Must-see places in Lyon, France
In May 2013 I spent a long weekend in Lyon for a quick getaway with my partner. We ate, drank and enjoyed the beautiful weather that bathed us throughout the sunny weekend.
It was blissful to walk from our conveniently located accommodation at Mercure Lyon Centre Château Perrache into the city to enjoy the vibrant energy of the day. Gathering with locals around the food and clothing stalls of a daily market, we enjoyed browsing around the shops, stopping for lunch and of course taking in some of the sights around the second city of France.
Whilst it is possible to take the Lyon Funicular Railway, on a mild day it’s a great workout to walk to the top of Fourvière Hill. The walk itself takes 20-30 minutes at a steady pace but gives you a great chance to snap photos on the way up and watch the change of scenery as you ascend. On a clear day you can see all the way across the city before enjoying the attractions located on the hill.
Basilica of Notre-Dame de Fourvière (Fourvière Basilica)
Modelled upon both Romanesque and Byzantine architecture, the Basilica of Notre-Dame de Fourvière dominates Fourvière Hill and creates a statuesque appearance as it overlooks the city.
Housing beautiful sculptures, stained glass works, architecture, marble work, bronze statues and paintings, the Basilica is impressive both inside and out. As one of the most iconic structures it Lyon, it’s impossible to miss and very much deserves a closer look.
Jardins du Rosaire
As we visited Lyon during particularly pleasant weather, we strolled through the gardens after observing the Basilica of Notre-Dame de Fourvière. Easily accessible from Fourvière Hill and connected to the Basilica of St. John neighbourhood, the design was based on the initial abandoned gardens.
Today the gardens house botanic collections of roses creating an orchard amongst the original fruit trees. It’s a particularly beautiful and peaceful part of Lyon; we enjoyed strolling the grounds as part of our descent of the hill.
Marche St. Antoine
My only experience with French food had previously been in Paris, where I had primarily adored the pastries both savoury and sweet, so I couldn’t wait to visit Lyon and sample the heart of gastronomy. Luckily for me, we had an excellent chance to explore the streets in sunshine and head to the local food market, Quai St Antoine. Now I love a good food market whether it’s home or abroad, so a chance to take to the streets of Lyon and enjoy the same was not to be missed.
The food market at Quai St Antoine is a wonderful blend of fresh fruits and vegetables, an array of bright, natural colour with a depth of flavour. Shoppers can sample food and buy at very reasonable prices (I only wished that I could have bought some of the food home).
From gently roasted rotisserie chicken attracting passers by to pretty flowers and cheese merchants selling their wares, the market has been described as an “open-air supermarket”, competitive prices and a range of suppliers offering varied, local produce.
I really enjoyed my time in Lyon and exploring the local vicinity as well as taking in key sights of the city. Lyon is a bright and cheerful city and very easy to explore either on foot or by using a Lyon City Card to get around on public transport and take in other experiences of museums and more.
Have you visited Lyon? What did you enjoy?
Many thanks to Lyon Tourist Board for the provision of a Lyon City Card for travelling around the city.