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  • Writer's pictureElsa M.

Your next French trip: A Guide to Lyon

Are you tired of visiting Paris and not knowing where else to go in France? Visit Lyon during your next trip! It is the third biggest city in France, located close to Switzerland and the French Alps. Known as the French culinary capital, Lyon has so many flavors, places and mystery to explore. Here’s a guide to the must-dos in Lyon, from a local!

1. La place Bellecour

This is probably one of the most famous places in Lyon. This giant plaza is a meeting spot for most Lyonnais. Around this plaza, you can find plenty of shops and restaurants. There is what we call a “rue pietonne” where you can walk around and shop. You may even stumble across La Place Cordeliers, just a few streets away, which hosts most of Lyon’s luxury stores.

2. La rue Mercière 

This is an old paved street where most of Lyon’s restaurants are. This street is designated for restaurants ! Go and try one of the authentic bouchon lyonnais in which you can try most of Lyon’s signature dishes.

3. Les Pentes de la Croix-Rousse 

La Croix-Rousse is one of Lyon’s historic neighborhoods. This is a great place to visit to have beautiful views of Lyon’s landscape without going to the regular Basilique de Fourviere. Be ready to get your workout in! This neighborhood is located on the side of a hill and will get you hiking and climbing many stairs. Plenty of historic and cultural things to visit in this underrated part of the city. La Croix-Rousse is also home to a lot of street art, artists and diverse thrift stores.

4. Les berges du Rhône 

This is one of Lyon’s locals favorite spot! Les Berges du Rhone are wide walking spaces where most people like to go for a walk, hang out with friends, or just relax during warm weather. This is a long walk that you can enjoy during a hot summer day. Interesting facts! This is the best view to see Lyon’s fireworks for the National Day on July 14th. Be there early if you’d like a good seating spot! A large pool also opened there a few years ago. During the summer, you will find many boats and bars offering happy hour and food, it’s very fun at nighttime.

5. Les traboules

Lyon has a lot of history and part of it is what we call the traboules. The traboules were dreamed up to allow people to get from their homes to the river quickly, back in the 4th century. Later on, they were taken up by the Canuts silk workers of the Croix-Rousse, the beating heart of 19th century silk trade. Now, they are used as secret passages to get from one street to another. You may book a tour and experience the mysteries of Lyon through les traboules.

6. Le jardin du musee des Beaux-Arts 

Situated by the City Hall, this hidden gem is easily skipped by tourists and even locals! This old garden is home to various statues and historic art and is a perfect place for day-dreamers, artists, or couples to find some peace and solitude in the middle of the city.

7. La Fete des Lumieres

Lyon is becoming more and more popular for the special celebration it hosts every year during the weekend of December 8th. On that day, native Lyonnais celebrate the urban legend that the Virgin Mary saved the city from the Plague. This is why you may spot a golden statue of the Virgin Mary overlooking the city from la cathedrale de Fourviere! Back in the day, native Lyonnais used to light up candles and put them outside their window as a thank-you and remembrance of that day. Now, this celebration has evolved to a real show! For three consecutive days, most of the city’s buildings are lit up with different light shows. On a cold December night, you may warm up with a crepe or some vin chaud being sold throughout the city. Definitely something to experience!


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