Lyon is the third largest city of France, located in east central France in the Rhône-Alpes region and the capitel of this region.
Good to know: Lyon is known for its historical and architectural landmarks and is a UNESCO heritage site.
The city is the birthplace of cinema and the silk capital of the world.
The world’s biggest culinary competition, the Bocuse d’Or, takes place every two years in Lyon.
Population (metro area): 2.2 Million.
Currency: Euro (€)
After Paris and Marseille, Lyon is France’s third biggest city. And in a way, it’s the most French of them all. Paris has this worldly aura about it (read our 12hrs in Paris), Marseille is utterly Mediterranean, but Lyon? Lyon is truly French!
Its buildings looks like they fell out of time, beautiful facades in washed out yellows, grandiose buildings line the streets, and in between it all, modern houses mix it up.
People have settled here for over two millennia, and they all left their marks on the city, from the Romans to the silk weavers in the 16th century to Auguste and Louis Lumière. The Romans left – among many other things – a beautiful theater overlooking the city. Long after, Lyon was the center of European silk production for many years and still has this sense of quality and beauty running through its veins. And the brothers Lumière, the first filmmakers ever, invented the cinema here. Then, there’s the food.
Lyon lies nestled between two rivers, the Rhône and the Saône, but it’s also right in the middle of two of the world’s most important wine regions, the Beaujolais to the North, and the Côtes du Rhône to the South. Traditional Lyonnaise cuisine features lots of sausage, tripe and quenelle, little dumplings made out of creamed fish or meat and egg. You can try all of these dishes in the traditional bouchons, hearty bistros scattered all around the old town, often run by the same family for generations.
Lyon is not a hip city, you won’t find tons of third-wave coffee roasters or concept stores, although there are a few of those, and we’ll guide you to them. What you will experience here instead is the true France. With rather charming, creative people that are happy to show you around, places steeped in history, and a massive love for food.
A great way to get here is by train. Eurostar has a new, direct service from London starting May 1st, taking you from Britain's capital to the city center of Lyon in just under five hours. To celebrate the launch of their new route, Eurostar sent us to Lyon to explore the city and make the best travel guide we could, so you can skip all the research and just follow it to experience the city at its best. This is this guide, which will take you from the hills of Croix-Rousse to the hyper modern buildings at Confluences, and from bustling food markets full of regional specialties to the coolest shops in town.
Let’s spend 12hrs in Lyon!