Getting to know Lyon
What you can do for free in Lyon
- Visit the Parc de la Tete d’Or
105 hectares of green area await the visitors. You can visit this ever-fascinating park to take a walk, admire the flowers and plants in the Botanic Garden, visit the Lyon Zoo with its numerous animal species, or simply choose a spot for a delightful picnic. Yes, the park is immense and full of great attractions, all for free!
- Walk up to the Fourvière Hill
Bring your backpack and a lot of energy and climb the hill to reach the top and bathe your eyes with the amazing views! The climbing can be tiring, so if you don’t feel like climbing a bunch, you can use the funicular, but there is going o be a ticket to pay.
- Visit the Gallo-Roman theatre
Get to know more about the history of Lyon! The Gallo-Roman theatre represents one of the most visible remains of the historical heritage of the foundation of Lyon by the Romans. You can access it for free, and you can also visit the museum on Thursdays, because that’s when it is free for everyone!
Top spots to visit
- Musée des Beaux Arts
The collections there range from ancient Egypt antiquities to the Modern art, making this municipal museum in Lyon one of the most important ones in Europe. Impressive collections of paintings, sculptures, antiquities and more can be found here, so don’t forget to include this in your holiday to-do list if you are interested in art and history.
- Lyon Cathedral
This is a mostly gothic construction and it was built between the 12th and 15th centuries. Perhaps one of the most fascinating things inside is the the astronomical clock that is 9 metres tall and was installed in the 1300s. Under the main clock-face, visitors can admire an astrolabe, that can show the position of the earth, sun and moon.
- Place Bellecour
The Place Bellecour is the largest pedestrian square in Europe and it is located in the Presqu’île district, between the Saône and the Rhône rivers. The square often hosts local festivals, outdoor concerts and special events. The 19th-century sculpture of King Louis XIV, along with other beautiful statues are definitely worth a look. Lyon’s luxury shopping district attracts a lot of visitors too. Four major streets lined with shops begin at the Place Bellecour.
Hidden spots to visit
- Jardin des Curiosités
Also known as Parc Abbé Larue, this place seems pretty hard to find: from the Place Abbe Larue, you have to walk along the parking and at the end of it there you will find a big green gate and that’s your entrance. This quiet place is perfect for enjoying one of the best view over the city. You can bring some food and a few friends or your family and have a great picnic!
- Musée Miniature et Cinéma
This fascinating museum holds over a thousand pieces of down-scaled locations. These fully-furnished miniature rooms, extremely detailed and similar to their natural size inspirations, can amaze any visitors. There are more miniature things that you can admire here, but we’ll let you discover. In addition to all of these tiny delights, the museum also focuses on special effects and creatures from the movies. In that section of the museum you can see props and costumes from some pretty great films.
- Traboules Secret Passages
Hundreds of hidden passageways can be found through the old quarters of Lyon. There can be around 400 of these secret alleyways and staircases is town, but only a few of them are open to the public. Find them in the historic Vieux-Lyon and the Pentes de la Croix-Rousse areas
Some of the best fine-dining restaurants, with menus mostly based on the French cuisine are: La Mutinerie, Culina Hortus, Le boeuf d’argent and Le Neuvieme Art.
Best local cuisine restaurants include Bouchon Tupin, Le Musee, Le Book-Lard and Aromatic.
Spend less money but still on some great, diverse food at Himalia, Bollywood Tandoor, Casa Iberica, Sabai Sabai
Recommended time for visiting
In the mid summer, temperatures in Lyon are still warm but hotels are less expensive. Lyon is most visited in the late spring/early summer, a period when hotel rates rise. If you plan on visiting Lyon in the fall, bring your umbrella! It rains on average 14 days each month. Least crowded, cheapest, sunniest and warmest month in Lyon is July, so you may want to consider this period when you plan your trip.
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