Guide to Lyon – The Most Underrated City in Europe
Lyon may not be everyone’s first choice when visiting France, but there are many reasons why this city is consistently rated as one of “The Most Underrated Cities in Europe.” With a plethora of museums, gourmet restaurants, beautiful scenery, UNESCO sites, and enough shopping stores to make any shopaholic feel like in paradise, there are plenty reasons to put this city on anyone’s travel itinerary.
So here’s a guide on what to do, where to stay, and where to eat, when you visit Lyon.
Things to do in Lyon
Musée des Confluence
The Museum of Confluence is one of my favorite museums. The ultra-modern design – a step outside the box from the conventional museums in France – will surely captivate you.
Musée des Beaux-Arts de Lyon
In the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Lyon you will find exhibitions dating back to the Roman Empire – If you didn’t know, Lyon was part of the Roman Empire. As a bonus, the museum has a lovely restaurant overlooking the courtyard.
Amphitheater of the Three Gauls
Discover the Roman Empire’s legacy in Lyon. The Roman Amphitheater is one of the oldest structures of its kind in France. The site’s also part of UNESCO World Heritage. To learn more about Lyon’s rich history, visit the Museum of Gallo-Roman Civilization.
Quartier Saint-Jean and Quartier Saint-Georges – Vieux Lyon
Travel back in time in Vieux Lyon and explore the old town’s charm. Make sure to stop by the ice cream place for a delicious treat!
Parc de la Tete d’Or
Parc de la Tete d’Or is one of my favorite parks. The massive place features a rose garden, greenhouses, a botanical garden, and a zoo.
Colline de la Croix-Rousse
La Place Bellecour is a large plaza located in the heart of Lyon. I love taking a stroll around the square and then head to the shopping area – Rue de la Republique. I mean, I’m already there right?
Rue De La Republique
This shopping street is the place to go. If you visit Lyon, Rue de la Republique is a must even if it’s only to partake in window-shopping and people-watching. I love spending the day here shopping and eating my way through the street.
Visit the Farmer’s Market
·Marché de Monplaisir
Where to stay in Lyon
If you are planning to stay in an Airbnb, these districts are the best areas in the city.
District 6 – Brotteaux is the wealthiest neighborhoods in the city. It’s at walking distance to Parc de la Tete d’Or.
District 2 – Presqu’ile is the heart of the city. Everything is at a walking distance.
To understand where is each district, you can check it out here.
If you want to pamper yourself in Lyon, check out:
5 Stars Hotel Le Royal Lyon – MGallery by Sofitel
4 Star Okko Hotels
4 Star Hôtel Mercure
Where to dine in Lyon
Lyon is a foodie’s paradise. With a plethora of bouchons and Michelin star restaurants, is no secret Lyon is the culinary capital of the world. So when in Lyon, one must dine at one of their traditional bouchons – quaint restaurants that serve traditional Lyonnaise cuisine.
Did you know? Lyonnaise take pride on their bouchons! They even award certifications to the most authentic establishments in the city – you can find them here.
You may be surprised to find out that many Michelin star restaurants in Lyon are under 100€ and some are even under 50€. Go for lunch on weekdays and experience fine dining cuisine at a very affordable price.
Michelin Star Favorites
This restaurant is one my boyfriend’s favorite and the view from the restaurant is one of my favorite of the city. Their set lunch menu is only 50€.
If you are looking for a more romantic setting, this may be for you. The view is gorgeous and the best part is: their set menu starts at 39€!
If you want to visit the mother of Michelin star restaurants, you must check out Paul Bocuse. The restaurant holds the record for the longest three Michelin stars holder; not to mention Chef Paul Bocuse, he is a legacy in the culinary world.
Although this is not the most innovative restaurant for a three Michelin star, it is indeed a place where all foodies must visit at least once in their lifetime.
For more Michelin star restaurants visit the Michelin Travel Guide.
If you want to give your wallet a break or you simply want to grab something quickly, convenient stores sell delicious and freshly prepped food.
Tip: One of my favorite things to do when visiting a country, is to check out the grocery stores. I pick up a few of the local snacks and have fun tasting them back at the hotel. If I love something, I go back for more bring them as a souvenir for myself friends and family.
Fête des Lumières
Lyon’s most famous festival is the Fête des Lumières. For three nights – December 7th-10th – the city transforms its buildings into a spectacle of lights. Although I have yet to attend this festival, thousands of visitors flocking to the city will agree, it’s the most spectacular event of the year.
If you are visiting during the holidays, don’t forget to check out the Christmas market and indulge in everything that you can only find during the holiday season.
The train and metro system in Lyon is very convenient and easy to navigate.
For the metro, you can purchase individual tickets or a day pass. For more information check out their website here.
From the airport – there is an express train that takes you to Lyon Central Station. You can get one-way or a return ticket at the vending machine. From there you can take the metro.
From the train station – if you are arriving by train, you can easily transfer to the metro.
If you plan to visit the French capital and have a few days to spare, Lyon is a must. For less than 50€ and under 2 hours by train, you’ll get to enjoy a different side of France.