At the confluence of the Rhone and Saone rivers lies Lyon, a perfect destination to spend a weekend not far from Italy. The French city is an ideal destination for a couple of days of art, history and gastronomy. Since UNESCO declared the historic districts of Fourviere, Vieux Lyon, Croix Rousse and Presqu’ile a World Heritage Site in 1998, the city’s tourist offer has become increasingly rich and today it is one of the most interesting destinations in France. In this article we will tell you what we think are the 5 reasons why you should absolutely visit Lyon.
1. You can eat divinely
Lyon is considered by many the gastronomic capital of France and its offer really satisfies everyone: you can dine in one of the city’s starred restaurants or stop in a typical bouchon. The latter are simple and spartan restaurants that were born in the 19th century when women started to set up their own business and open these typical trattorias. Even today in these small restaurants you can still breathe a familiar atmosphere, the service is friendly and the dishes proposed are those of the authentic Lyonese tradition.
To fully immerse yourself in the gastronomy of the city, we recommend you take part in our Food Tour of Lyon. In this way, you will have the opportunity to stroll through the streets of the city accompanied by a local guide who will not only show you some of the most interesting attractions of Lyon, but also will guide you through the most characteristic places and the best typical dishes of the city. You will taste a series of wines, taste the pike quenelle with rice and finish with a real dive among the best desserts in the city. Are you ready?
2. The old town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site
Another reason why Lyon is really worth a visit is its historic centre which, as we told you at the beginning, has been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
Inside the “Old Town“, the heart of the old town, you can walk through alleys, small squares, old buildings, large churches and the typical Traboules, very characteristic underground passages.
During your visit, remember to visit Place Des Terreaux with the Town Hall and the Museum of Fine Arts and the Cathedral of Sant Jean, but if you’re foodie and passionate about gastronomy, stop by Les Halles Bocuse, the city’s covered market. In this city with a strong gastronomic vocation, it’s worth strolling around the stalls of fruit, vegetables and other foods: visit the markets of Lyon, you won’t regret it!
3. Cinema was born in Lyon
Did you know that cinema was born in Lyon? This is definitely one of the reasons why Lyon is worth a visit!
The Lumière brothers, the inventors of the Seventh Art, were born in this French city and now there is an interesting museum dedicated to them that collects their main inventions. You will be able to admire the ancient cameras and the first films in an exciting journey that will impress even the less experienced cinematic!
4. You can visit the “praying hill” and the “working hill”
In Lyon there are two very peculiar hills.
The hill of Fourvière has been called by the inhabitants of the town “the praying hill” and it is the spiritual centre of the town. Here stand several churches including the most famous Basilica of Notre Dame and the Cathedral of Saint Jean. We recommend you to visit both of them and, if you have time, climb the roof of the Basilica: the view from above is wonderful.
The hill of Croix-Rousse, on the other hand, is called the “working hill“, in fact, here you can find most of the silk factories and workshops of the city. One of the main reasons to visit the Croix-Rousse hill is the Mur de Canuts, the largest mural in Europe. The work, 1000 square meters large, portrays the same neighborhood with its streets, its buildings and its inhabitants. A spectacular work!
5. The city’s museums are all worth a visit
Finally, if you have decided to visit Lyon, you should know that there are really many museums in the city, all extremely interesting. Below we recommend some of them.
- The Museum of Fine Arts. Inside there are works by Italian artists (Tintoretto, Veronese and Guido Reni) and French artists such as Manet, Matisse and Gauguin, but also by Van Gogh, Rubens and Rembrandt. The collection of coins is also very interesting.
- The Museum of Confluences. An innovative and particular museum that was opened in 2014It reflects the history of humanity through multidisciplinary approaches involving scientific and humanistic aspects.
- The Museum of Contemporary Art. If you are interested in contemporary art you should visit this museum. The structure was designed by Renzo Piano and inside it, there is not a permanent exhibition, but from time to time it hosts different artists.
We hope to have intrigued and tempted you to visit Lyon. We are waiting for you to discover together the gastronomy of the city and taste the best typical dishes.