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Exploring Lyon: A Guide To The Best Activities & Attractions in Lyon, France 🇫🇷

Lyon is the third largest city in France and the capital city in France’s Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region. Lyon's centre reflects 2,000 years of history from the Roman Amphithéâtre des Trois Gaules, medieval and Renaissance architecture in Vieux Lyon, to the modern Confluence district on Presqu'île peninsula. I visited Lyon to simply visit a friend, but I didn't expect that I would enjoy it so much.


10 Top Things to Do in Lyon

1. La Basilique Notre Dame De Fourvière (The Basilica Of Notre-Dame De Fourvière)

La Basilique Notre Dame de Fourvière is a minor basilica in Lyon that was built between 1872 and 1896. The basilica is situated in a great position overlooking the city. It is open everyday from 07:00 until 20:00. This should take you about 15 minutes.

2. Musée Des Confluences (Confluence Museum)

Musée des Confluences is a science centre and anthropology museum, it was opened back in 2014 and it is located in the 2nd arrondissement. The museum is closed on Tuesday, and it is open the rest of the days from 10:30 until 18:30. It is better to buy tickets online prior to your visit to avoid queues, but you can buy tickets once you arrive at the museum, the ticket costs €9. This should take you between 1 and 2 hours.

3. Cathédrale Saint-Jean-Baptiste (Saint-Jean-Baptiste Cathedral)

Lyon Cathedral is a Roman Catholic church that is located on Place Saint-Jean in central Lyon. This church is dedicated to Saint John the Baptist and is the seat of the Archbishop of Lyon, and the construction of this church was completed in 1476. The church is open on weekdays from 08:15 until 19:45, and on Saturday from 08:15 until 19:00, and on Sunday from 08:00 until 19:45. This should take you about 15 minutes.

4. Place Bellecour (Bellecour Square)

Place Bellecour is a large square located in the centre of Lyon, this is one of the largest open squares in Europe and the third largest in France. This can take as long as you want, you can stay at a cafe or a restaurant near and enjoy a meal or a drink.

5. Teatro Galo-Romano (Ancient Theatre Of Fourvière)

The Ancient theatre of Fourvière is a Roman theatre, it was built on the hill of Fourvière that is located in the centre of the Roman City. This theatre is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is open everyday from 07:00 until 19:00, but the museum is open from Tuesday to Friday from 11:00 until 18:00, on weekends from 10:00 until 18:00, and the library is open from Tuesday to Friday from 13:00 until 17:00. The museum ticket costs €4, but entrance is free on first Sunday of every month. You can purchase tickets while there or you can save time and purchase them online. This should take you about 30 minutes.

6. Musée Des Beaux Arts (Museum Of Fine Arts Of Lyon)

The Museum of Fine Arts is filled with ancient and modern paintings, sculptures, and artefacts. The museum is closed on Tuesdays, and open the rest of the days from 10:00 until 18:00, expect Friday it is open from 10:30. You can buy tickets at the museum or you can save time and buy them online. The ticket costs €8 for collections, and €12 for exhibitions. This should take you about 1 hour.

7. Musée Cinéma Et Miniature (Museum Of Cinema Miniature)

This is the Museum of hyper-realistic, miniature everyday scenes, plus movie props & special effects exhibits. This is one of my favourite places in Lyon, I enjoyed it so much and I feel like not many people know about it, I have a friend who lived in Lyon and didn't know about this museum, so this is a must when visiting Lyon. This should take between 1 and 2 hours.

8. Place Des Terreaux (Terreaux Square)

This is another square located in the center of the Lyon on the Presqu'île between the Rhône and the Saône. It is located at the foot of the hill of La Croix- Rousse in the 1st arrondissement. This square belongs to the zone classified as the UNESCO World Heritage Site. This can take as long as you want, you can stay at a cafe or a restaurant near and enjoy a meal or a drink.

9. Mur Des Canuts (Canuts Mural)

This is a gigantic mural depicting ordinary life in the La Croix-Rousse, it is painted on a huge wall and it was created in 1987. This can take as long as you want, you can stay at a cafe or a restaurant near and enjoy a meal or a drink.

10. Vieux Lyon (Old Lyon)

This is the largest Renaissance district in Lyon and the city's oldest one as well. Taking a walk around this district is nice and calming, I enjoyed taking a walk there, you will also find a variety of cafés and restaurants. This can take as long as you want, so you can stay at a cafe or a restaurant near and enjoy a meal or a drink.


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How To Get To Lyon

It is easy to get to Lyon by plane at the Lyon Saint Exupéry Airport, there are flights from all over Europe nearly everyday, so depending on where you are, it might be easy to get there. You can find cheap flights on WayAway. Also, if you are in Europe, you can easily find train and buses through Omio, FlixBus, and My favourite app to use whenever I am in Europe is Omio!


How To Move Around Lyon

Once you reach Lyon, the airport is connected to a train station so it easy to get into the city from there. When moving around the city you can get the metro or the tram, you can buy tickets from any metro station or from a tram stop, you will find ticket machines at each stop. Also be aware that you need to validate your ticket once you get on your mode of transport of choice, this is important to not forget.


Best Time To Visit Lyon

You can visit Lyon all year long, during the summer it is hot and you can go canoeing or go on a boat rides. During winter it is also nice since the Alps are nearby as well as the attractions within the city, and also during winter you can witness the Festival of Lights (Fête des Lumière) in December.

The best time to visit Lyon is in September & October. At this time, all the summer tourists would have left the city and it won't be as crowded as it normally would be, and also the weather would be nice, not too hot and not too cold. If you are looking for the best prices, then you would have to visit between November & April, but be aware that it would be cold during that time.


Accommodations In Lyon

The best area for tourists to stay in is Presqu'île, this area occupies the land between the Rhône and Saône rivers and comprises the 1st, 2nd and 4th arrondissements. You can find hotels and Airbnbs in that area easily.

You can book your accommodation through, which is the one I use the most, or if you wan to stay in a hostel you can book through HostelWorld. You can also use Agoda, Trivago, or Vrbo to book your accommodations. I know most people have a favourite website or app to use, so just choose what you prefer best.


Best Cafes & Restaurants In Lyon

  • Slake (Gluten-free options, vegan friendly, French cuisine)

  • Diploid (Gluten-free options, vegan friendly, French cuisine)

  • Akle - Le Comptoir A Mezzes (Vegan friendly, Lebanese cuisine)

  • Sabai Sabai (Gluten-freen options, vegan friendly, Asian)

  • Le Roi Falafel (Vegan friendly, Lebanese cuisine)

If you wan to find more cafes & restaurants to try, then you can do so through TripAdvisor.



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