How To Spend a Day Like a Local in Lyon, France
Last October was my third time visiting Lyon in less than two years. Spending time in this charming city like a local has made Lyon feels like a second home. Also, it doesn’t hurt to have a local personal guide – a.k.a. My boyfriend – to take me to all the right places. But there is something about exploring a city like a dweller that makes it all more captivating. So here are seven things you could do too to feel like a local while visiting Lyon.
1. Shop at the Farmer’s Market
One of my favorite things to do when exploring a city is to check out the outdoor markets. Luckily in Lyon, it’s the way to shop for groceries. Opening daily – except for Monday – The Marché de Croix Rousse is one of the best outdoor markets in town. You will find it at the Place de la Croix-Rousse extending along the boulevard with the same name. And what a treat for the senses! The pretty flowers’ aroma, the colorful vegetables and fruits, and of course, drool-inducing spit-roasted chickens.
My boyfriend and I spent one morning shopping for groceries to stock up our kitchen, as we love to cook at home. I was overwhelmed – in a good way- with all the delicious food I wanted to try. But what struck me most about the market were the fresh fruits and how different they taste compared to the U.S. They were so sweet and full of flavors! I bought three little batches of organic raspberries, figs, and strawberries – at the organic section – to eat at breakfast or picnic. And of course, we couldn’t pass on that perfectly roasted chicken!
My recommendation: Visit on Sunday and stock up your fridge. If you are not planning to cook at home, shop for prepared food and fruits to either eat at home or pack for a picnic.
Tip: For instant credibility, bring a grocery bag! It will come in handy too.
2. Picnic at Parc de la Tete
Parc de la Tete is the perfect place for a picnic. The park is a very popular spot for locals to get together or spend time with nature. Every time I visit Lyon, a stroll in the park is a must. The zoo and the flower garden make this park one of my favorites.
3. Get bread from the local bakery
Who doesn’t love warm and freshly baked bread? As you explore the city, find a local bakery or boulangerie – it won’t be hard – and wander in. Let the bread’s aroma speak to you, the variety of bread and pastry are infinite. The different bakeries will carry different kinds of baked goods so don’t settle in one place and try different shops. Even as a local, one will discover new bakeries regularly.
Tip: Delicious baked goods are hard to resist but don’t get them all at once. Come back for more afterward so you can have fresh bread every time!
Visiting Lyon soon? Check out the complete guide here.
4. Enjoy a drink outside
Locals love to enjoy a beautiful day out. Some may even sneak out a few minutes early from work to grab a drink with friends at the local café or brasserie. Blame the beautiful weather or the friendly people, but hanging outside is a must in Lyon.
5. Shop at specialty stores
Nowhere in Europe have I seen specialty stores as they do in France, especially Lyon. A store that only sells mustard? Checked, Just frozen culinary food? Checked, Just duck meat and byproducts? Checked and checked. Yes, Lyon is packed with specialty stores that only sell a very narrow line of products. And let me tell you, they are oddly fascinating. Yes, there are grocery stores where you can find everything in one place, but the experience of shopping for a product and checking out its vast variety is more exciting than a few dull choices – hundreds kind of chocolate? Yes, please!
6. Watch the sunset from Fourvière Hill
Enjoy a spectacular view at the top of Fourvière Hill. With the two rivers running through the city and colorful sunsets, the scenic view is a hit among locals, couples, and visitors. You can make your way up and down on the funicular or by foot if you want an excellent workout for your glutes.
7. Dine out
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