Bienvenue to Lyon, France’s third biggest city, packed full of incredible things to do and see. Now you can breeze through to this historical and cultural nucleus of France directly from Southampton Airport.
Lyon is placed at the point where the Rhône and Saône rivers meet and is the capital of the Rhône-Alpes region. This vast city has so much to offer, from 2000 years of history, through to modern-day culture and everything in between; shopping, antique markets, theatres and museums. You may struggle to decide exactly what to cram into your visit. One thing’s for sure, with the reputation as the capital of gastronomy in France, you certainly won’t go hungry.
Fly from Southampton Airport to Lyon in only 1 hour 50 minutes. Lyon-Saint Exupéry Airport is located approximately 25km to the east of Lyon, but less than an hour away from the region’s major cities by road. There are places to hire a car at the airport and 21 park and ride facilities. Lyon has one of the best affordable public transport systems in France. Fully equipped with trains, trams, funiculars and buses, the excellent transport links make getting around so easy, the only thing you need to focus on is enjoying yourself.
Be sure to pack your Lyon City Card. This essential tool is your passport to everything you could possibly need; unlimited access to public transport, plus access and discounts to various attractions, events, tours and wifi.
Top things to see and do
Discover how the Romans were entertained over 2000 years ago at this ancient outdoor theatre. Theatres Romains de Fourviere, an enormous historical monument was built in 15BC and is still used today to stage various concerts and events. Be sure to look up what’s showing and book tickets or just take a picnic and roam the vast, cobbled grounds.
Lyon is famous for its silk weaving and you will find more Traboules winding down the ‘hill that works’, the Croix-Rousse. As many as 30,000 silk weavers worked and lived here in the 19th Century. Take a tour or just amble through the passageways, listening to a commentary, finishing with a trip to the silk printing workshop that demonstrates one of Lyon’s finest traditions.
If you have glorious weather, maybe inside a museum isn’t where you want to be. Thankfully Lyon has a beautiful 105-hectare park, complete with a 16 hectare lake, botanical gardens and zoo. Parc de la Tête d’Or (The Park of the Golden Head) is on the banks of the Rhone and has 100-year-old trees and 350 varieties of roses. Relax in the sunshine surrounded by natural beauty and what’s more, it’s free!
Off the beaten track
Save your tired legs and sore feet and see the sights of Lyon in a quirky way. Equipped with a panoramic roof for all around views, these Cyclopolitan electric vehicles will guide you all around town taking you to the best photo spots and give you access to areas you wouldn’t normally see. Driven by enthusiastic tour guides, you can sit and relax, covered with a rug if it’s cold, and soak up the Lyon life. You can even take part in an interactive treasure hunt, testing your observational and deductive skills with a delicious edible treasure if you solve the mystery.
If you’ve ever fancied yourself as a French Chef extraordinaire, this is a must. Lyon offers a variety of cooking classes giving you the opportunity to learn the skills and techniques of classic French cooking, enveloped by the gastronomic ambience. One such class is Plum Lyon Teaching Kitchen, in the silk worker’s district, providing seasonal market classes or particular French themed cuisine. Délicieuse!
Not the museum itself, but the exhibits inside! You’ll feel like a giant as you wander around the Musée Miniature et Cinéma. There are over 120 miniature scenes and 350 props in these two inimitable collections by Dan Ohlmann. You will learn all about the world of the ‘7th Art’ and discover secrets behind the use of miniatures and special effects in cinema. You won’t watch Gladiator, Aliens or Independence Day in the same way ever again.