10 reasons you will fall in love with Lyon!

Lyon is one of the oldest cities in France and the third in terms of population. This is the city of the author of the “The Little Prince” – Antoine Saint-Exupéry, the Lumière brothers and one of the most acclaimed chefs of French cuisine – Paul Bocuse. The city has many great places to see, several of which are classified World Heritage sites by UNESCO. Lyon is a city where it feels good to live. Below, you will find my selection of 10 reasons why you will fall in love with this city! Let’s get started!

 

1.Old city

The old city of Lyon dates to the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. Strolling along the cobbled streets, you can feel the atmosphere of those ages. It is no surprise this district is listed as a UNESCO site. The most famous streets are: rue Saint-Jean, rue du Bœuf, rue des Marronniers, rue Mercière (the most touristic one) and the very charming square – Place de la Trinité. Take a look at some photos.

2.Beautiful architecture

Lyon is a mix of architectural styles. The city combines modern style with those of the Middle Ages, the Renaissance and the 17th and 19th centuries. In the Lyon Old Town you can see colorful facades, old courtyards with charming balconies and the “traboules”, the passageways which connect two buildings (typical for the local architecture). In the city center there are buildings with characteristic copper roofs, while in the Confluences district you will find modern office and residential buildings.

3.Views!

In Lyon you will find several places offering a breathtaking view of the entire city. The best of these are: the view from the Basilica of Notre-Dame de Fourvière (personally, I prefer the one from the rose garden “jardin du rosaire” situated at the foot of the basilica), and the view from the Croix Rousse district. However, my favorite place with a view is the Ancient Theatre, to the right of the Fourvière. I love to sit on the theater ruins and read a book or simply enjoy the beautiful panorama of the city and take a rest.

 

4.Lyonnaise cuisine

Combining the influences of the north (butter, cream) and the south of France (olive oil and vegetables), Lyon is often considered the capital of French gastronomy. The most popular flavors of the local cuisine are: quenelle (a mixture of creamed fish or meat, sometimes combined with breadcrumbs, served often with béchamel sauce and rice), andouillette (a sausage of coarsely cut tripe), cheese (the most popular Saint-Marcellin cheese), delicatessen, rosette (Lyon’s sausages) and various types of offal (bowels, pates, tripe). At times, it reminds me a bit of Old Polish cuisine. Most of all, it must be fatty and tasty 🙂 . For sure, it must be served with red wine – the most popular being Côte du Rhône or Beaujolais (which come in both white and red). For dessert, I recommend a praline tart. The restaurants serving typical Lyonnaise cuisine are called ‘Bouchons Lyonnais’. You will find them in the old town. The place where you will find and enjoy the highest quality products is the Paul Bocuse Hall, in the third district.

 

5.The picturesque district of Croix-Rousse

Although it looks like a small village, Croix-Rousse is a district of Lyon, situated on a hill. Formerly, the place was known for its weaving industry, while today it is the seat of many artists and designers. Here, at the top of the stairs (the so-called Montée de la Grand Côte), you can admire a wonderful panoramic view of Lyon.

6.Coastal banks

Two rivers flow through Lyon, the Rhône and Saône. They converge in the south of the city. The coastal banks are one of Lyon’s inhabitants’ favorite places to relax. Here, they spend their free time riding bikes, jogging or sitting on the decks of ships and enjoying beer or wine. On the Rhône side of the river you will find more places serving drinks or snacks while on the Saône side, you will come across a trade fair with books and antiques.

 

7.Parks

There are several beautiful parks worth seeing in Lyon and its surroundings. The most famous and most beautiful is the Parc de la Tête d’Or (Park of the Golden Head). It is also one of the largest urban parks in France. In the park you can find a free zoo with giraffes, buffalos, crocodiles, various species of monkeys or birds; a lake where you can eat or take a boat; and a botanical garden – one of the richest gardens in Europein terms of species diversity. Other interesting parks are: the Grand Parc Miribel (Large Miribel Park), with a total area of ​​22 km, a place often chosen by local people for a barbecue, as well as the Parc de Gerland – a great place for skateboarding proponents (this park is located in south Lyon, by the Rhône River).

 

8.Beautiful surroundings

Lyon is located in a very friendly neighborhood. In an hour you can be skiing in the Alps or in three hours you can be in the south of France. Is that not great? Nearby places that are definitely worth seeing are:

– Annecy, a picturesque city, located at the foot of the mountains, is only 1 hour 50 minutes from Lyon. Annecy, is called the “Venice of the Alps”. In addition to romantic canals and colorful houses, here you can take photos -like postcards  with the mountains and the lake in the background.

– Perouges, a medieval town- an ideal place for romantics, located 40 minutes from Lyon

– Lake Bourget, the largest French lake of glacier origin, located 1 hour from Lyon.

 

9.Monuments

I am not a big fan of monuments, but it is impossible to pass by a few of them:

– the Basilica of Notre-Dame de Fourvière with its beautiful mosaics inside

– the Ancient Theater of Fourvière with its wonderful view of Lyon

– museum of miniatures and cinema (Musée minature et cinéma)

– Confluences Museum (museum of anthropology and civilization from prehistoric to modern times)

– Cinematographic Museum of Lumière brothers

10.The Festival of Lights – Fête de Lumières

Every year, around 8 December, the so-called Festivals of Lights takes place in Lyon. For 4 days, Lyon becomes the most colorful and brightly lit city in Europe. It is a time to stroll through the streets and while you wait for colorful animations and performances displayed on the buildings, you can warm up with mulled wine or delicious onion soup (yum yum). This event attracts millions of tourists every year. In fact, the Festival of Lights has a religious background. In the 17th century, when the terrible plague in France reigned, the inhabitants of Lyon asked the Blessed Virgin Mary to stop the illness and, in return, pledged to pay her homage. With time, the statue of the BVM was built, which is still visible on the right side of the basilica. It was originally a small chapel which pre-dates the basilica. In the second half of the nineteenth century, the first pilgrimages were organized to the place of today’s basilica. On September 8, 1852, during one pilgrimage, France suffered great floods. The pilgrimage was postponed until the end of the year. After 3 months, on December 8, the floods stopped and the inhabitants of Lyon set candles in the windows in honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Since 1989, the city has been organizing the Festival of Lights every year.

 

 

So, do you feel like going to Lyon for a few days?  🙂 

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