Introducing the city

£1.00 | 1.14 €

GBP | EUR

Gasoline £1.11 | 1.27 €

One-way ticket £1.58 | 1.80 €

Beer £4.83 | 5.50 €

Main Course £10.55 | 12.00 €

About Lyon

Lyon is the Frenchest of France's cities, full of inspiring architecture, hidden passageways and some of the best food money can buy.

Secret passageways and upside down elephants may sound a bit Alice in Wonderland, but they are part and parcel of the south east city of Lyon. Boasting France’s largest urban park, a medieval old town and enough gourmet restaurants to satisfy even the snobbiest of eaters (the city is home to multi-Michelin-starred chef Paul Bocuse), vibrant Lyon has plenty to discover, see and taste.

Counting around half a million people among its population, Lyon has some of Europe’s best examples of Renaissance architecture. Wander up Fourvière Hill to take in the view before getting lost in the traboules (medieval secret passageways) that meander across the city. It also boasts a beautiful basilica whose intricate design and features has earned it the nickname of 'upside down elephant'.

When you’ve worked up an appetite, make the most of Lyon’s culinary fame. Traditional bouchon (restaurants serving home-made food) are everywhere, as are break-the bank gourmet bistros and eateries. If you’re looking for something a little more liquid based, then the old town's wine bars fill up with students on weekends; most keep going into the small hours. Just don't blame us if you fall down the rabbit hole.

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Weather

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When Should You Visit?

Unless you’re planning on visiting during the Fête des Lumières (usually the second week of December), June is perfect for warm weather and al fresco dining.

Lyon has a temperate climate with warm summers and mild to cool winters; it also has a large amount of rainfall. The coolest month is January with an average temperature of 3 degrees Celsius and the warmest month is July at 22 degrees Celsius; April sees the most rain.

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Travioor top tips

City Card
Eat Local
Book Hotels

Insider Info

  • Buy the (1, 2 or 3 day) Lyon City Card for free entrance to 22 museums, free public transport, a walking tour and citywide discounts.

  • Traditional restaurants in Lyon are called bouchons and are your best bet for proper, local food. The best have a metal ‘Authentique bouchon lyonnais’ sign outside the door.

  • If you’re visiting during the Fête des Lumières festival then book accommodation well in advance.

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Food and drink

Main Course £10.55 | 12.00 €

3-Course Meal £43.95 | 50.00 €

Cappuccino £2.41 | 2.74 €

Beer £4.83 | 5.50 €

The Scene

Lyonnaise cuisine has many different influences, including French, Mediterranean and Italian. At the forefront of Lyon’s gourmet reputation are Mères lyonnaises (Mothers of Lyon), a term that referred to women who became cooks during the 18th century and pioneered homemade and traditional cuisine. Today these traditional dishes continue to be served in the city’s many bouchon (traditional restaurants). Popular staples include audouillette (coarse, tripe sausage), salade lyonnaise (lettuce, bacons, croutons and a poached egg) and quenelle (creamed fish and egg). Dishes are usually served alongside local Beaujolais red wine.

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History

Lyon’s Story

Archaeologists believe that in 43 AD the senate of Rome ordered a city to be founded for Roman refugees, who had been driven from the nearby town of Vienne. The resulting city became known as Lugdunum and soon grew into the main city in the region of Gaul. In recent years, historians have suggested that the city's name came from the old Celtic name for the god of light - Lugus - rather appropriate given Lyon's annual celebration of light and luminosity.

Lyon quickly became a major communications hub between north and south eastern France, helped by having two rivers, the Rhône and the Saône running through its centre. It became part of France in the 14th century, began trading in silk and developed a town centre that is now recognised as being one of the largest examples of Renaissance architecture in Europe. During World War II it was occupied by Germany and locals would escape using Lyon's networks of traboules (secret passages) which you can still see today.

Language

Salut | Hello
Merci | Thank you

French

French is the official language of Lyon although many people also speak English or other European languages. Signs, museum audioguides and maps are also often translated into multiple languages. Having said that, it's always a good idea to give the language a go. The following may be useful:

  • Good day: Bonjour
  • Excuse me: Excusez-moi
  • Please: S'il vous plaît
  • Do you speak English? Parlez-vous anglais?

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Need to know

+33 Dialling Code
112 Emergency Services

Get The Low-Down

  • The streets around the old town and Rue Ste Catherine can get a bit rowdy on weekends when the clubs close.
  • You can reach Switzerland in around two hours on the train.
  • Avoid bringing a car or using taxis; traffic is dense and parking/fares are pricey. Instead, rent a city bike or use public transport.

 

VISA INFORMATION

Find out about the visa requirements for France here.

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Travioor Recommends

1. Traboules

Wander around the Renaissance Vieux Lyon (Old Town) and explore the extensive traboules (secret passages).

2. Picnic

Picnic in Parc de la Tête d'Or during the summer months. Home to a boating lake and zoo, it’s the largest urban park in France.

3. Fourvière Hill

Walk up UNESCO listed Fourvière Hill for panoramic views over the city.

4. Local Food

Drink local wine or listen to live jazz in the old town or head to Presqu'île for a traditional bouchon meal.

5. Historic Church

Admire the 19th century Basilique Notre Dame de Fourvière which locals have nicknamed the upside down elephant.


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