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Lyon Travel Guide

About Lyon

Situated at the crossroads of Europe, two hours from the ski resorts of the Alps and just a little further to the Mediterranean, Lyon's history, architecture, and cultural and culinary delights are more than worthy of a detour on the way to the sun or the slopes.

In fact, the city itself is now a major attraction, whether you like hedonistic music festivals (like Nuits Sonores), fine dining (this is the home of French gastronomy) or lashings of history and architecture.

A UNESCO world heritage site, Lyon's major selling point for many visitors are its distinctive architectural hallmarks and the contrasts in its setting, between two hills (Fourvière and Croix-Rousse) and two rivers (the Rhône and the Saône). Its centre is beautiful, and it’s enough to have you snapping selfies all over the place.

The riverfront is being transformed under an ambitious, six year plan to develop 48km (30 miles) of former docks. The co-called Confluence project is now Europe’s largest single urban regeneration mission, and it include open-air cafes, promenades, viewing points, art installations and galleries as well as nature trails, museums, a huge shopping mall, tram lines and eccentric apartment blocks built like Lego houses in primary colours and blocky shapes.

Lyon itself has a mixed heritage, displaying traits of a typical northern French town in some areas, while other features bear witness to its Latin origins. It’s where north meets south. Lyon’s history of resistance during WWII, of being the cradle of the invention of film and cinema, of its artists, architects and musicians – these all give it a highly cultured and intriguing feel. With outstanding art museums, fantastic shopping and a thriving nightlife, Lyon has become a cultural and dynamic city with plenty to offer.

Thanks to its thrilling dining scene, France's second biggest city is also a gourmet's paradise. With the exception of Paris, Lyon boasts the largest number of Michelin-starred restaurants and famous chefs in the whole of France, so the time to tuck into Lyon has never been better.

Key facts

445,000 (city), 1,783,000 (metropolitan area) (2007)
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Featured Hotels


Cour des Loges

Immaculate contemporary interiors within restored Renaissance buildings make this hotel very special. Lush fabrics, enormous beds and meticulous service combine to fine effect.

Radisson Blu Hotel

A stones throw from the Atheneum in the heart of Bucharest, the 5-Star Radisson Blu Hotel offers guests an all mod con experience. This 487-room business hotel, complete with indoor and outdoor pools, international restaurants, jogging track, meeting rooms and Wi-Fi throughout, is a great base from which to explore the city.

Collège Hôtel

Located in the heart of Lyon's old town, Collège Hôtel is a fashionable school-themed hotel with school desks, blackboards and a refectory. The preppy décor makes some concessions to modernity - rooms are bright and airy and there's Wi-Fi access. Breakfast is extra.

Hôtel des Artistes

This small hotel has a long history of housing singers and actors performing next door at the Théâtre des Celestins. Rooms can be on the small side, but the staff are friendly and the location central. Breakfast is extra.

Globe et Cecil Hôtel

This tasteful, elegant hotel is situated right in the historic centre. Modern features like Wi-Fi access blend seamlessly with the charming décor. The 60 rooms are individually decorated.

Hôtel Dubost

This 2-star hotel is a good option for budget travellers. It's close to the station, clean and inexpensive.