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A holiday is supposed to be relaxing – but what with traversing the sights and sounds of a busy city, a trip to Lyon can feel like anything but. Here’s our guide on how to find a bit of peace in the midst of this bustling French city.
If a trip to Lyon is in the books, perhaps take a second away from scaling the city’s sights and sounds for a moment of relaxation. Be it a spa, a yoga class, a hike or a weekend getaway, a moment of rest and relaxation is never a bad idea.
For those who want to fully immerse themselves in relaxation, there are a number of destinations and overnight spas in the Lyon area that cater to the tired, the weary and those simply needing a little rest. The Chateau de Bagnols is one of the top spots: with Turkish baths, a fitness room and four treatment booths perfect for those looking for a bit of pampering.
Also, check out the Spa du Boscolo: an intimate spot in the historic Presqu’ile area with a 10-by-5m (33-by-16ft) swimming-slash-lap pool, a menu of treatments (including massages), a sauna and an authentic hammam. Plus, this spa is near the Opera House, Place Bellecour is around the corner, and the old town is within walking distance.
For a truly opulent experience, try the Cours des Loges: a luxurious spa with a counter-current swimming pool, a small café, sauna, steam bath, fitness room and a relaxation room. Indulge in the eclat de givre facial (which translates as a shard of frost) designed to reinvigorate your skin, or a full-body massage.
If you don’t have time to get away for the day, look to a more local facility. Maison Sicily is a five-star health and beauty spa. Guests can enjoy face and body treatments in the salon, with top-quality products and experienced therapists.
Over at Caliceo, just fifteen minutes from the centre of the city, spa-goers enjoy over 4,000 sq m (43,056 sq ft) of over-the-top facilities. There are aquatic relaxation areas where guests can soak in indoor and outdoor hot-water pools year-round, as well as other facilities such as jacuzzis, whirlpool chairs and beds, high-pressure water jets, geysers, fountains, cascades, balneotherapy spouts, saunas, hammams, aqua gyms and aqua biking. For visitors to the city or those passing through, Caliceo offers passes by the day passes or hour.
Yoga classes are easy to find across Lyon. Varieties include hot yoga, slower stretching classes, Hatha (a practice focusing on breathing, stability and force), and Vinyasa (pose-focused yoga focussed on strong breathing and strengthening) among others. All will benefit your flexibility, muscle strength, breathing, metabolism, cardio and circulatory health, as well as your athletic performance.
Downtown is home to a set of studios (O and Yogasatya are stand-outs) offering a range of classes for different skill levels. At all of them, you’ll find restorative yoga practices with committed instructors, happy to guide you through your sessions. With the proper stretching and training, practitioners will increase blood flow and strengthen immune systems, allowing you to more thoroughly enjoy tours and trips in the city.
There are a number of great hikes for outdoor lovers in Lyon. For adventurous folk, head to Caluire-et-Cuire in the seventh arrondissement where you can embark on a hike that weaves walkers through the region’s lake district, across mountain ranges and rolling hills. The 21-km (13-mi) loop is a hike through the nearby Rhone-Alpes and is favoured by walkers, runners and outdoor enthusiasts.
The Notre-Dame de Fourviere Basilica’s loop is far shorter, though it offers glorious views of the neighbouring mountains. The area offers stellar views from the overlooks, which are easily all accessible. The grounds also offer guided tours (including daily mass) for history buffs.
The Centre Aquatiques, in the midst of the city, offers fitness options regardless of the season. Take a dip in the indoor pool that boasts eight swimming lanes and a diving area. After you’ve towelled off, head to the relaxation area. There, you’ll find a Turkish bath, sauna, ice bath and fitness centre. Or hit L’Appart Lyon (there are multiple locations in Lyon) where you can try a cardio-and-strength-training class and choose from a roster of group lessons.
There are several types of massages to choose from in Lyon. Book a Thai massage, where masseuses pull and stretch you to move with your body’s pressure points (Thai Paradis is a locally loved spot for masseuses that stretch and knead pressure points through gentle stretching and pressure), or opt for a more traditional massage, where knots are worked on to keep your back in check. Check out Massage Lyon for reflexology-centric treatments or Shiatsu à Lyon for shiatsu-lead massages. Au Bout du Monde along the river offers more traditional massage options.