The Lyonnais are utterly obsessed with food. From the hearty working man’s fare served at the city’s traditional “bouchons” (Lyon’s answer to the bistro) all the way up to the finest cuisine imaginable, a trip to Lyon is an opportunity to eat till your heart’s content. And invariably much more.

The Old Town

Home to more restaurants per square metre than any other place on earth the Old Town, or Vieux Lyon as it is locally known, is a wonderful mess of cobbled lanes and Gothic and Renaissance architecture. It also has surprisingly high number of English pubs and does have a tendency to get quite touristy.

Drinks on a Peniche

The east bank of the river Rhône around Pont Guillotiere is home to what is undoubtedly the city’s most beautiful spot for a drink. Take a seat on any one of the converted barges that line the river and bask in the glory of both the Hotel Dieu (a remarkable and imposing hospital built in the 18th century) and the Basilica Notre-Dame de Fourviere in the summer sun. By night, many of the barges transform into floating night clubs.


If you’re looking for something to do between meals, Lyon is host to a number of decent museums, the best of which is probably the Musée de Beaux Arts de Lyon, whose collection is second only in France to that of the Louvre. The Textile Museum, housing an impressive array of fine silks and tapestries from through the ages in an eighteenth century palace, is also very good if you fancy something a bit different.

The Alps

In both the winter and summer months, the Alps are utterly spectacular, and Lyon is the perfect launch pad for a visit. It is only an hour to Grenoble on the train, even less by car, and from there the many resorts, traditional villages and looming peaks are all within easy reach.


Some of the world’s great wine growing regions, most notably the Beaujolais and Côtes du Rhône areas, are directly accessible from Lyon. With not many organised tours available, however, the best way to discover them is to hire a car for a day or two and head out into the countryside to do it yourself.