If you're looking for a destination with the sophisticated charm of Paris and five-star food, the French town of Lyon is for you. With over 4000 restaurants ranging from traditional Bouchons to three Michelin Star restaurants, this enchanting city is a dream destination for lovers of food - and who doesn’t love to eat! But whether you consider yourself a foodie or not, Lyon has a lot to offer. It is France's second largest metropolitan area and combines the romance of the Roman era with historical charm being one of the oldest Renaissance cities in the world. Needless to say, this is one very special place. Here’s how to make the most of your stay from where to go to what to eat.
Where to stay:
Immersing yourself in everything a city has to offer is the first rule of travelling. So it goes without saying that Lyon’s world Heritage site of Vieux Lyon, also known as ‘the Old Town’, is the place to be.
And smack, bang in the middle of that area is the five-star Cour des Loges. This hotel is the pick of hotels, with a selection of restaurants literally at its doorstep and it’s own rich history, dating back to the 14th century.
The hotel itself is a stunning mix of modern luxury meets old beauty made up of a row of historic buildings, which over time, have been joined together to create a truly unique space. It has its own Michelin Star restaurant, a bistro, cosy piano bar and beautiful spa with indoor pool, jacuzzi and sauna - the perfect spot to unwind after a day exploring the culture-rich city.
WheRE to EAT
Traditional Bouchons are Lyon’s own type of restaurant, which are casual bistros that offer delicious home style cooking. However, being in Lyon, each one has a world class chef - and trust us the food will change your life.
The old town is home to hundreds of Bouchons, so you will be spoilt for choice. But be wary of the tourist traps as some places may claim they are a classic Bouchons. The concierge at your hotel will point you in the right direction, but as a general rule make your way to Rue du Boeuf in the Old Town where you will find the best of what the ancient city has to offer.
Given you are in the gastronomical capital of the world dining at one of the many Michelin Star restaurants is a must. If you only have time to visit one, make it Restaurant Paul Bocuse. It is a little further out of town – a 20 minute drive from the Old Town – but well worth the trip. This restaurant offers more than just exquisite dishes, its art on a plate that has been perfected over 54 years. So it’s no wonder it has held three Michelin Stars since 1965.
What to do:
While you could spend all your time eating, if you're looking for something to do between lunch and dinner the city has an abundance of things to do.
The culturally-rich museums are worth a look as are the Romanesque churches dotted around town. The shopping in the city is amazing and a visit to the famous Les Halles de Lyon - an indoor food market - is a must. Here you’ll see the city’s best patisserie chefs show off their incredible skills.
One thing that must be included to your itinerary is a walking tour of the Roman ruins. It’s the best way to take in an amazing view of the entire city, experience the impressive La Basilique Notre Dame de Fourvière and walk through the Ancient Theatre of Fourvière which was built around 15BC.
On your way back you’ll even get to walk through one of the oldest Renaissance towns in the world – a truly amazing experience.
When to go:
A trip to Lyon will be amazing any time of year, but its proximity to some of the world's most revered locations should absolutely be taken advantage of. If you love skiing, the French Alps are just a two hour drive away, so plan a day trip to the ever-desirable locations of Val D’isire and Corchevel. If the warmer months are more your thing, head south to the famous St Tropez – just a four hour drive from Lyon. Keep tracking up the coast and you’ll find Cannes and Nice.
All year round you also have the added amazing bonus of two of the world’s most renowned wine regions in Beaujolais - 30 minutes north and Côtes du Rhône - 40 minutes south. Lyon truly is a remarkable place, so no matter what season tickles your fancy – just get there and make sure you’re hungry!