France Spotlight: Lyon!

We all know about Paris and the range of free things to do in Paris but there’s another great city you should visit next time you’re in France. That city is Lyon, the third largest city in France. From the time you arrive at the Saint Exupéry Airport to the time you leave, you’ll be treated to a world of delicious cuisine and ancient architecture. Let’s take a look at a few of Lyon’s greatest features.

Food: Lyon is considered the gastronomical capital of the world, and for good reason. There are a number of delicious Lyonnaise specialties that are unique to the city. It’s a dream come true if you love pork as they have a million ways to cook it. It’s also the home of Paul Bocuse, nicknamed the Pope of French cuisine. Try one of his restaurants if you’re looking for something lighter with a focus on fresh ingredients. Or consider visiting a bouchon, a traditional-style of Lyonnaise restaurant if you’re looking for more of a classic French atmosphere.

Presqu’ile District: The Presqu’ile District is the best place to see Lyon’s unique sense of architecture. Visiting this area can be like stepping back in time. You’ll see buildings that are centuries old standing alongside more modern works. Also, be sure to visit the Rua de la Republique while you’re there. This Lyon’s main street to do some shopping.

Les Nuits de Fourviere: The Nuits de Fourviere is an annual outdoor festival with a focus on music, theater, and film. This is a must-see if you love music. It has hosted many legendary rock acts in the past, and frequently accommodates 130,000 people. Along with hearing some great music, you’ll also be treated to an incredible atmosphere. Most of the performances are held in Lyon’s Roman amphitheater which has been around since 15 BC. You’re not going to see a show like this anywhere else.

Basilica of Notre Dame de Fourvière: Another example of Lyon’s unique architecture, the Basilica of Notre Dame de Fourvière is a massive structure overlooking the city. This building provides an interesting study in contrasts. It is adorned very simplistically on the outside but ornately decorated on the inside, showing a Byzantine influence. As a dedication to the Virgin Mary, it also serves as Lyon’s spiritual center.

Musée des Beaux Arts: Along with the Louvre, Musée des Beaux Arts is one of the largest museums in France. It houses artwork from ancient Egypt all the up to art from modern times. As a result, there is a massive variety of different art styles to experience. It’s an absolute essential for any art lover.

Parc de la Tête d’Or: When you decide to take a break from the city, you might consider visiting the Parc de la Tête d’Or. This massive, 290 acre park is the perfect place to see some nature during your stay. It features a zoo, botanical gardens, and a lake where you can rent a boat. There’s also a mini golf course that both kids and adults can enjoy.