Your Ultimate Guide To Lyon: The REAL City Of Lights

Lyon may be known for the origin of French cuisine, but it has become the Paris of the South with recent developments and expansions. Paris may be known as the City of Love, Lyon is therefore the City of Lights.

Capital of French gastronomy, Lyon is the ideal destination if you wish to discover local wines and products. In addition to spectacular cuisine, Lyon teems with historical sites and monuments. The City of Lights has a rich history that permeates within its nine distinct neighborhoods. With its new hotels, restaurants, and districts; the city establishes itself as a vital tourist destination that never stops reinventing itself. Being a large city with a rich cultural heritage, we recommend spending at least 4 days in Lyon.


Being an important city in France, Lyon is easily reached from the French capital. By train, it is approximately a 2-hour trip which passes by quickly! If you wish to take the car, you will reach Lyon about 4 hours later. It is a beautiful trip as you traverse through multiple different cities!


Visit Old Lyon, or Vieux Lyon

This historical district is listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO and known for its corridors and hidden passageways. First stop Rue de la Martiniere, where you can admire « La Fresque des Lyonnais ». This breathtaking fresco represents a blend of both historical and contemporary figures, such as: Abbé Pierre, Antoine de St Exupery, and The Brother Lumières. Next, head to Les Quais de Bondy for a stroll along the Saône and the Rhône. Finally, pass by the impressive Palace of Justice as well as the Saint John Cathedral to marvel at the oldest astronomical clock in Europe.

Old Lyon
Old Lyon. Photo by Amandine M on Unsplash

Stop at La Basilique de Fourviere

8 Pl. de Fourvière, 69005 Lyon, France

This basilica is one of Lyon’s oldest symbols and an essential part of the city’s landscape. Locally named “The upside-down elephant”, La Basilique de Fourvieres sits on top of a hill in the 5th arrondissement, looming over the entire city much like a guardian angel. Make sure to climb all the way to the top where you can capture the entire view of the city. With its mosaics, stained-glass windows and the unique crypt, the Basilica is the finest example of a combination between Byzantine and Romanesque architecture. Built during the 19th century, the monument is dedicated to the Virgin Mary. When the plague was roaming around Europe, it is believed that the Virgin Mary saved Lyon from it. Therefore, each year on December 8th, Lyon is lit up by candles and lights as a way to remember.

Basilique de Fourvieres
Basilique de Fourvieres. Photo by Bastien Nvs on Unsplash

Le Musée des Confluences

86 Quai Perrache, 69002 Lyon, France

Confluences Museum
Confluences Museum. Photo by Ludovic Charlet on Unsplash

Opened to the public in 2014, Le Musée des Confluences narrates the origin of humanity. Made of glass, steel, and concrete; the museum’s architecture is reason enough to visit. Encompassing scientific and societal knowledge, the science center opens a portal into the start of civilization. Being a huge fan of New York’s Museum of Natural History, Le Musée des Confluences resembles it in certain ways. With the help of more than 2 million artifacts and multimedia installations, dive into mankind’s story and uncover society’s foundations.


Chez Grand-mère         

11 Rue du Bœuf, 69005 Lyon, France

Generosity and comfort meet in this family-like restaurant. Aptly named Chez Grand-mère (meaning, at grandma’s,) the owner – Marilyn – is inspired by her grandmother’s recipes and creates a homely atmosphere. Located in Old Lyon at the end of a little cobblestone street, enter the restaurant by pushing the small wooden door and head downstairs. Exposed stones and a vaulted ceiling enrich the restaurant’s charm and create an intimate atmosphere. Marilyn’s grandma being from Lyon, the menu offers traditional dishes from the region, including: veal head with gribiche sauce and the famous creamy veal kidneys flavored with Port wine. Local, fresh, and home-made are the chef’s mottos. Therefore, don’t forget to try the foie gras fait maison! You will quickly come to appreciate the restaurant’s family spirit. Perfect for a meal between family, colleagues, or friends; Chez Grand-mère welcomes you as you are!

Chez Grand-mère
Chez Grand-mère. FACEBOOK Chez Grand-Mère

Les Halles de Lyon

102 cours la Fayette, 69003 Lyon France

Internationally known, Les Halles de Lyon is a reputable indoor food market offering a wide variety of the finest produce in the country. Opened to the public in the 19th century as a tribute to Lyon’s gourmet food, 48 vendors are spaced out across three floors. Numerous butchers, bakers, fishmongers, and chocolatiers are all present and leave you with an impossible quest: to choose! Bars and restaurants, like: Chez Léon and Le Fer à Cheval, are an ideal base to soak in all the bustle and taste Lyon’s gastronomical dishes. Known as “heaven for food-lovers,” sample every tasty delight you lay eyes on and stroll around the floors to discover this market’s uniqueness.

Les Halles de Lyon
Les Halles de Lyon. FACEBOOK Les Halles de Lyon – Paul Bocuse


44 rue Merciere, 69002 Lyon France