12 min read
After our Head of Operations Sam spending 48 hours in Sofia and bringing you some amazing travel recommendations, our Travel Expert Ellis takes you on a journey to Lyon, also known as the 'gastronomic capital of France'.
Ditch that boring old Friday night commute to a weekend of mediocrity for an hour and 45-minute flight to Lyon and a weekend of fun in the sun! You will not regret it.
Located towards the south east of France, Lyon is the third largest city in the country and is absolutely brimming with everything you could need for a dream holiday. Known as the culinary capital of France, Lyon is a foodie’s paradise. With mouth-watering pastries, ice creams and cheeses for sale on every corner, it may be tempting to eat your way into a food coma, but don’t make this mistake! There is so much more to Lyon than its gastronomic scene and you don’t want to miss a thing. From its rich history dating back to the Romans in 43BC, to its impressive and diverse architectural landscape, exploring Lyon’s colourful streets is an amazing experience – and one that you will be bragging about for years to come! As if it could get any better, Lyon is built across two glorious rivers that join at the city’s heart and provide Lyon with a natural beauty to rival its man-made wonders. What more could you ask for?
At BRB, we are all about making your holiday as smooth sailing as possible. So, I have lovingly curated the ultimate 48-hour Lyon itinerary for you to take all the stress out of navigating around a new city. All you have to do is read on and don’t forget to pack your passport!
After a 1 hour and 40 minutes flight from London Gatwick, I land at Lyon Saint-Exupéry Airport (the main airport in Lyon). I want to make the most of my time in the city so I jump in a taxi and head straight to the Staycity Aparthotels Rue Garibaldi to drop off my bag.
Centrally located, at the Staycity Aparthotels Rue Garibaldi you will enjoy the comfort of your own apartment while visiting and exploring Europe's gastronomic capital.
If you enjoy a morning workout and you decided to try out all the delicious food in Lyon, not to worry! Visit the hotel's private gym for a good start of a long day for exploring.
With an average rating of 4.5/5, I'm sure it's going to be a great stay!
The most important meal of the day is breakfast, so what better place to start your holiday than with a bite to eat at Le Grand Café des Négociants. This gorgeous café dates back to 1864 and is the perfect introduction to Lyon’s foodie scene.
Photo Credit: @xoandalmau
From here, make your way to the nearby Place des Terreaux. A UNESCO heritage site, this grand square is a must-visit. At its centre, you find the Bartholdi fountain, inspired by the Apollo basin of Versailles. Overlooking the East side is the majestic City Hall, and to the south you can see the ornate Palais Saint-Pierre and the neighbouring Museum of Fine Arts.
Photo Credit: @cuzcatleque
After admiring the majestic architecture, head into the museum to marvel at one of the best collections of ancient artefacts and paintings in all of France. Egyptian antiquities, masterpieces by Rembrandt, Monet and Degas as well as sculptures by Canova and Rodin all share a roof in this former Benedictine chapel. If your feet get weary, take a moment to pause in the museum’s shaded courtyard garden before venturing on!
Photo Credit: @halfmoon_
Regain your strength by fuelling up at the amazing covered market Les Halles Paul Bocuse. Your senses will be overwhelmed in this massive food hall where stalls sell all sorts of culinary delights from fish, cheese, and bread to charcuterie, pâté and wine. Savour every delectable mouthful as you graze your way around the market and learn exactly why Lyon is so famed for its food.
Photo Credit: @graphub
Continue your explorations with a visit to another of Lyon’s most spectacular squares, La Place Bellecour. Bounded by Napoleonic buildings, this is Europe’s largest pedestrian square. The imposing statue of Louis XIV on horseback is the showstopper here, but make sure to also see the monument celebrating Antoine de Saint-Exupery, the Lyonnaise author of ‘The Little Prince.’
Photo Credit: @385720_
Enjoy the afternoon sun as you head south to the bottom of Lyon’s peninsula where the two rivers join. Not only is the view across the water here spellbinding but this is also the location of one of the city’s boldest new buildings. The Confluences Museum is constructed out of steel, aluminium and glass and is meant to symbolise a floating cloud. The exhibition inside is equally as innovative and interesting, telling the story of mankind by focusing on broad themes of humanity such as origins, societies, and eternities.
Photo Credit: @tadupo.studio
As you venture around, you will learn about the different stories people tell about the beginning of the world and be prompted to consider questions like what happens after we die?
As the sun begins to set, there is no better place to view it from than with a drink at Le Sucre Rooftop Bar. Once a sugar warehouse dating back to the 1930s, this is now one of the most popular spots for an evening tipple amongst trendy locals.
Photo Credit: @lesucrelyon
After whetting your appetite, head for a hearty dinner at one of Lyon’s famous “bouchons.” These are homey, informal restaurants resembling taverns and are cosy, loud and very friendly. The BRB recommendation is Les Culottes Longues but try any of the establishments on the official Bouchons Lyonnais list for a fantastic evening.
Photo Credit: @budavari_dori
Dishes such as andouillette, a regional sausage, and steak with the favourite local cheese Saint-Marcellin are extremely popular choices for good reason.
Lyon isn’t famed for its nightlife but there are definitely some awesome spots for a drink and a boogie if you know where to find them. That’s where my inside knowledge comes in handy! If you fancy modern twists on classic cocktails accompanied by laidback live music try Soda Bar.
Photo Credit: @sodabarlyon
If you’re looking for something more up tempo, try Sonic, a nightclub located on a barge in the Saône river. For the bravest of partiers, try F&K Bistroclub which is housed in the old Brotteaux railway station, has room for 500 people and stays open until 5am! Just remember you have another day of exploring to do in the morning!
Start day two by crossing the Saône river for a lazy morning exploring Lyon’s old district or ‘Vieux Lyon’. It is one of the largest Renaissance neighbourhoods in Europe and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site so ramble around and lose yourself in its picturesque, cobbled streets. As you wander, make sure to visit the majestic Cathedral Saint Jean. Work began on this Gothic church in the 12th century and didn’t finish until the 15th century. Within the cathedral’s spectacular walls is a gorgeous interior and an eye-catchingly intricate astronomical clock from the 17th century.
Photo Credit: @mister__sanchez
Nearby, is the Tour Rose, a pink spiral staircase and an entrance to one of Lyon’s traboules. The traboules are medieval passages that were used by silk merchants to transfer their goods to the riverfront and they are a delightful way to travel through Vieux Lyon. If you get peckish, avoid the many tourist traps and stop for a spot of brunch at Les Retrouvailles.
Photo Credit: @claire__paris
With your energy stores replenished you’ll be ready for the hike up Fouvrière Hill to the Basilica of Notre Dame. Built after the Franco-Prussian war of 1870, this church was erected as a massive thank you to God for sparing the city in the conflict. Its Byzantine-Romanesque style, elaborate stain glass windows, richly decorated interiors and stunning mosaics, are all breath-takingly beautiful.
Photo Credit: @r4_pictures
You won’t be able to tear yourself away!
Just five minutes from the Basilica are the well-preserved remains of the Gallo-Roman theatre and amphitheatre. These astounding structures are a remnant of Lyon’s powerful, ancient past and date back to a time when Lyon was the capital of the province of Gaul and was known as Lugdunum. The amphitheatre still holds 10,000 spectators and is used for concerts to this day.
Photo Credit: @cyrilsebalade
Next up, take some time away from culture and indulge your big kid side at France Aventures. Spread through the treetops is an ariel adventure park that is guaranteed to make you laugh as you tackle the different challenges. Pick a circuit depending on how fearless you are and prepare for all sorts of silliness from climbing ropes and ladders to tackling wobbly net bridges, zip lining and even skateboarding high up in the air! Don’t even try and pretend you are too mature to want to give it a go!
Photo Credit: @franceaventureslyon
As the sun begins to set, get your feet back on solid ground and take a tranquil stroll along the riverfront back to the centre of Lyon. Head down the Rue de la Martiniere and keep an eager eye out for one of Lyon’s most famous murals ‘La Fresque des Lyonnais’. The wall-size painting depicts some of Lyon’s most important residents and is so expertly created that it takes a few moments to realise that it is a single, flat surface.
Photo Credit: @harryapezzi
Since it’s your last night in Lyon, treat yourself to dinner at one of the city’s Michelin star restaurants, Prairial. The menu is constantly changing as the wizard head Chef Gaëtan Gentil carefully sources ingredients from local suppliers, in keeping with the season. One thing is for certain though, the quality of your meal will be out of this world and will leave you wanting to lick the plate clean!
Photo Credit: @cyril_mntg
The sun may have set but your holiday is not over yet! Squeeze the most out of your time in Lyon by getting a nightcap at The Monkey Club. Here, artisan cocktails are served as you relax on elegant velvety furniture in a stylishly chic atmosphere. Sip in style and try to choose the highlight of your holiday!
Photo Credit: @lafrenchfoodie
If like me you love taking short weekend breaks across Europe and spending 48 hours in cities like Barcelona, Prague, Porto, Split, Bologna, Stockholm or Venice, but if like me you hate wasting hours trawling travel sites to plan and research your next weekend break, only to be hit by increased flight prices just before booking, then BeRightBack is for you!
The team at BeRightBack believes that the mission of a travel company should be to save you both time and money.
With BeRightBack, you get three trips a year to three surprise European destinations, all for the monthly cost of £49.99, which includes your return flights and your hotel.
With BeRightBack, creating a trip takes 60 seconds. Simply tell us how you like to travel when you create your account, and our concierge service does everything else for you. You won't have to lift a finger.
Best of all, you always pay the same price for your trips, no matter when you go away and we help you spread the cost of your travel, thanks to our monthly subscription.
I hope you enjoyed my 48 hours city guide to Lyon and do not hesitate to use our website chat or to email us if you have any questions!
Ellis King (Travel Expert at BeRightBack)
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