Halfway between Marseille and Paris, Lyon France is a sometimes forgotten gem in France. However, the city centre has UNESCO World Heritage status for it’s well preserved beauty and beautiful architecture from a wide range of periods.
Lyon is the perfect destination for foodies, with Lyonnaise cuisine being some of the highest quality, most indulgent and most reasonable in the world.
Musee des Beaux-Artes
This gorgeous art museum has the pull of its main rival The Louvre, but without the huge crowds. Set in a palatial former convent, the museum has collections of some of the best art in history from around the world. The gallery contains world famous works by Degas, Matisse, Delacroix, Picasso and Miro. The work also has a breathtaking historical range, from ancient Egyptian busts through to 20th century modern art.
Fete Des Lumieres
On December 8th, the city of Lyon praises the Virgin Mary in the most spectacular fashion: through the Festival of Light. Now an internationally famous event, those living in the city line their windows and garden with lit candles, providing a spectacular sight across the city. Major buildings in the city are lit up in different colours, and the main square, the Place de Terraux hosts a spectacular light show with a different theme every year.
The festival lasts four days around the main December 8th event, with evening activities and celebrations happening all over the city, including live music, fireworks, artist installations and laser shows. Remember to book ahead, as hotels fill up quickly during the festival.
Things to Do
Try Lyonnaise Cuisine
France is known for its brilliant food, but Lyon is arguably the best destination in France for foodies. Lyonnaise cuisine is rustic yet elegant, using simple and local ingredients cooked with finesse. Famous dishes include Potatoes Lyonnaise, cooked with parsley and onions in butter, rich meaty Coq au Vin and Rossete de Lyon, a thickly cut cured sausage. Lyon cuisine is rich, fatty and very often meaty (vegetarians beware!). For an authentic experience, look for a ‘Bouchon’, a cosy restaurant that will serve hearty Lyonnaise dishes for a very low price.
Go Wine Tasting
Alongside the brilliant cuisine, Lyon is also a centre for amazing wine. Sandwiched between the Cote de Rhone and the Burgundy wine growing areas, local wine in Lyon is some of the best. There are wine bars and wine tasting experiences across the city, and day trips to local vineyards. La Cave De Cote is a great place to start your wine tasting experience, with reasonable local wines hand picked and served alongside platters of local meats and cheeses. A true indulgence!
Where to Stay
Located in the cobbled streets of the old town, Le College is a beautiful mid budget hotel with a roof terrace with gorgeous city views, beautiful bright white bedrooms and a quirky, authentic style.
For five star luxury, the Villa Florentine is a decadent spot in the city centre, complete with a relaxing pool and a great location right in the city centre.
There is a wide range of hostels in Lyon, but the SLO Living Hostel has one of the best locations, local art on the walls and comfortable beds at a great price.