France’s third-largest city, after Paris and Marseille.

10 Fun and Interesting Facts about Lyon

  1. For more than 300 years Lyon (Lugdunum) was the capital of Gaule (France) This is where two Roman emperors were raised. There are signs of the Roman influence, including the Fourvière Amphitheatre.
  2. The Lumière brothers invented movie-making in Lyon in 1895. The Lumière Brothers made the first motion picture in 1895. Without them, the film industry wouldn’t be. The grounds where their first film were filmed can be toured.
  3. Walkthrough the Traboules and dive into the past. Typical and strange lyonnaise secret streets are traboules perpendicular to the main old avenues. Traboules was produced in the 4th century and used by villagers, silk weavers and most recently by the French Resistance, who used them to hide from the Gestapo.
  4. Lyon hosts the restaurants which have been among the strongest. It is the gastronomic capital of France, after all. There are 14 Michelin starred restaurants in this town.
  5. Lyon has a multitude of shops which fit your taste and budget. What is perhaps more remarkable is Lyon ‘s Part-Dieu at 110,000m2 is Europe’s biggest shopping centre in the inner-city.
  6. Lyon was founded at the confluence of the Rhône and Saône Rivers 2,000 years ago. It based its fortune on the silk trade and this business has equipped Vieux Lyon with stunning Renaissance architecture, where semi-hidden passages Traboules link courtyards with the Saône river.

What are the Top Attractive Sights in Lyon ?

1. Lyon Cathedral (St. Jean Cathedral)

Lyon ‘s largest church is the Gothic Cathedral. This magnificent cathedral was established between the 12th and 15th centuries. The original stained-glass windows which date back to the 1300s remain there were demolished in the Second World War and packed to save them from bomb blasts.

The Cathedral of Lyon is famous for its astronomical clock which has a height of 9 meters. This clock has hit regularly since 1379. An astrolabe is below the main clock, introduced in the 1600s, and can display the location of the planet, sun, and moon. The automated figures show when the chimes are on the hour. The ring at 12 pm, 2 pm, 3 pm, and 4 pm.

2. Basilique Notre-Dame de Fourvière

The Basilique Notre-Dame de Fourvière is likewise known as the “praying hill.” It was planned and built by architect Pierre Bossan in the late 19th century. He integrated Neo-Byzantine designs into the architecture. There are awe-inspiring mosaics on the walls inside, richly coloured stained-glass, gold sculptures and a crypt.

Surrounding the basilica are stunning gardens too. Walking through the basilica and enjoying the view of mosaics on the wall gives a sense of pleasantness. However, take a taxi to the hilltop to avoid leg strains.

3. Vieux Lyon (Old Town)

Vieux Lyon, or Old Lyon, is the Renaissance district of the town situated in the 5th district. Vieux-Lyon is a mysterious area, revealing itself behind a closed door, where hidden passages or traboules allowed people to pass discreetly from one street to another without leaving the building. Nowadays the inner courtyards are showing their former owners’ great wealth.

Visitors can find many attractions here, including Place du Change, the town’s former business square, and Rue St-Jean. The passages date back to the fourth century when people went away from their homes to the river without navigating through the town streets.

They were used through the silk trade and the resistance during World War II. Though buildings’ facades appear simple from the outside, tourists are surprised when they peek behind closed doors!

4. Movie-making at Institute Lumière

This is where the first film in Lyon was made by the Lumiere brothers. They are the fathers of filmmaking. The museum was set by Auguste and Louis Lumière who created the cinematograph, first camera and projector for the motion picture. They made a thousand movies together, seen at cinemas around the world.

The highlight is in Villa Lumière, a magnificent Art nouveau mansion designed in 1899 by the father of the brothers. Watch their movies in the mansion, and check the ingenious inventions, which helped change entertainment forever. A visit to the Lumiere Institute is a significant pilgrimage for movie lovers.

5. Le Théâtre Antique de Fourvière

You may not have to dig particularly deep under the surface to find traces of the Roman origins in Lyon.  The ancient amphitheatre on Fourvière ‘s hill despite being over 2,000 years old, is visible and still in use.

It plays host to big-ticket rock bands, orchestras, dance troupes, and shows in theatres. In 2012, The Stone Roses played a packed reunion series, with the town spreading out behind.

6. Parc de la Tête d’Or

As of 1901, the Parc de la Tête d’Or is one of Lyon ‘s best public parks. One of the highest still, which occupies 117 hectares. It includes a pool, four rose gardens, large greenhouses, a botanical garden, a velodrome, a mini-train and children’s rides, and a zoo.

It is a popular destination for people from Lyon, particularly for hikers and cyclists. Don’t miss the view of the elegant and majestic gilded wrought-iron gate (Porte des enfants du Rhône).

7. Musée des Confluences and Museum of fine arts

Opened in 2014, the Musée des Confluences is one of the newest institutions in Lyon situated in the city’s newest neighbourhood. Lyon’s history museum, with over 2 million artefacts, seeks to tell the world’s story from creation to heaven, diverse people, and animals.

What are the fun and interesting things you can do in Lyon ?

1. Ride a Bicycle

Cyclists find Lyon a beautiful city to visit. With wide, safe cycle paths crisscrossing the city and no hills, Lyon gives bicycle riders a taste of their cravings. In Lyon, you find some of the most amazing picturesque routes running along the two iconic rivers, the Saone and Rhone. Renting a bike is cheap. Just ensure you check the tyres before speeding off.

2. Enjoy great wine

If you love good wine, try Lyon when next you are on vacation. You can easily get to the Beaujolais (vinicultural region), which stretches to the North of the city. Explore the vineyards or take the easy route and make some wise purchases at the beautiful wine shops around the city.

3. Enjoy good food

Lyon is France’s food capital. With great restaurants spread around the city. Some of its wonderful restaurants include L’Auberge du Pont de Collonges, a fable temple of Gallic gastronomy with three Michelin stars. You can also try La Mere Brazier, manned by Mathieu Viannay, with two Michelin stars.

4. Let Chocolate thrill you

If you are a chocolate enthusiast, don’t forget to check out some amazing chocolate spots in Lyon. You can visit Sebastien Bouillet’s Chocolate world or try out any of the beautiful chocolate shops in the city.

 

Best Tips on Holidaying in Lyon

2. Locate the best restaurant

Locating the best restaurants at Lyon is a key to enjoying your adventure. The following are the best restaurants in Lyon:

  • Burgundy Lounge
  • Guy Lassausaie
  • Le Neuvieme Art
  • Mere Brazier
  • etc.

Click here to see more accommodations at Lyon

Conclusion

For a long time, holidaymakers have enjoyed Lyon for the many cultural gems which await those who take the time to discover the area. This has many cultural institutions and a host of starred Michelin restaurants (this is Paul Bocuse and Daniel Boulud’s birthplace after all). Holidaying in Lyon will be on the network for art history enthusiasts, food lovers, travel and film lovers. Furthermore, the city is a perfect destination for individuals, groups and families aiming for France’s authentic, slower-paced style.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Lyon is an extremely secure city because the police department is highly successful.

Yes, you can stay in Lyon as a tourist with just English. Popular restaurants and shopping malls have employees who speak English. If you came for other reasons, it will be difficult because there are not many English speakers in Lyon.

The perfect time to visit Lyon is in September and October, when the city empties from its summer visitors, leaving behind crisp, cool air in the fall. May is another excellent month to visit, thanks to hot weather, while June, July and August are peak season in Lyon during the summer.

Lyon from ancient French, Middle English lion (Latin Leo, genius Leonis), is a term for a fierce or valiant warrior. It is a dwelling name for anyone living in a house marked by the symbol of a lion.