LYON CITY GUIDE
This 2,000-year-old city in east central France is renowned as one of the country's gastronomic capitals. Boasting thousands of dining spots and dozens of Michelin-starred restaurants, there are few better places in the world for fine dining. It's not all about good food though; Lyon's position between Beaujolais and Côtes du Rhône – two of the country's biggest wine producing regions – means drinking here is also a delight.
Feel the romance of the city as you wander through its secret network of passageways and the historic areas that have made Lyon a UNESCO World Heritage Site
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Old Town Sights in Lyon
The picturesque Vieux Lyon, or Old Town, makes for a great focal point for visitors to this beautiful city. Full of colourful murals, bars and restaurants, locals and tourists alike can be found here enjoying the good things in life. The magnificent Saint Jean Cathedral is only a short walk away, and you can climb to its hilltop counterpart of Basilique de Fourvière for a panoramic view of the city.
You'll find some of Lyon's most iconic sights to the east, particularly around the Place des Terraux. On one side is the 17th century Hotel de Ville (City Hall) a masterpiece of classical architecture. Across the square is the Musée des Beaux Arts, one of France's most notable galleries, while the world-famous Opera House is just a street away at Place de la Comédie. To the south, Place Bellecour is Europe's largest pedestrianised square, and makes for another unmissable stop for tourists.
All of these phenomenal attractions help to cement the city's status as a bastion of French culture, making it a fantastic alternative to Paris.
Interesting Attractions in Lyon
There are lots of exciting things to do in Lyon, with nods both to the past with the numerous museums celebrating France's illustrious heritage, and to the new with theupsurge of hipster neighbourhoods across the city. Developed in the 18th century after the arrival of silk workshops to the area, the district of Croix-Rousse is today full of cool cafés and bars.
To take full advantage of all the city has to offer the Lyon City Card provides unlimited access to public transport as well as discounted access to museums, tourists attractions, restaurants and more.
Adventurous visitors can also make their way through a maze of traboules, or passageways, in the area to find the ruins of the Gallo-Roman Amphitheatre of the Three Gauls to see one of the best views across Lyon.
Movie buffs will love the chance to visit the Institut Lumière, the former home of pioneering brothers Auguste and Louis Lumière, credited as inventors of the moving picture. The art nouveau building has been transformed into a museum, and offers a fascinating insight into the first ever examples of film.
To get away from it all, visit the 290-acre Parc de la Tête d'Or. This huge green space is located on the shores of the Rhône river at the heart of Lyon, and boasts a zoo, merry-go-rounds, go-karts and a botanical garden. For a peaceful day, hire a rowing boat or a pedalo and head out onto the lake at the centre of the park.
This alluring city is scattered with architectural gems – each and every district here tells a story that evokes part of Lyon's rich history.
As well as the grand older constructions though, tourists flock to marvel at the avant-garde constructions springing up across the city, with the district of La Confluence – named after its situation at the meeting point of the Rhône and Saône rivers – a great diversion for those interested in modern design. Billions of Euros have been invested into this area to transform it into an engineering wonderland of gleaming buildings, offbeat apartment blocks and futuristic museums. It's truly fascinating to see these modern creations stand alongside the cobbled streets and Roman buildings of the Old Town.
See one of most dynamic and exciting cities in France by travelling with P&O Ferries today.
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