48 hours in Lyon: Best things to do in the historic French city

An hour-long flight is all it takes to reach the rich cultural paradise that is Lyon.

Although it’s famed for its gastronomical bravery, it’s so much more than a foodie’s dreamland – centuries of history is relived from one hidden passageway to the next.

I stayed in Staycity’s serviced apartments, which are conveniently located just a 20 minute taxi ride from the airport.

The spacious, modern apartments offer all the conveniences you could need including 24 hour reception, WiFi, fully equipped kitchens and on-site car parking.

Staycity Lyon is also just a scenic thirty-minute walk from the main city centre Bellecour and the business district Part-Dieu making it extremely easy to explore on foot.

And you’re in luck if you don’t want to walk around this gorgeous French city as it’s extremely well connected with trams, metros and bikes.

Lyon

Bellecour is the city centre and home to the city’s largest square.

Simply hop on the C12 bus – which departs just a stone’s throw away from the hotel – and within 15 minutes you’re there.

Here you’ll find plenty of restaurants and shops, ranging from little boutique stores to big name brands like Primark and Zara.

If shopping’s not really your bag you can stellar along the river Saône before stopping for lunch – make sure you go before 2:30pm though because restaurants tend to close in the early afternoon and don’t open again until the evening.

This part of the city is also home to the iconic fountain of the Jacobins, which stands proudly in the middle of the scenic square.

As soon as you arrive in Bellecour you’ll notice The Notre-Dame de Fourvière Basilica sitting at the top of a hill in Fourvière.

Fourvière is Old Lyon – part of the city’s Unesco World Heritage site – and it effortlessly transports tourists to the picturesque Renaissance era.

This district is full of gorgeous old passages leading to a cluster of churches and architectural gems such as The Saint-Jean cathedral.

Here also lies the Palais de Justices des 24 Colonnes and Vieux Lyon – so make sure to get some snaps before getting carried away as you learn about Lyon’s foundations.

If you fancy educating yourself further in the culture and history that has built this great city then simply wander to one of the several museums on offer – namely the Musée des Tissus et des Arts Décoratifs.

Once you’ve sunk your teeth into some history take a stroll around the open market at Place Carnot and try some local produce.

If you haven’t had enough of shopping head over to the city’s business district in Part-Dieu, where you’ll find a massive indoor shopping centre, the Audiotorium and most importantly Halles de Lyon.
Inside the market is every foodie’s paradise. Expect a tonne of individual stores selling the finest cheeses, patisseries, meats and vegetables, as well as boutique restaurants weaved in.

This is where all the important chefs come and source their ingredients and it’s not hard to see why. Keep your eyes open for free samples too – they’re rare here but they happen.

You can find a multitude of off-the-beaten-track restaurants loved by locals, in this part of the city. Daniel et Denise is one of my personal favourites.

Soak up the exquisite French fine-dining atmosphere and make sure to try and pork and steak.

Or if you find yourself wanting to put your feet up and enjoy a meal back at the Staycity apartment you can – as a fridge, hob and a microwave are fitted in the privacy of each room. And there’s a local a supermarket right across the road.

Two days is just enough time to explore this beautiful French city, but you could spend weeks meandering through its winding streets.

FACT BOX
Accommodation
Staycity is located in Lyon’s seventh district.
Flights
Return flights with easyJet start from as little as £55

Written by Cydney Yeates on behalf of the Daily Star

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