France’s third largest city is famous for films, festivals, food and centuries-old architecture.
Art festivals and museums dedicated to filmmaking, a medieval old town and Roman ruins; Lyon’s attractions are varied and showcased in style. Situated in east-central France, Lyon is a scenic city; its beauty starts from the surrounding hills of La Croix-Rousse and Fourvière, and spills down to the banks of the Saône and Rhône rivers, which split the city into districts.The city has an excellent public transport system so getting around is easy. Trains, buses and the subway stop at major attractions. There’s also a public bicycle rental system: Vélo'v.
Explore the Vieux Lyon (Old Lyon) district on foot. It’s one of Europe’s largest areas of Renaissance architecture. Stroll along cobblestone streets such as Rue St. Jean where you will find an example of Lyon’s famous traboules, covered passageways built through houses. At the end of Rue St.-Jean is the majestic Lyon Cathedral, built between 1180 and 1480.
Ride the cable railway to Fourvière hilltop. Check out the views of the city and Rhône Valley from the lookout at the Basilica of Notre-Dame de Fourvière. Look for the ancient Roman amphitheater. It’s one of the venues for the Fourvière Nights Festival, a summer celebration of music, dance and theater.
Go to La Croix-Rousse to see the old silk-weaving district. At the foot of the hill is Place des Terreaux, a central square with the City Hall, St. Peter's Palace and the Bartholdi Fountain. Cross the river to Parc de la Tete d’Or, a beautiful green space with a small zoo.
Don’t miss out on a visit to the Lumière Institute. Motion picture pioneers Auguste and Louis Lumière had factories on this site. A museum exhibits the brothers’ cinematography achievements. Watch classic movies and attend exhibitions during the annual Festival Lumière in October.
Be sure to experience Lyon’s famous culinary scene. Try Lyonnais dishes, such as veal kidneys, at one of the city’s famous bouchons. Les Halles de Lyon Paul Bocuse is an indoor food market named after an acclaimed French chef. Here you can sample cheese and wine, pâté and pastries from local sellers.