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The Top 10 Things To See And Do in Lyon
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The Top 10 Things To See And Do in Lyon

Picture of Sophie Williams
Updated: 9 February 2017
Lyon is France’s third largest city and a major tourist destination. Founded 2,000 years ago, the city is a living museum, with architecture, culture and traditions reflecting the different populations who have inhabited it. Whether you prefer to explore the streets, the museums or the countryside, we’ve picked the 10 best ways to get a feel for Lyon.

Gyropode Segway Tour

Save your feet and explore Lyon’s most famous streets on two wheels. The Gyroprode Segway Tour is an exciting way to experience the city. Accessible to all, it takes visitors around some of Lyon’s most famous outdoor sights, visiting historic districts, monuments, Sathonay Square, Vieux-Lyon old district peninsula, old Rhone River banks as well as many more intriguing cultural spots. The guides are well-informed, and when the weather is good, there isn’t a better, more time-efficient way to see the city.

7 quai Romain Rolland 69005 Lyon, France, +33 4 72 65 43 86

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Musée Des Beaux-Arts

The Musée Des Beaux-Arts is a former 17th century abbey, transformed into one of the largest art and culture museums in Europe. It opened to the public in 1803 (although it was renovated in 1998) with the aim to preserve and display French and international arts. There are 70 rooms filled with exhibitions including antiquities, art and sculpture, numismatics, modern art and medieval pieces, as well as temporary shows borrowing some of the most prestigious art or artefacts from around the world.

Opening hours: 10am – 6pm; Fri 10.30am – 6pm; closed Tues. Note the museum is partially closed between 12.30pm – 2pm

20 place des Terreaux Palais Saint-Pierre 69001 Lyon, France, +33 4 72 10 17 40

Roman Theatre of Fourviére

Established in 15BC by Augustus, the Roman Theatre of Fourviére is the oldest theatre in France. Despite its antiquity (which resulted in it being named a national historical monument in 1905) the theater is in incredible shape and provides the perfect setting to immerse yourself in ancient history. Having had a recent refurbishment, the theater can also now hold productions. Watch out for Fourviére nights festival which takes place during the summer.

6 rue de l’Antiquaille 69005 Lyon, France, +33 4 72 38 49 30

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Parc de la Tête d’Or

Take a break from the bustle of the city and find sanctuary in Lyon’s Parc de la Tête d’Or. It’s the largest park in the city, and encompasses a lakeshore, large paths lined with hundred year old trees, zoological park, and botanical gardens. Worth a visit are definitely the Botanical Garden and Rose Garden. A living plant museum, the former has over 15,000 different species of plant and is the biggest complex in France. The Rose Garden is a beautiful example of floral decadence – with 350 different varieties of the flower.

Parc de la Tete d’Or, 69006 Lyon, France, +33 4 72 82 35 00

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Musée Miniature et Cinema

Film buffs will know Lyon – this was where Auguste and Louis Lumiére invented the cinematograph. Thus, the Musée Miniature et Cinema is a definite must visit to delve into an intrinsic part of Lyon’s history, and see how this French city shaped entertainment today. Created by miniaturist Dan Ohlmann, this unique Museum showcases Ohlmann’s two main passions: the art of dioramas and the art of film sets and special effects. 350 legendary film props give the visitor an insight into the special effects techniques of our leading film studios.

Opening hours: 10 am-6:30 pm (until 7 pm on week-end, bank hols. and school hols.).

60 Rue Saint-Jean, 69005 Lyon, France, +33 4 72 00 24 77

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Charcuterie Sibilia

Get a taste of the town with this renowned charcuterie. Charcuterie Sibilia provides the perfect opportunity for tourists to experience the typical cuisine of Lyon. The shop itself is a pork butcher shop, serving products including saveloy, quenelles, pork slicing sausage and chitterling sausage. You know you’ve found the good stuff – the owner is dubbed “Mère Lyonnaise” (Mother of Lyon), and her knowledge has made this butcher the most credited in Lyon.

Opening hours: Tues to Sat: 8 am-12pm and 3 pm-7 pm; Sun: 8 am-12pm

102 Cours Lafayette, 69003 Lyon, France, +33 4 78 62 36 28

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La Maison des Canuts

Lyon is famous for the production and weaving of silk. For over five centuries, it has been at the heart of the French textile trade. Discover the history behind the city’s production of this luxurious fabric at La Maison des Canuts, a 19th century mansion dedicated to preserving the silk story. Exhibitions reveal how thread is produced, how the industry has changed over the yeas, and the lives of the workers within it.

Opening hours: Mon to Sat: 10 am-6 pm.

10-12 Rue d’Ivry, 69004 Lyon, France, +33 4 78 28 62 04

Presqu’ile District of Lyon

Situated in the heart of Lyon, nestled between the Rhone and Saone rivers, this beautiful district is the perfect example of Lyon’s historical architecture through the ages. Striking buildings from the 12th century stand next to modern architectural designs, providing the perfect backdrop for a lovely city walk. The area is part of Lyon’s UNESCO World Heritage Site and highlights include great shopping and restaurants, found in breathtaking buildings such as the Opera house and city hall.

Extending from the foot of the Croix Rousse hill to the Rhône and the Saône rivers

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Les Halles de Lyon Paul Bocuse

Food, glorious food! This indoor food market is the place to try the culinary delights of Lyon. Nearly 5 dozen stalls showcase everything from charcuterie to patisserie, all presented beautifully. It’s not only the wares that are worth noting, the architecture is stunning display of Lyon at its classical finest.

102 Cours Lafayette, 69003 Lyon, France, +33 4 78 62 39 33

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Cathédrale St-Jean

Completed in 1480 and covered in 280 square stone medallions, the striking, Gothic Cathédrale St-Jean is a must for anyone interested in either the city’s history or ecclesiastical design. It is known as a ‘Primatiale‘ because of the authority granted by the Pope to the archbishop in 1079, but the actual building was built between the 12th and 15th centuries on the ruins of a 6th century church. Some of the most notable sights are the Astronomical Clock, dating from the 14th century, the impressive 19th century organ, and the 12th century crosses that stand either side of the altar as a symbol of the union of the church.

Opening hours: Mon – Fri 8:15am-7:45pm, Sat 8:15am-7:00pm, Sun 8:00am-8:00pm

Place Saint-Jean, 69005 Lyon, France, +33 4 78 42 11 04