Welcome to our new blog series: ‘A Snapshot of…’
In this series we aim to give you snapshot of a city that we love, which will hopefully give you great ideas for your own trip.
This snapshot is of Lyon, a city that we love dearly and had the joy of living an hour from in 2013. Since then, we have made trips to the city a few times more, and always revisit our favourite haunts.
When to Visit:
France is beautiful in the summer, and the previous capital Lyon is no exception. We are the sort of people that love to sit outside in the sunshine and enjoy a pastis, so we would recommend Spring or Summer (or both!). Walking over the bridges of Lyon and pausing to watch the river below in the sunshine is an experience to take advantage of.
How to Get Around:
The first time we visited Lyon we took the underground everywhere, but found on subsequent visits that the city is easily walkable. Pick up a free map from the Tourist Information centre and strap on those walking shoes. It’s a pleasure to walk around and you will see much more. There are two main parts to Lyon, the old town and the new town. They are as they sound; the old town filled with small streets, bakeries and bookshops, and the new town with much wider streets and modern, mostly chain, shops. They both have their place, and depending on what you enjoy, we would recommend walking both.
Head west from the old town and climb (or take a tram) up the hill to the Basilica of Notre-Dame de Fourviere. This grand basilica (Roman Catholic church) is not just breath taking to look around, but has pride of place overlooking Lyon. The views from the church are incredible, and a must see for any visitor of Lyon.
Where to Eat:
You have plenty of options! After all, Lyon is called the food capital of the world by some. If you are looking for a French meal (which you should be, in France), we would recommend L’Oenotheque de Lyon.
Where to Drink Coffee:
As coffee lovers we were delighted to stumble upon Puzzle Café. With a small space to sit out the front and excellent coffee, we found this an ideal basking spot.
For Book Lovers:
Our favourite book shop, and somewhere that we visit each time we go to Lyon, is Le Bal des Ardents. The archway made of books at the entrance will draw you in, and architecture aside, we have found many interesting and unusual books in here.
For Lovers of History:
If you love history, you will not be disappointed in Lyon. On your way back down from the Basilica of Notre-Dame visit the Roman Settlement, ruins that you can walk among.
Next, it is definitely time to explore the traboules of the old town. These are secret passages that wind between buildings and courtyards, originally used by silk workers. They were also used in World War 2, perfect for hiding and escaping from the occupying German forces. They are not always easy to find, but we love the intrigue involved in searching for them, and recommend that you do the same.
Head to the food market that dates back to 1910, St Antoine Market. It is a short walk from Place Bellecour (you can’t miss this when visiting Lyon, it’s the public square you’ll keep finding yourself in), and is on Tuesday to Sunday from roughly 6.00am to 12.30pm. Just in time for an early lunch, or breakfast.
For Graffiti Fans:
Daniel is a big fan of Space Invaders, which are mosaics by the artist Invader, and you can find you can them in cities all over Europe. We found many in Lyon, and during that time also viewed some excellent graffiti. If that’s the sort of thing that interests you too, explore the city for them, and keep your eyes up.
A Museum with a Difference:
For a change in the usual museum, head to the old town and, more specifically, the Movies and Miniature Museum. Here you can see everyday scenes in miniature, and props from your favourite B Movies. A great idea for a rainy afternoon, and surprisingly enjoyable to explore.
What are your favourite things to do in Lyon, France?