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Lyon is one of the most elegant cities in France that is considered the second most important city but is still undiscovered by many. Though it may not be as popular as Paris, there is so much to discover and a range of amazing things to do in Lyon city.
Just like most of the cities in Europe? Lyon has a rich history dating back to the Roman era, thus listed among the UNESCO World Heritage Places. Here you will get to witness some of the oldest buildings of France, some of which are ruined while some are well preserved.
Before planning your trip to France, let's take a look at our list of top 10 things to do in Lyon for reference.
Situated at the top of Fourvière Hill are the ancient ruins of yet another Roman Amphitheatre which is listed among the UNESCO World Heritage sites. Though visiting the amphitheater is free of cost, the museum charges some fees. The museum is home to some of the most notable archeological collections of France.
It would be better if you are visiting here between the months of June and July as, during these two month periods, a grand festival is organized in Gallo Roman Amphitheatre including entertainment shows like opera, music, dance, and cinema. Around 130,000 visitors attend this event making it one of the best things to do in Lyon during summer.
Museum Entry Fee: 4 to 7 Euros
As Lyon is the gastronomy capital of France, don't forget to take cooking classes at the gourmet restaurant and learn some culinary skills and art of making unique yet delicious French cuisine. The chefs here will teach you so many major secrets and tips of cooking including selection ingredients, recipes and how to arrange food while serving.
During your cookery class, you will get to taste cheese, wine and welcome professional events in the lounge.
Visiting Hours: Friday to Saturday
Fee: 19.21 Euros
If you explore the city to the fullest then why not consider taking a bus tour that will let you discover the major highlights of the city. You can either enjoy the views while sitting on an open bus or come out of the bus to explore the city on your own. Touring on an open-top deck is a must if you want to enjoy the breathtaking views of Lyon city.
The Bus covers a total of 12 stops including de Fourvière, Basilica de Notre Dame, and various others. You hope off at any stop you want and later grab another bus from the same stop after visiting the place.
The beautiful district of Vieux is the largest among all Renaissance districts in Europe. The present area that you may see was actually established in the 16th century. There are three small villages situated within the district naming St. Jean, St. Paul and St. George. These villages have numerous ancient buildings and most of them have remained well preserved for several centuries.
Being listed as the World Heritage site of UNESCO, Vieux districts represent Renaissance, Gothic and traboules. Here you will find a huge network of passages leading to either hidden courtyard while some lead towards gardens. The most remarkable site is the St. Jean quarter featuring some famous landmarks.
The architectural marvel designed by St. Pierre Bossan and Sainte Marie Perrin, the Basilique Notre-Dame de Fourvière was built in 1872 and was completed in 1896. The Basilica was initially built as a homage to Virgin Mary and it is yet another landmark in Lyon to be listed among UNESCO World Heritage sites. Today, around 2.5 million pilgrims visit this holy site every year.
Talking about its structure, it is 86 meter long and its width is 35 metres. The architecture is a combination of gothic, byzantine, and some romanesque architecture. The interior includes two churches where the high church contains three domes and 6 glass windows.
The opera house of Lyon has been operating for more than three centuries. Dominated by a huge dome, a grand theatre which was redesigned by famous French architect Jean Nouvel. A range of performances are conducted in this beautiful opera house including all types of music from different generations.
The building consists of two rooms, one of the rooms has a capacity of over 1000 people alongside an amphitheater with a capacity of 200 people. Initially built in 1831, the opera was reconstructed in 1989 and 1993.
Timings: Tuesday to Saturday - midday to 7:00 PM
While traveling the city of Lyon, do visit the lovely neighborhood of Croix Rousse sitting at the top of the hill. The moment you arrive here, you will fall in love with this neighborhood filled with cornered cafes, bakeries, old shops, and french architecture.
While you are in the lovely neighborhood, do learn about its history and why it was established. Take some and cross the passageways that were once used by silk workers during the rain for transportation.
The Les Quais Du Rhône is basically a series of multiple parks carved out from the Saone and Rhone Rivers. The good thing about this area is that it can be discovered either on foot, roller board, skateboard or bike. The navigability of Lyon city has been improved a lot since the construction of this park.
The park also features a playground for children, space for picnics, cafes, and numerous water activities to do.
One of the traveler's favorite things to do in Lyon is spending an entire day at Parc de la Tête d'Or. The 19th-century park stretches up to 290 acres, thus you may require a whole to explore it. You have plenty of options to explore the park through trails, either on foot or on a bike.
Also, don't forget to visit the island that lies at the center of the lake or the botanical garden. In addition, the botanical garden includes a gorgeous greenhouse. Finally, have some fun at the carnival and visit Cite International for shopping.
Before finishing your trip to Lyon why not consider taking a cruise tour to explore the major highlights of the city through waters. From breathtaking sea views of Saone river to a mound in the lovely streets of Vieux. The cruise tour may last from three days to two weeks that ranges uptown in the southern countryside of France.
Fees: 15 Euros to 17 Euros