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

Fiston. FACEBOOK Fiston – Restaurants

Opened since 2015, this restaurant is known for its non-stop success by both locals and tourists. Fiston is featured as Lyon’s best “bouchon” – a type of bistro Lyonnais which offers regional gourmet cuisine, like: salade lyonnaise. A la carte: traditional dishes made with fresh and locally grown produce, including: creamy mushroom risotto, marinated scallops…etc. Although we recommend tasting original recipes such as the roasted camembert with potatoes and raw ham. The establishment has an exhaustive list of wine to accompany your plate. The staff is always happy to share suggestions for a wine choice or the main dish. But leave space for the chef’s delicious home-made tiramisu and raspberry pie!


Monkey Club

19 Pl. Tolozan, 69001 Lyon, France

The Monkey Club
FACEBOOK The Monkey Club

This gorgeous cocktail bar is situated in Lyon’s Presqu’île and looks over the hustle bustle of Place des Terreaux. Monkey Club has been around for a good while, but remains to be one of the most popular places to be, known for its vintage bar and tasty cocktails. Imagine stepping inside a curio’s hidden treasure chest and a Victorian’s velour dream, this joint is crowded with the city’s trendsetters and night owls.

Le Sucre

50 Quai Rambaud, 69002 Lyon, France

Near the museum in the Confluence district, an old warehouse transformed into a fun electro club is Le Sucre. Despite the rooftop bar scene is yet to completely flourish in Lyon, you’ll want to grab a drink at Le Sucre’s terrace and gaze over a breathtaking river view. The lineup of DJs that come by to spin for the night make up an international repertoire, especially on weekends. On other days, you’ll find cultural exhibition and events at this cool venue.

Le Sucre

Soda Bar

7 Rue de la Martinière, 69001 Lyon, France

soda bar lyon
FACEBOOK SODA Soul’n Spirits

For a night of beautifully crafted cocktails made by proper mixologists, head over to Soda Bar. When it first opened in 2006, Soda soon became the place to be. Today, it has become a must-visit for those who love to check out local speakeasies or Prohibition-inspired institutions. Expect hip-hop and funk music spinning in the background as you sip on fun concoctions like the Tiramisu Martini.


Hôtel de L’Abbaye

20 Rue de l'Abbaye d'Ainay, 69002 Lyon, France

Quiet and secluded, Hôtel de L’Abbaye is ideally placed between the Rhône and the Saône, just a stone’s throw away from Old Lyon and its main landmarks. Mirroring the architecture of an Italian Palazzo, the edifice was a former Catholic monastery and then converted into a beautiful three-floor hotel, always respecting the original architecture. The interior features a perfect mix of family heirlooms and designer pieces, modernizing the hotel’s historic allure. Evenly spaced out, the 20 rooms are spacious and luxurious, providing contemporary amenities. While there is no spa or pool, the establishment boasts a lavish restaurant offering innovative dishes created with fresh produce. Overlooking the abbey, in an intimate setting, the restaurant is a regional treasure. Every morning, start your day with home-made pastries, bread and local jams, courtesy of the hotel.

Hôtel de L'Abbaye
Hôtel de L’Abbaye. FACEBOOK Hotel de l’Abbaye d’Ainay

Mob Hôtel

55 Quai Rambaud, 69002 Lyon, France

Creative, stylish, and contemporary; Mob Lyon is an avant-garde establishment and the second to open in France (the first being in Paris.) Located in the up-and-coming Confluence neighborhood, the hotel is set between modern exhibitions and the hottest clubs in Lyon. The architecture of the hotel is definitely original and noticeable, as the outside is covered in an orange-colored metal. Pop-up boutiques are evenly spaced out on the lobby floor selling the work of various regional designers. Yoga, Pilates, book club, table tennis, and other services are offered to the hotel’s guests. 99 modish rooms are spread out across the hotel’s four floors with luxurious facilities, such as: an iPad on the nightstand, wooden terraces, and even projector screens. The breakfast is served in an industrial-style salon and offers organic and locally sourced produce. Check the event agenda to attend one of the hotel’s famous rooftop parties!

Mob Hotel

Hôtel Edmond W.

17 Rue Professeur Weill, 69006 Lyon, France

Located in the heart of Lyon in a secluded street, Hôtel Edmond W. offers an escape from the city life while still being in the vicinity of restaurants, bars, and tourist attractions, including Les Halles de Lyon. Within a two-minute walk from the train station, the four-star hotel serves as an idyllic base to visit the city. 32 rooms radiate an ambiance of harmony and peace, featuring private bathrooms, 24-hour security, taxi service, and various other amenities. The staff is welcoming and ensures that your stay is as pleasant as possible. The standard rooms may be small but not lacking in style. In the morning, indulge in the hotel’s gourmet breakfast serving local and fresh fare, including: eggs, pastries, bread, cheese, and various juices. After a bustling day in the city, enjoy the hotel’s terrace which remains a true oasis of peace.

Hôtel Edmond W.
Hôtel Edmond W. FACEBOOK Hotel Edmond W
Eve McGuardian


Eve was born and raised in NYC and later on, moved to Paris. She grew up in an international home and is fluent in both French and English. Every chance she gets, she travels; either to discover a new culture or as a volunteer in an organization. The most memorable cities she has been to are: Ischia, a little island off the coast of Naples for the people, Istanbul for the culture, and Paris for the architecture.

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