What are some top things to see and do in Lyon? Well, Lyon is the second largest metropolitan area in France and it’s a must visit destination when you’re in the country. I often find that people are so crazy about seeing Paris, yet this is also a topnotch destination. So when you go to La Ville Des Lumières, what should you do when you get there?

Visit La Notre Dame de Fourviere & L’hotel de Ville

Notre Dame de Fourvière sits atop a large hill in the 5th arrondissement. Outside this beautiful church is a view of the entire Lyonnais city skyline, and during a nice afternoon you’ll be able to experience a breathtaking sunset.

Meanwhile city hall sits in the middle of Presqu’île, and is a wonderful site to see at night when the building is lit up in it’s entirety. It also serves as good meeting point for friends.

Eat Authentic Lyonnais Food

Lyon is often known as the gastronomical capital of France thanks to many famous chefs in town. The food is excellent and the attention to detail on traditional dishes is immense. If you go to a Bouchon (they can be overbooked), you’ll get the best cooking Lyon has to offer, however you may not enjoy the close, familial seating proximities. Have no fear, most regular restaurants feature Lyonnais fare as well as more commonplace cuisine.

If you’re eating kebabs in Lyon, then you’re doing it wrong.

Attend a Festival

I don’t want to outline all the details here, so if you’re interested you can do some more research on your own. Every year lyon has several festivals, for example the Fête des lumières, the Nuits de Fourvière, and the Nuits Sonores.

La Fête de la Musique occurs on the 21st of June throughout all of France. I personally would rather be at Paris for this one, however Lyon would be a good alternative.

Walk Along the River or Within the City

Lyon is a bike friendly city, however if you can’t get your hands on a two-wheeled contraption then walking is the best way to take the city in. A relaxing walk along one of Lyon’s two rivers is a great way to enjoy the afternoon. Likewise, by navigating throughout the inner city you’ll appreciate the beautiful architecture, statues, and monuments. You’ll be closer to the inhabitants. You should take your time, take some pictures and take it all in.

Have a Drink on or Right off La Rue Ferrandière

Every evening you’ll find this long alley of bars and restaurants bustling with French people. It’s a lively part of the city where young and old gather to chat with friends, enjoy a drink, have a meal, or overall just relax.

However, don’t think all the fun is on this street. There is a booming nightlife in Lyon and you can find almost anything around the city. Keep in mind that apéritif is had almost everyday (around 6 to 9 depending), but the popular days to go out are Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. Also French people don’t hit the clubs until later in the night due to them being open until early in the morning.

Attend an Olympic Lyonnais Match

Olympic Lyonnais is a top-tier French football club with a lot of recent success (for the time being). Located in the southern portion of the city in the Stade de Gerland, the crazy home atmosphere can make any visit to Lyon worthwhile. Depending on the opponent, you can find tickets for a decent price. Unfortunately the 7th arrondissement does have a problem with prostitution, but don’t let that spoil your fun before or after the game.

Not a soccer fan? Lyon offers rugby, basketball, and hockey matches as well although I’ve personally never been to any of them.

Visit the Roman Ruins

History buffs rejoice because there are plenty of museums in Lyon. But wait, there’s more! In the year 43BC, the area of Lyon was occupied by the Romans. The city, Lugdunum, eventually had aqueducts as well as amphitheaters built (among other things). If you’ve haven’t previously seen Roman ruins then here in Lyon you’ll be able to walk through them.


I hope this list gives you some ideas for your next vacation or trip to France! Make your way to Lyon and don’t be afraid to meet new people or try new things. If you have any other suggestions of what to do in Lyon then simply comment below.

– John

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