France has so many incredible destinations to explore. But while many tourists head straight to Paris or the French Riviera, Lyon is well worth a visit.
I travelled to the city last summer as part of a longer interrail trip and would definitely recommend it.
The capital of France’s Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region, Lyon city centre sits on the banks of the Rhone. It’s easily reachable by train from Paris or on a short flight from the UK.
While many local residents live in the more modern part of the city, Vieux Lyon is where most of the city’s top tourist attractions are located.
Visible from much of the city centre, the ornate Basilique Notre Dame de Fourviere sits on a hill and was one of the first things on my to-do list.
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Climbing to the top of Fourviere Hill isn’t the easiest walk but it’s well worth it for the incredible views from the top.
The Basilique’s architecture is incredible with intricate designs throughout the building. There is a cafe at the top of the hill but it is a little pricier than similar places in town.
At the bottom of the hill, I loved exploring Vieux Lyon which has a maze of shops, cafes and restaurants. However, as a non-meat eater, I wasn’t able to enjoy a meal at one of the city’s traditional bouchons.
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A bouchon serves Lyonnaise cuisine with heavy emphasis on meat dishes such as coq-au-vin and duck. If you do eat meat, it’s definitely worth sampling the cuisine, although I’d recommend heading outside of Vieux Lyon for a better price.
Lyon’s a quirky city and don’t miss exploring its famous traboules in the Old Town. Once secret passageways, the traboules were originally used by silk merchants to transport products.
Although some traboules are under private ownership, a few are open to the public and it’s worth taking a peek.
If you’re travelling during the summer, make sure to visit the Tete d’Or, Lyon’s largest park which has a boating lake and turtles.
Prefer to explore the south? Check out one of France’s lesser visited cities which isn’t far from the coast.
Looking for a winter break? One of Europe’s prettiest winter cities is the ideal place to explore during December.
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