Take a trip to Lyon
Elected the « Best European Weekend Destination” in 2016, the “Capital of Gaul”, home to both the Rhône and Saône Rivers, is sure to charm you. Thanks to its cultural sights and countless walks, Lyon is vibrant and full of life, a city which has managed to keep its old soul. It’s easy to understand that it’s worth visiting not just for the legendary cuisine but also for a glimpse at 2,000 years’ worth of history. Let’s go!
Tour guides in Lyon
Five ideas for guided tours in Lyon
Saint Jean District
Situated in the heart of the historical center in the 5th arrondissement, this pedestrian district is the best known in the city. Its central avenue, also named Saint Jean, cuts through the neighborhood from north to south. Here, you can make a multitude of architectural discoveries (those famous alleyways (Traboule) and courtyards). In fact, after Venise, Lyon is the city with the more Renaissance architecture than anywhere else in the world! Saint Jean is also the place to taste the best of Lyon (and even French) cuisine in one of the many “bouchons”, a type of restaurant native to the city. Make sure you don’t miss any secret passageways, little squares, or local businesses, by opting for a Lyon tour guide. He’ll make sure you don’t miss anything in the area.
It’s called the “working hill” in honor of the silk weavers (canuts) who once inhabited the area, as opposed to neighboring Fourvière, known as “the praying hill”. The remarkably tall buildings, with up to 4 or 5 meters of ceiling height, are a reminder of the weaving looms once housed in them. Today, the neighborhood’s plateau offers a village feel while its hills evoke a sense of festivity. A magnificent market is set up each day on the Croix Rousse Boulevard. The area has become trendy and innovative, as much professionally as culturally and festively. Make sure you don’t miss the Gros Caillou (“big pebble”), discovered and slightly relocated in 1960 during the construction of the city’s first funicular, and the “Montée de la Grande Côte”, the hillside’s legendary slope. What was once a country trail is now home to beautiful 17th and 18th century homes, with a magnificent view at the summit.
This area is the city’s commercial center. From here you can visit Lyon’s main monuments and squares, starting of course with Bellecour Square, without a doubt THE meeting spot for locals as well as the largest pedestrian square in Europe. It is here that you will find the magnificent statue of Louis XIV on his horse. The area is also home to Terreaux Square, adjoining the Hotel de Ville, with its splendid Henri IV bas-reliefs. Next, walk through another of the city’s gems, Jacobins Square and continue on to the Museum of Fine Arts.
Gain some altitude at Fourvière
The funicular departing from Saint-Jean Station will take you to Fourvière, known as “the praying hill” thanks to its great number of religious buildings including the basilica. From the basilica’s esplanade you’ll enjoy a magnificent panorama of the city. From here, carry on to the Hauteurs Park (Heights Park). This park brings together a series of gardens for a long, pleasant walk with an impressive view of still-farmed gardens. You’ll come to Quatre Vents (Four Winds) footbridge with a view of the Saône Valley to your right. To finish up your stroll, head to the ancient theater, a testament to the city’s rich Gallo Romain history. Head back to the Old City via Cleberg road which will bring you to the Jardin du Rosaire (Rosary Garden) with its spectacular variety of hydrangeas and ancient roses. From here as well you can take advantage of one of the city’s finest viewpoints.
Tête dʼOr Park
Who hasn’t heard of the largest urban park in France, created in 1857? The Tête dʼOr Park is an oasis of greenery is a favorite strolling spot of locals, who access the park via one of its eight entrances. Within its 104 acres, and length of 4 kilometers, you’ll have a hard time choosing between activities: so opt for a boat ride on the lake, an extension of the Rhône, or a visit to the botanical gardens and their 15,000 plants and 16,000 rose bushes, or even go to see giraffes, lions, zebras and antelopes in the zoo that’s been around since the park’s construction.