Things to Do in Lyon

Place Bellecour

Landmarks

Place Bellecour is a seriously sizeable square. Its prodigious expanse makes it one of the biggest in France. Alone in the centre is a statue of the Sun King, Louis XIV, orbited by passers-by. At Christmastime, the square becomes a winter wonderland, complete with ice rink and Ferris wheel. If you’re into rollerblading, head down on a Friday night for a wheeled tour of the city.

Accommodations near Place Bellecour
Rue de la République

Popular Areas

Liberté! Égalité! Consumérisme! Rue de la République is Lyon’s capital of commerce. Its two separate Starbucks should give you an idea of what you’re up against! This shopping street teems with retail fiends and Sunday strollers alike. In fact, the range of passers-by makes it a prime spot to people-gaze. Bag a bench in Place de la République and watch the action unfold.

Accommodations near Rue de la République
  • Rue de la République, 69002 Lyon
Musée des Miniatures et Décors de Cinéma - Maison des Avocats

Museums

“There’s no business like show business!” This museum takes you behind the scenes of numerous Hollywood blockbusters. Its exhibits unveil the cunning trickery and sneaky SFX that have passed unnoticed into cinematic legend. Come face-to-face with cheeky Gremlins and a snarling, animatronic Queen Alien. And in the miniature section, squint at the craft behind detailed dioramas.

Accommodations near Musée des Miniatures et Décors de Cinéma - Maison des Avocats
Basilique Notre-Dame de Fourvière

Landmarks

An altar at altitude. This basilica sits atop Fourvière Hill, surveying the city from up on high. Inside, it’s a cavernous space stuffed with saintly statues, angelic inlays and gleaming gold. Scale the thigh-busting stairs from street level – you’ll be rewarded with vistas that sweep all the way from the city beneath to the mighty Alps on the horizon. Ave Maria!

Accommodations near Basilique Notre-Dame de Fourvière
Théâtres Romains de Fourvière

Theaters

Friends, Romans, countrymen – check out this amphitheatre. Built 2000 years ago, its sweeping cascade of stone steps used to hold 10,000 toga-clad theatre-goers. As you gaze up from the stage, let your imagination fill in the blanks where time’s ravages have left crumbled wall or empty space. To tie the threads of performance old and new, catch the Nuits de Fourvière Festival.

Accommodations near Théâtres Romains de Fourvière
  • 6 Rue de l'Antiquaille, 69005 Lyon
  • Open Monday-Sunday 07:00-19:00. Changes seasonally. Check website for details.
Musée des Beaux-Arts

Museums

Mad about Monet? Gaga for Gauguin? Potty for Picasso? You’re in luck – Lyon’s Fine Arts Museum has all this and more. Grab an audio guide and roam its grand corridors, stopping to inspect brilliant brushwork and sculpted muscle. Peek into the Ancient Egypt section, replete with ornate sarcophagi and the shattered visages of emperors. Head to the leafy garden for a quiet moment.

Accommodations near Musée des Beaux-Arts
Opéra National de Lyon

Theaters

The toast of Lyon. Not only is this a tip-top opera house, it’s a magnificent marriage of old and new styles. Grand, neo-classical columns are interspersed with massive panes, topped by a curved glass roof. This toaster-like shape is the origin of its local nickname – “Le Grille-Pain”. This tuneful toaster regularly cooks up piping hot opera, chamber music and even jazz.

Accommodations near Opéra National de Lyon
Halles de Lyon

Shopping Areas

Give in to temptation! Halles de Lyon - Paul Bocuse is Lyon’s high temple of haute cuisine, a covered market that brims with edible treats. You’ll find the gold standard of fine wines, tangy cheeses and tender charcuterie under one roof. For something typically "Lyonese", crack open a beautiful Beaujolais and tuck into some oysters at one of the stalls.

Accommodations near Halles de Lyon
Parc de la Tête d'Or

Parks

Relax, you’re golden. This park’s gilded gates beckon you in for a laid-back afternoon to end all laze-fests. Wander about the gargantuan garden at your leisure and dip into the greenhouses that sprout out thousands of tropical plants. Then, stroll around Lyon Zoo and watch the Asian lions bask in the sun before you wallow in waffle heaven at specialist café La Gaufrerie.

Accommodations near Parc de la Tête d'Or
Institut & Musée Lumiere

Museums

Charlie Chaplin, Marilyn Monroe, Kevin Bacon… All these people owe their fame to Lyon’s Lumière brothers. In this very house, these moustachioed luminaries invented the cinematograph and recorded the first short film, spawning an art form that would take over the world. Check out their array of inventions inside, or time your visit to catch one of their regular retrospectives.

Accommodations near Institut & Musée Lumiere

Accommodations and Hotels in Lyon

Sofitel Lyon Bellecour

8.4 Very good

Score from 1230 reviews

$184

Average price per night
  • 20 Quai Gailleton, 2nd arr., Lyon
Okko Hotels Lyon Pont Lafayette

9.1 Wonderful

Score from 3077 reviews

$123

Average price per night
  • 14 bis quai Général Sarrail, 6th arr., Lyon
Cour des Loges

8.8 Excellent

Score from 1228 reviews

$258

Average price per night
  • 6, rue du Boeuf, 5th arr., Lyon
Best Western Hotel du Pont Wilson

8.3 Very good

Score from 2360 reviews

$72

Average price per night
  • 6, rue Mazenod, 3rd arr., Lyon
La Résidence

8.1 Very good

Score from 1543 reviews

$112

Average price per night
  • 18, Rue Victor Hugo, 2nd arr., Lyon
Hôtel Le Roosevelt

8 Very good

Score from 742 reviews

$116

Average price per night
  • 48, rue de Sèze, 6th arr., Lyon
Hotel Carlton Lyon - MGallery by Sofitel

9.2 Wonderful

Score from 1337 reviews

$174

Average price per night
  • 4 rue Jussieu, 2nd arr., Lyon
Mercure Lyon Centre Beaux-Arts

8.9 Excellent

Score from 2041 reviews

$101

Average price per night
  • 73-75 Rue du Président Edouard Herriot, 2nd arr., Lyon
Résidence Villemanzy

7.9 Good

Score from 814 reviews

$71

Average price per night
  • 21 Montee St Sebastien, 1st arr., Lyon
Discover Lyon

Popular Neighborhoods in Lyon

2nd arr.

111 properties

Land ho! Positioned between Lyon’s two rivers, La Presqu’île is known as “Almost an Island”. And it’s filled with treasures. Spend your pieces of eight on Rue de la République or in the flashy shopping centre, Confluence. If you’ve worked up a buccaneer’s appetite, set a course for Rue Mercière; this narrow passage is famed for its top-notch eateries.

3rd arr.

73 properties

The sky’s the limit in Part-Dieu. This business district solved its growing need for office space by building upwards. Skyscrapers sprout out of the concrete at ten a penny, from the pencil-shaped Tour Part-Dieu to the glass-bound Tour Incity. To disconnect from the rat race, touch the culinary heavens in chef Paul Bocuse’s Halles de Lyon.

6th arr.

56 properties

A walk in the park. This district straddles Parc de la Tête d’Or, a haven of lawns and lake where locals come to leave modern life behind. On one side of the park, hungry families munch on burgers at Street Art, and bagel lovers are indulged in Chères Cousines. On the other, visiting businessmen set up shop in Cité Internationale Congress Centre.

1st arr.

55 properties

This district never sleeps. During the day, culture vultures flock to Musée des Beaux Arts to feast their eyes on works by Rodin, Renoir and Rubens. At dusk, Opéra de Lyon is a beacon that beckons opera buffs. Join the buzz at joints like Les Fils à Maman (don’t miss the Kinder tiramisu). Then, boogie into the wee hours on Rue Sainte Catherine.

5th arr.

48 properties

Feel the weight of history. Under the watchful eye of the lofty Basilique Notre-Dame de Fourvière, these streets are a maze of revelations. Duck into the “traboules” (narrow alleyways) to see where you end up. Tuck into a hearty lunch in a traditional “bouchon” restaurant before cutting a rug at L'Alibi or La Grange au Bouc.

7th arr.

38 properties

When in Rhône! This riverside district is perfect for a stroll along the banks. On sunny days, locals unwind on the grass on the Berge du Rhône promenade, and cafés waft enticing aromas downstream. Rest awhile before ducking into Argenson Restaurant, famed for its succulent steak tartare. Then cap the day off with a gig at Halle Tony Garnier.

4th arr.

28 properties

La Croix-Rousse is firmly woven into Lyon’s history. This is where the “canuts” (silk workers) used to operate the looms that made the city rich. Head up to Le Gros Caillou viewpoint before making a silky-smooth descent, winding your way past countless Bohemian boutiques flogging funky jewellery, handmade puppets or organic grub.

8th arr.

20 properties

Appearances can deceive. Looking at this quiet district, with its sleepy streets and humble houses, you’d never guess at its huge global significance. But this is the crucible of cinema – the Musée Lumière is where two local brothers made the world’s first motion picture. Catch an afternoon showing before chomping on fine steak at Monplaisir Côté Cour.

9th arr.

12 properties

Vaise is undergoing major remedial work. A Vaise-lift, if you will. Once an industrial heartland, apartments and offices have replaced the factories of old. Grab a “Vélo’v” (city bike) and trundle along the riverbank, or pop across to Île Barbe. Speed freaks can get a risk-free adrenaline fix at the I-Way simulator of Formula 1 and fighter jets.

Local Tips for Lyon

Theatre in la Croix-Rousse
Amandine by Amandine

Amandine recently arrived in Lyon and loves the city’s exciting atmosphere.

If you go to the Croix-Rousse area, you have to stop by Le Rideau Rouge Café-Théâtre! It is definitely the place to go if you want to experience French plays in an authentic theatre!

  • 1 Place Bertone, 69004 Lyon
A drink on top of Musée Gadagne
Carolyne by Carolyne

Carolyne has spent 10 years in Lyon and still enjoys discovering new places within the city.

On top of the Musées Gadagne you will find a terrace with a fantastic view of the Gadagne Gardens, where you can enjoy a drink or some food. And don't worry, you don't need to pay the museum fee to access the terrace.

Mix culture and food at Musée des Beaux-Arts
Marjorie by Marjorie

Marjorie has spent 27 years in Lyon and loves showing her friends around when they come to visit.

If you like art and museums you can admire some beautiful masterpieces at Musée des Beaux-Arts. There is also a courtyard where you can relax on a bench or grab something to eat at Café Les Terrasses Saint Pierre.

  • 20 Place des Terreaux, 69001 Lyon
  • www.mba-lyon.fr
  • Open Monday 10:00-18:00, Wednesday-Thursday 10:00-18:00, Friday 10:30-18:00, Saturday-Sunday 10:00-18:00
Traboules
Hélène by Hélène

Hélène is born and raised in Lyon and says the more she travels the more she loves her home town.

The Traboules are hidden passages and corridors between Lyon’s buildings. One of my favourites is at 24 rue Saint-Jean. Don't hesitate to push the door open to admire the beautiful courtyard. There is another famous one on 9 place Clobert named La Cour des Voraces.

Belvédère Abbé Larue
Mélanie by Mélanie

Mélanie fell in love with Lyon whilst exploring the city’s less known places.

Behind a heavy metal door on Fourvière Hill you will find the Belvédère Abbé Larue. It's a large garden from which you have stunning panoramic views of Lyon. The whole city is at your feet. You can unwind under a tree or play a game to try and recognize the main monuments of the city.

  • Place de L'abbé Larue, 69005 Lyon
  • Open Monday-Sunday 08:00-19:00
Village des Créateurs
Déborah by Déborah

Déborah loves how her home town constantly surprises her with new things to see and do.

Discover the audacity and creativity of local Lyon creators in this concept store for fashion, decoration and design.

Relaxing in Parc de la Tête d'Or
Claire by Claire

Claire and her 3 daughters found all they had dreamed of in a city after moving to Lyon 2 years ago.

Le Parc de la Tête d'Or is one of France's largest urban parks covering a total of 105 hectares including a 16-hectare lake. The locals love coming here to unwind. You can see people running, having a picnic or watching the African plain in the zoo with their children.

  • Place Général Leclerc, 69006 Lyon
  • www.lyon.fr
  • Open Monday-Sunday 06:30-20:30. Changes seasonally. Check website for details.
See what other visitors said

Recommended in Lyon

Get the Lyon City Pass which opens doors to most of the sights and experiences. It includes a ride on the funicular to the cathedral and Roman ruins, other public transportation, museum admissions, a guided tour of the Midieval City where the guide literally opens doors to hidden passageways you would not find, explore or understand on your own. It also includes a boat tour on the Rhone and Saone rivers which run through the heart of the city.

The Old town at the foot of the Fourviere Hill is full of narrow alleys and streets which are abundant in interesting shops. By Place bellecour there is Voisin Chocolate shop which is a very tasty institution.

They are very interesting, easy to underestimate if you see a modest entrance way. However, beware that Lyon seems to almost shut down on a Monday. Plan around this if you are there for a full week.

Walk around, look up at the fine architecture....like Paris in many ways. See modern additions from a river boat trip.

The view and that the whole cathedral is accessible for wheelchairs

Booking.com asked travelers...

Why do you recommend Lyon for food?

Fresh local foods in many cafes

eat where the locals are eating

Musée des Beaux-Arts

French bouchon.

Transportation

Lyon Transportation

Air – Lyon Saint-Exupéry Airport

The easiest way to reach Lyon Saint-Exupéry Airport is by tram (Rhône Express). It takes 30 minutes to get to Lyon and runs every 15 minutes from 06:00–21:00, and every 30 minutes from 21:00–00:00 and 04:25–06:00. A one-way ticket costs EUR 15.90 (EUR 13.20 for 12 to 25-year-olds, free for under-12s), while a return ticket costs EUR 27.50. Tickets can be bought at machines or online, where they are slightly cheaper. A taxi to Lyon would cost between EUR 50 and EUR 75.

Train

Trains in Lyon are mainly used to reach the suburbs or other cities, such as Paris and Marseille. You can get a TGV (high-speed train) from Lyon Part-Dieu or Lyon Saint-Exupéry, by the airport. Alternatively, regular SNCF trains run from the city-centre stations, Lyon Part-Dieu and Lyon Perrache. Tickets can be bought online, or at counters and machines in stations. Remember to validate your ticket in the station before getting on the train.

Metro

Lyon has 4 metro lines (A, B, C and D) which can be used to travel across the city centre. Stations are easily identified by their red ‘M’ sign. You can buy tickets at machines in the stations or at tram stops, and a single ticket costs EUR 1.80. The metro runs from 05:00–00:00 every day apart from 1st May, when there’s no service.

Tram

There are 5 tram lines which run across the city and out to the airport. Trams run approximately from 05:00–00:00 every day (except 1st May, when there is no service). A ‘T’ sign marks the platform, where you can buy tickets from machines. A single ticket costs EUR 1.80 and can be used on the tram, bus, metro. Make sure you validate your ticket once you’re on the tram.

Bus

Lyon has over 100 main bus lines around the inner and outer city, run by the TCL bus, tram and metro network. White and red-coloured buses run daily from 05:00–00:00 for most lines (be aware that some lines stop around 22:00). A single ticket will cost EUR 2 on the bus, or EUR 1.70 if bought at a machine in a metro station, at a tram stop or bus stop. Bus tickets need to be validated once you’re on board.

Funicular

Lyon’s funicular railway is made up of 2 lines, used mainly to travel to landmarks including Fourvière Hill. You can spot the bright red trains throughout the city, and buy tickets at the machines next to the stop. The funicular runs from 05:23–00:00 (F1 line) and 06:00–22:00 (F2 line) and a return ticket (on the same day) costs EUR 2.80.

Taxi

There are 12 main taxi ranks around the city, available 24 hours a day. A minimum fare of EUR 7 applies, with day rates operating from 07:00 until 19:00 – after that, a higher night rate will apply. It also applies on Sundays and bank holidays. Bear in mind that there is usually a surcharge for motorway toll fees and an extra charge of EUR 1.62 for pick-ups and drop-offs at the airport, Lyon Perrache and Lyon Part-Dieu railway stations and the Parc d’Exposition de Chassieu.

Bike

Lyon is a good city for cycling and has over 320 km of bike routes. Red and grey Vélo'v bikes can be hired at any time from over 300 bike stations dotted around the city: the first 30 minutes of use are free of charge, while a 1-day ticket costs EUR 1.50 and a 7-day ticket costs EUR 5. Users need to be over 14 years old.

Food in Lyon

Top Restaurants in Lyon

Upscale Dining
French
L'Espace
Mid-Range Fare
Italian
Caffé Italien
  • 3 Quai Antoine Riboud, 69002 Lyon
  • Open Monday to Saturday 12:00–14:30 and 19:00–22:30, Sunday 11:00–16:00
  • 0033 4 72 32 90 44
Upscale Dining
French
Le Comptoir des Marronniers
Mid-Range Fare
Japanese
Chez Fyfy
Mid-Range Fare
French
Le Ré-Confort
Upscale Dining
French
Brasserie Le Sud
Upscale Dining
French
La Tassée
Mid-Range Fare
French
Brasserie Georges
Mid-Range Fare
French
The Salmon Shop
Mid-Range Fare
Brazilian
Sambahia
Mid-Range Fare
Brazilian
Le Pain de Sucre
Mid-Range Fare
Desserts
A La Marquise
Cheap Eats
Mediterranean
Le Roi Falafel
Mid-Range Fare
Local
L'Amphitryon
Mid-Range Fare
Japanese
Ramen Shop
  • 10 Rue Palais Grillet, 69002 Lyon
  • Open every day 11:00–14:30 and 18:00–22:30
  • 0033 4 78 05 70 68
Mid-Range Fare
Italian
Chez Carlo
  • 22 Rue Palais Grillet, 69002 Lyon
  • Open Tuesday to Saturday 12:00–14:00 and 19:00–23:00, Sunday 12:00–14:00
  • 0033 4 78 42 05 79
Mid-Range Fare
Irish
Johnny's Kitchen
Mid-Range Fare
American
BIEH
  • 4 rue Tupin, 69002 Lyon
  • Open Monday to Thursday 12:00–14:30 and 18:00–22:30, Friday 12:00–14:30 and 18:00–23:00, Saturday to Sunday 12:00–23:30
  • www.bieh.fr
  • 0033 4 78 59 61 45
Upscale Dining
Gourmet
La Mère Brazier
Cheap Eats
Bakery
Boulangerie JD
  • 39 Cours de la Liberté, 69003 Lyon
  • Open Tuesday to Friday 07:00–19:30, Saturday 07:00–18:30, Sunday 08:30–12:30
  • 0033 4 78 60 88 71
Cheap Eats
Bakery
Les Délices de Charlie
  • 249 Cours Lafayette, 69006 Lyon
  • Open Monday to Satruday 07:00–19:00, Sunday 07:00–13:00
  • 0033 4 72 74 40 53
Upscale Dining
French
Le Jean Moulin
Upscale Dining
French
Institut Paul Bocuse
Upscale Dining
French
Brasserie l'Est
Cheap Eats
Turkish
Uskudar
  • 26 Rue de Marseille, 69007 Lyon
  • Open Monday to Saturday 11:00–00:00
  • 0033 4 37 28 54 89
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