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Anfiteatro da Cité Internationale | © Leandro Neumann Ciuffo/Flickr
Anfiteatro da Cité Internationale | © Leandro Neumann Ciuffo/Flickr
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The Top 10 Things To Do in Cité Internationale, Lyon

Picture of Oonagh Turner
Updated: 9 February 2017
Cité Internationale is a residential quarter north of the city of Lyon, picturesquely located between the Rhône river and the verdant Tête D’Or park. The district is renowned for its ambitious architecture, and covers an impressive 20 acres of land. We’ve compiled the ultimate bucket list for a visit to the neighborhood.
La Cité internationale de Lyon | © Gonedelyon/WikiCommons
La Cité internationale de Lyon | © Gonedelyon/WikiCommons

Museum of Contemporary Art

Regardless of whether you are an ardent artist or just a holidaymaker in the area, the Museum of Contemporary Art is a must-see, if not for artistic appreciation, then purely to marvel at the eclectic array of contemporary art installations. The museum boasts three floors of exhibition space and hosts artwork from international artists, with more than 1,300 works of art currently on show. Artists from the likes of Andy Warhol and Keith Haring have showcased in this fantastic space. Ultimately, the gallery is one of the main draws to the Cité Internationale.

Address & telephone number: 81 Quai Charles de Gaulle, +33 4 72 69 17 17

Opening hours: 11am – 6pm Tuesday – Friday, 11am – 7pm Saturday and Sunday

Café du Musée

The café annexed to the modern arts museum is the perfect place to reflect on the artistic exhibitions and regroup after whiling away the hours in the museum. In the summer, the café opens out onto a pleasant terrace overlooking the lush Tête d’Or park. The café serves a good cup of coffee and a selection of delectable desserts and home-baked goods, all for a relatively affordable price.

Address & telephone number: 81 Quai Charles de Gaulle, +33 4 78 93 36 35

La Tête d’Or park

Serving as a sharp contrast to the urban complex, the Tête d’Or park provides a calm haven for visitors seeking an escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. The expansive space has four stunning rose gardens, an impressive greenhouse that boasts an array of tropical and carnivorous plants. There is also a large lake in the center. The park is stunning in all seasons – a great place to enjoy walks on a balmy summer’s day, or a good spot to witness the spectacular changing of the trees in the fall.

Jardin botanique dans le Parc de la Tête d'Or à Lyon | © Simlaurent/WikiCommons
Jardin botanique dans le Parc de la Tête d’Or à Lyon | © Simlaurent/WikiCommons

Sample Some Local Cuisine

Why not take advantage of the district’s many restaurants and sample some authentic French cooking” Lyon is regarded as the culinary capital of France, and Cité Internationale is a spot where you can appreciate the masters at work. French bistro 33 Cité offers a contemporary twist on traditional French cooking. The bistro in the Hotel Crown Plaza is also a top choice for fine French dining, with gastronomical dishes from world renowned chef Gregory Felix.

UGC Cinema

Cité Internationale is a truly international quarter, with families from all around the globe choosing to reside in this high-end complex. Reflective of this, the cinema screens a plethora of foreign and French films, from mainstream blockbusters to obscure indie films. Foreign films are shown with French subtitles and occasionally dubbed over in French. Why not tackle the language barrier head on and challenge yourself to a French film” The cinema has various modern comforts as well as a stylish wine bar in the lobby.

Address & telephone number: 80 Quai Charles de Gaulle, +33 1 46 37 28 24

Les Habitants

Dotted around the complex are the works of renowned French artist Xavier Veilhan. His unobtrusive style of sculpting is known around the world for brightening up public spaces, and his art installations are perfectly suited to Cité Internationale, reflective of the artistic sentiment of this particular district. His work consists of modern statues that reach up to eight meters in height and are fluorescent in color, and they can be seen in many of the district’s buzzing streets. Look out for the orange man on the phone, or the blue girl roller-skating down the main street.

Rum, Manhattan, Tequila Old Fashioned | © Hochgeladen von Cocktailmarler/WikiCommons
Rum, Manhattan, Tequila Old Fashioned | © Hochgeladen von Cocktailmarler/WikiCommons

Spark Bar

Spark Bar is situated in the high-end Marriott hotel, with staggering panoramic views over the Tête d’Or park and the city. After a day spent broadening your artistic horizons, why not choose from one of the many inventive cocktails on offer and soak up the view” The bar is furnished with stylish décor and has a relaxed atmosphere, making for a good end to your day in this contemporary setting.

Address & telephone number: 70 Quai Charles de Gaulle, +33 4 78 17 50 50

Anfiteatro da Cité Internationale | © Leandro Neumann Ciuffo/Flickr
Anfiteatro da Cité Internationale | © Leandro Neumann Ciuffo/Flickr

Centre de Congrès de Lyon

Reflective of its business orientation, as well as its artistic focus, at the heart of the district is an enormous conference center. The space comprises three lecture halls and boasts a spectacular amphitheater that can hold up to 4,000 people. It’s always worth checking whether there is an exhibition or a conference on. The center also regularly showcases ballets and musicals, another bonus to this artistic space.

Address & telephone number 50 Quai Charles de Gaulle, +33 4 72 82 26 26

Quai des Célestins à Lyon. Au fond, le pont Bonaparte | © Jean-Marc Brivet/WikiCommons
Quai des Célestins à Lyon | © Jean-Marc Brivet/WikiCommons

Promenade along the Rhône

If you are seeking a break from the built-up concrete complex, there is easy access from Cité Internationale to the banks of the Rhône. The river is one of the major rivers in Europe, passing through Switzerland, southeastern France, and eventually flowing into the Mediterranean Sea near Arles. A brisk walk along the mighty channel gives you time to reflect and contemplate its natural beauty while taking in the charming views of Lyon’s left bank.

Parc de la Tête d'Or | © Matt Neale/WikiCommons
Parc de la Tête d’Or | © Matt Neale/WikiCommons

Lyon Zoo

A walk through Tête d’Or park leads to Lyon’s zoo. The zoological garden is an expansive green expanse that hosts an impressive exhibit of animals from across the globe. Visitors can expect to see animals from as far afield as Asia, Africa and the Americas. The zoo is great place to learn about the natural habitats and behavior of foreign creatures and also enlightens its visitors to the factors that make some of the animals endangered. The conservation and protection of these species are of the utmost importance to the park’s zookeepers and make a trip the zoo a friendly, fun-filled day out.

Address & telephone number: Allée de l’Orangerie, +33 4 72 69 47 60