A weekend in Lyon - a journey through 2000 years of history

Lyon is the second largest city in France and one of Europe's most attractive urban tourist destinations. The city has an exciting 2000-years of history, and its decent size makes it easy to get around and discover everything that the city has to offer. Here's our guide to a perfect weekend in Lyon!

Day one

Take the funicular up to the Fourvière Hill to get a grand overview of the entire city. Enjoy the panoramic view and check where all the main sights and Lyons different neighborhoods are located. Push the heavy doors to Fourvière Basilica open, to explore an emblematic monument that oversees the city from the hill. Here you can also discover the richly decorated interiors.

A few minutes’ walk away you’ll find the ancient theaters that recall the glorious past of Lyon, the old capital of the three Gauls in Roman times.

Edited ©shutterstock Taromon

Take the walkway down through les Jardins du Rosaire, where you can experience nature right in the city with a view over old Lyon’s rooftops. Before heading off to discovering Lyon’s central part, treat yourself to some of the local specialties at one of the “bouchons”, Lyon’s traditional taverns.

In second place, right behind Venice, Vieux-Lyon is the largest Renaissance district in Europe with charming cobblestone streets. There's a romantic feeling when passing through the "traboules", old passageways that take you from one street to another through courtyards and alleyways in true Renaissance style.

Edited Vieux Lyon ©Marie Perrin

End your day in Presqu’île, the heart of the city. Stroll through the shopping streets from Place Bellecour to Place des Terreux, passing through l’Hôtel Dieu, and let yourself marvel at the gigantic department stores, the luxury brands, and designer stores.

As the night falls, water fountains, monuments, and city squares are lit up, setting a romantic mood for the evening!

Edited Place des Terreaux ©Quentin Le Bourgeois

Day 2

Discovering Lyons waterways by foot, bike or boat is the perfect way to get away from the bustling city to enjoy a bit of peace of mind. La Confluence (which means meeting place) is the place where the two rivers, Rhône and Saône, meet, an area that is also known for its modern architecture.

Learn about the history of mankind at Mussé des Confluences or let yourself be amazed by the many unexpected colors and shapes of the buildings in the area.

Musée des Confluences ©Quentin Lafont

Head the way to the Halles de Lyon Paul Bocuse to have a taste of the regional specialties in Lyon's typically warm and welcoming atmosphere.

(to burn off the calories) take a stroll through Parc de la Tête d’Or, where you can discover the free zoon, the lake, and the botanical gardens. Then it is time to visit Croix-Rousse the city’s second hill. Follow the footsteps of the old silk weavers (les canuts) and learn the secrets of silk production at the old weaving mill. But don’t forget to explore the cool neighborhoods, where alternative culture and street art flourishes.

Parc de la Tête d'Or ©Lyon Tourisme

Did you know?

Together with Helsinki, the metropole of Lyon is the first European capital of Smart Tourism, an award given by the European Union to the most innovative and responsible cities in the field of tourism. With respect for heritage, the environment, accessibility, and creativity…Lyon is ready to give you a warm welcome.

European Capital Smart Tourism Lyon hoch grau RGB