The best way to see the city's architectural heritage is by night, when over 100 sites are illuminated. Old Lyon, the banks of the Saône, the Presqu'île and Croix Rousse are the liveliest districts and there are a wide variety of bars and pubs scattered all over the city. It is not always easy to choose between Irish, English, Latino, Cuban and other rather exotic watering holes, or even the traditional Lyonnais bars.
The presence in Lyon of prestigious cultural institutions, such as the National Opera, the Célestins Theatre and the Lumière Institute, contribute to the city's international reputation and strong cultural influence.
Remember to check and see if there are DJs in town or even music festivals like the legendary Nuits Sonores (nuits-sonores.com/en) which takes over all the city’s clubs and hosts huge mega raves in the old factories of Confluence for one weekend every May.
Excellent information about all cultural events in Lyon can be found online at Eldorado (www.eldorado.fr) and in local newspapers and magazines, such as Lyon Poche (www.lyonpoche.com), Le Petit bulletin (www.petit-bulletin.fr) and Lyon Capitale (www.lyoncapitale.fr).
Tickets for theatrical or musical events can be bought from the booking offices directly or from FNAC, 85 rue de la République (tel: +33 825 020 020; www.fnac.com).
Bars in Lyon
Café du Soleil
Café du Soleil is a traditional Lyonnais café, perfect for an early-evening aperitif. Situated in a small and charming area of Lyon, this is one of the oldest cafés in the city, having been here for two centuries. It's a friendly alternative to the large fashionable nightspots of the city centre. You can also try Le 110 Vins next door for traditional Lyonnais fare and an impressive wine list of over 300 wines.Address: 4th, 2 rue Saint Georges, Lyon, 69005
Telephone: +33 4 7837 6002.
Right on the water, down in the Confluence, Docks 40 is a place to come and be seen. Local media workers from the city's newspapers and radio stations based over the road, and from Euronews whose headquarters are nearby, congregate with an arty, young set and office workers who want to let their hair down. It gets very lively on Friday nights in the spot they pioneered playing of hip hop swing.Address: 2nd, 40 Quai Rambaud, Lyon, 69002
Telephone: +33 4 7840 4040.
Here we have one of Lyon's most relaxing, yet most lively bars, where they also serve delicious snacks and light meals. How do they manage it all? Because Péniche Loupika is a bar on a boat. The water below, seen from the open deck, gives that relaxed summer holiday feel, yet after dark it's more like an Ibiza boat party. Things always stay civilised though, especially in the summer, when locals stay cool beneath the boat's parasols and their sunglasses.Address: 2nd, 47 Quai Rambaud, Lyon, 69002
Telephone: +33 9 8436 2821.
In the heart of Vieux Lyon, this relaxed pub near the river up does a neat line in beers and stodgy food. The fish 'n' chips and burgers here should line the stomach before you tackle the wide range of whiskies available at the bar, which itself has a distinctly British feel (think: darts, sports screens, a thick oak bar and plenty of expats). The décor, though, is more chic than the sports and exhorts would suggest.Address: 4th, 2 Octavio Mey, Lyon, 69005
Telephone: +33 4 7200 2391.
Clubs in Lyon
Full of laser lights and mirrors, the cool and cosy L'Alibi plies an up-for-it crowd with eclectic sounds. This is a joint where visitors get to meet people from all walks of life and jive to all kinds of music ranging from pop, rock and techno to funk, soul and salsa. Open 365 days a year until 0700, don't expect to leave until first light.Address: 4th, 13 quai Romain Rolland, Lyon, 69005
Telephone: +33 4 7842 0466.
Absolutely the hottest club in Lyon by some margin, Le Sucre takes over the top levels of the incredible La Sucriere, the old sugar processing plant that's recognisable by the huge 'GAUCHE' and 'DROITE' labels painted on its towers. Offering a mixture of hot live bands and cutting-edge DJs, Lyon's hippest crowd gather to take it all in.Address: 2nd, 50 Quai Rambaud, Lyon, 69002
Telephone: +33 4 2782 6940.
Yes Hot Spot
Popular with a chic crowd, you can either chill at Yes Hot Spot, or dance the night away if you want. Each of its three themed rooms offers a different experience from a rustic smoking room to a plush VIP back via a modish club space. In all of them you'll find dolled-up locals drinking whisky and colas, preening and flirting with each other.Address: 4th, 12 quai St Vincent, Lyon, 69001
Telephone: +33 6 6473 1212.
Live music in Lyon
Le Marché Gare
Le Marché Gare, a recent addition to Lyon's live music scene, promotes new acts from reggae to heavy metal. It's located in a former train station, so the venue has an industrial edge, but thanks to the plethora of touring music acts that it attracts, it's the type of sweatbox you'll want to dress down for anyway.Address: 2nd, 34 rue Casimir-Périer, Lyon, 69002
Telephone: +33 4 7240 9713.
Le Transbordeur has two performance spaces: a larger one for established international acts and a smaller stage for local bands. It's been open since 1989 and established itself as a key place in Lyon to see live music. The atmosphere is slightly less raucous than smaller spit 'n' sawdust venues elsewhere in town, but still a great place to get your musical fix nonetheless.Address: 6th, 3 boulevard Stalingrad, Lyon, 69100
Telephone: +33 4 7893 0833.
Classical music in Lyon
The Auditorium is the permanent residence of the Lyon National Orchestra. Since 2000, this symphony orchestra, comprising over 100 musicians, has acquired an international reputation throughout the world. Here at Lyon's Auditorium, they hold wonderful concerts and welcome other orchestras from around the world too. The building itself, designed by Charles Delfante and Henri Pottier, is a concrete marvel that looks like the hull of a huge ocean liner.Address: 3rd, 149 Rue Garibaldi, Lyon, 69003
Telephone: +33 4 7895 9595.
One of Lyon's most prestigious cultural venues, the National Opera houses several institutions. Among them is the Opera Orchestra, which started in 1983, with young musicians and experienced conductors. It alternates classical repertoire works with new compositions.Address: 1st, , Lyon, 69001
Telephone: +33 4 6985 5454.
Dance in Lyon
Maison de la Danse
The Maison de la Danse theatre was created in 1980. The company is completely devoted to choreography, with an emphasis on new productions, but it welcomes French and foreign productions too. The wide variety of dance on show is only matched by the wide variety of drinks in the venue's pleasant bar – perfect for a post-show tipple.Address: 8th, 8 avenue Jean Mermoz, Lyon, 69008
Telephone: +33 4 7278 1818.
Theatres in Lyon
From classical to contemporary, all styles of theatre are well represented in Lyon, and the oldest playhouse in the city, Célestins Theatre, can boast two centuries of continuous dramatic activity. It welcomes Parisian shows as well as regional companies, with productions ranging from classical theatre to modern music hall.Address: 2nd, 4 rue Charles Dullin, Lyon, 69002
Telephone: +33 4 7277 4000.
Théatre La Maison de Guignol
Lyon was also the birthplace of the theatrical puppet figure known as Guignol, which was created in 1808 by Laurent Mourguet. The show, which is aimed towards children but has plenty of sharp-tongued witticisms for adults, is still alive today at the Théatre La Maison de Guignol. Even if you're not catching a show, the building is fantastic space too with a bar and dining options aside from the petit main hall.Address: 4th, 2 montée du Gourguillon St Georges-Vieux, Lypn, 69005
Telephone: +33 4 7240 2661.