10 Best Places to Visit in Lyon, France

It's that time of the year again when we can finally start planning our vacations. But many people struggle with choosing where to go. And with the pandemic still active, options are limited. France has always been a popular tourist destination. But people mainly focus on just Paris. This is a shame because there is so much more to visit and see in all of France.

For example, Lyon. It's not as popular a city as Paris, but that doesn't mean there aren't some fantastic places to visit in Lyon. You have to know where to look. And that's where we come in to help.

But before we tell you about all the great places in Lyon, there are a couple of things you should do first. Before any trip, it's essential to be prepared. First, find a good travel agency, so you don't have to plan the trip alone. Second, consider the option of renting storage while traveling. If you have some expensive and delicate items in your home, this is a great way to protect them while away.

And finally, don't forget to make a packing list, so you don't forget any essential items. Now it's time for Lyon!

You would almost forget to visit Lyon, the second largest city of France. It is easy to get there from Paris. Lyon is only 2 hours away from Paris by high speed train. It is a large city, full of history and stunning architecture, dating back from the Renaissance and the Romans! Lyon is stunning with a beautiful site (confluence of two rivers), an architecture span from Romans to modern times, through Renaissance.

Set among hills and on the confluence of the Saône and Rhône rivers, the city has appealing squares, architecture and appetising local food. The Lyon sausage being a speciality. It is also the capital of gastronomy (get prepared!) and the place where cinema was invented. It has the unofficial title of being the food capital of France, for sure you will have great dishes in the Bouchons lyonnais. Do not miss the Halles (fresh market) at Part-Dieu - a moment of eternity!

Old Lyon is the perfect place to stroll and enjoy the medieval legacy of Lyon (of the best preserved in the world). Here you will find many traboules, passageways between the old buildings of medieval times. Many of them have nice surprises, like the Torre Rosa. The La Croix-Rousse hills provide city views and further to the west there the French Alps. Again, the local cuisine should be sampled.

In Juiverie Street we find numerous buildings from the medieval period with the respective shields of their owners hanging from their facades. Visit the giant indoor market in La Part-Dieu, named after the famous chef Paul Bocuse. About fifty merchants (gardeners, sausages, bakers, pastry chefs, cheese makers, winemakers) defend the high quality of Lyon and French gastronomy in general.

On both banks of the Rhone, from Vienne to Avignon, on the basis of two dozen varieties (syrah, grenache, viognier) produce world-famous wines, mainly red ones, such as Côte Rotie, Crozet Hermitage (Crozes- Hermitage), Châteauunauf du Pape (Château-Neuf-du-Pape). For 17 years, the weekend of Ascension, Lyon has been turning into an electronic music venue with an interesting program and in and off concerts throughout the city.

Lyonians got a tradition of hanging lanterns on the windows to decorate the city. During the 4 very popular evenings, the Festival of Light takes place here with unusual projections on monuments, squares and courtyards.

Spend a few days in the 'Capital of the Gauls', visit the museums, go to the opera, stroll in the streets, along the River banks and the great parks. While you are in Lyon visit Dijon, Beaune and Bourgong area and the villages!

Best Places to Visit in Lyon

In this article, we will make a list of the best places to visit in Lyon. If you are going to spend a few days in this city of France, these are the essential places to visit in Lyon.

1. La basilique Notre Dame de Fourvière

Like MArseille it has a stunning church dominating the city, Notre Dame de Fourvière and you need to get there to have amazing views of the city. The white silhouette of the basilica, built at the end of the 19th century, rises on the Fourviere hill above Lyon. The Basilica of Notre Dame de Fourviere is one of the best places to visit in Lyon and one of the most interesting ones.

Inside you will see beautiful mosaics and marble décor. The wonderful La Basilique Notre Dame de Fourvière, in the Byzantine style is visible from practically all Lyon, and its mosaics, columns and roofs of the interior are worthy of admiration. This Basilica actually houses two churches, one on top of the other, as well as a chapel dedicated to the Virgin Mary, crowned by a statue of her in gold.

It was built between 1872 and 1896 in honor of the Virgin Mary. The people of Lyon wanted to show gratefulness and respect to Virgin Mary for saving the city from the bubonic plague. The locals call the Basilica "The upside-down elephant "because of its unusual structure.

Today it is one of the most important tourist attractions in Lyon. According to research, around two million tourists visit the Basilica every year. And there is a good reason for that. Apart from its incredible history, the Basilica has one of the best views in the city. And the best time to visit it is during the festival of lights ("Fête des Lumières") that takes place every year on December 8th.

The festival is also in honor of the Virgin Mary. That day, all the lights and candles get turned on to create a spectacular experience for everyone present. And as any travel blog will tell you to always visit a place when local celebrations are happening. That's the best way to get acquainted with a new city and its culture.

2. Musée des Beaux-Arts

This is an incredible tourist attraction for everyone, but especially for art lovers.The museum was created in 1803 by François Royer de la Valfenière. It underwent a restoration in 1989 by Philippe-Charles Dubois, Jean-Michel Wilmotte, and Gabriel Mortamet, but it was still open to visitors during that time. What makes it a must-see place and one of the most important museums in Europe is its incredibly diverse art collection.

It has paintings from all over Europe. Incredible works by Spanish painters such as El Greco and Jusepe de Ribera. And some of the most influential French and Italian painters like Perugino, Lorenzo Costa, Tintoretto, Manet, and Cezanne. The sculpture part of the museum is just as good and diverse. It's split into two categories.

There are medieval and Renaissance sculptures and sculptures from the 19th and 20th centuries. You can visit many exhibitions and presentations. They also offer a one-hour tour completely in English.

3. Musée Lumière

The cinema was born in Lyon thanks to the Lumière brothers. An unfairly overlooked museum however is the Lumière Villa, though it is in a fairly distant part of the city (but on a direct metro line from the old town). It is a quaint, original and fascinating museum about the founding fathers of modern cinema.

The Lumiere museum is located in what was the house of the Lumière's parents, in front of what was once the Lumière factory, and where the first film in history was filmed. In the museum you can see the cinematograph, as well as other objects invented by this family. The villa is part of the Lumière institute, which shows classic cinema or otherwise high quality films.

4. Institut Lumière

Another place you have to visit when in Lyon is Institut Lumiere. It's a museum founded in honor of the "fathers of cinema," Auguste and Louis Lumiere. Its spread across four floors of the Chateau Lumiere, the house of their father. Its task is to protect and preserve their legacy and promote it to younger generations. And their legacy is tremendous.

The Lumiere Museum is one of the best places to visit in Lyon. Inside the museum, you can see all of their discoveries. Things such as Cinematograph, the Photorama, the first cameras, and Kinetoscope. You can also watch the restored Lumiere films. The museum is open all year round between 10 am and 6.30 pm. The only exceptions are January 1st, May 1st, and December 25th.

5. Parc de la tête d'Or

A lot of bright pink flowers make Parc de la tête d'Or one of the best places to visit in Lyon. See the beautiful flora in the Parcs botanical garden. This is a great place for a whole family to visit. A beautiful urban park sprawled across 290 acres. It's one feature that makes Lyon incredibly attractive for families with kids, whether they are just tourists or planning to move there permanently.

Lately, more and more people have chosen it to be their new home. And according to research from Safari Movers Atlanta experts, wanting a better environment for their kids is one of the main reasons people decide to move these days. It has a zoo with many diverse animals that is free of charge for visitors. It's an educational and entertaining experience that's great for adults and kids.

Then the incredible Jardin Botanique du Parc de la Tête d'Or (Botanical Garden of the Golden Head) will dazzle you with wild and beautiful flora, which is also free of charge. It has existed since 1857, and it is France's biggest botanical garden. Another great feature is the grandiose iron gate Porte des enfants du Rhône (Gate of the children of the Rhône), that's been fencing the park since 1901.

6. Gallo-Roman Museum of Lyon-Fourvière

It was on Fourvière hill where the old Lugdunum, capital of Gaul, was founded. Here you can see the Roman legacy of the city, with its Roman theaters and the Gallo-Roman Museum.

7. Parc de la Tête d'Or

The Parc de la Tête d'Or has an impressive zoo and an equally impressive set of gardens and greenhouses.

8. Cathédrale Saint-Jean-Baptiste

The Lyon Cathedral is located at the foot of the Fourvière hill. It is located in the heart of the Vieux Lyon district, surrounded by bouchons, the typical Lyon restaurants.

9. Place des Terreaux

The city is on the confluence of two great French rivers - the Saône and Rhône. The heart of this city is squeezed into the Presqu'île. Place des Terreaux is one of the most beautiful squares that we can see in this neighborhood, called Presqu'île by the peninsula formed by the rivers Saona and Ródano before its confluence.

Here is the Hôtel de Ville, Lyon, which is one of the most beautiful town halls we can find in Europe, and the Bartholdi fountain, named after its author, Frederic Auguste Bartholdi, who designed this fountain on behalf of France (the woman) and its four most important rivers (horses).

It is impossible to make a mistake here. The Jacobins square is located in the heart of the Presquill district. Its magnificent white-marble fountain is surrounded by classic-style houses. From here you should go to the passage Arg, a covered gallery with specialized shops (hats, watches, cutlery).

10. Place Bellecour

Place Bellecour, the largest pedestrian square in Europe is one of the most popular places in Lyon. The statue of Louis XIV on horseback dominates the square, from which the most important shopping streets of the city depart.

In conclusion

So just because everyone else is going to Paris doesn't mean you have to as well. As we said, there is so much more France has to offer. So these were the best places to visit in Lyon. Hopefully, they inspired you to go and visit this incredible city. But no matter where you are going, go with a plan of things you want to see and stay safe.

Make a list of all the things you have to bring and all the places you want to visit. Be open to new things and the culture of the place you are visiting. And most importantly, don't forget to enjoy yourself. That is the whole point of traveling. Exploring the world and everything it has to offer, all the while enjoying every step of the way. For the adventurous, consider a day excursion to Geneva by train.

Kalyan Panja