Here’s a list of the 15 best things to do in Lyon (France), along with famous landmarks, museums, and other points of interest.
Lyon is famous for its beautiful, atmospheric Traboules. These secret passageways were used by merchants that wanted to transport their goods through the city without being noticed.
They were generally built so goods could be moved from private homes to the river Saône where they were loaded onto canuts. Many of these little paths offer a uniquely historic atmosphere that shouldn’t be missed.
Parc de la Tête d’Or
The Park de la Tête d’or (in English: Park of the Golden Head) is Lyon’s most popular park and offers a space of around 117 hectares of beautiful greenery.
Especially in summer, the park gets very busy and many residents of Lyon use it for lunch breaks or as a place to meet friends. Many people also come to the Park de la Tête d’or for its sports facilities. There is a horse riding area, a boules court, and even a mini-golf course.
Basilica of Notre-Dame de Fourvière is Lyon’s religious highlight and is often considered both a landmark and a symbol of the city. It was built in the late 19th century and, due to its elevated location, can be seen from all around the city center.
The structure was built in a Romanesque and Byzantine style of architecture and features four beautiful towers on each end of the church.
The basilica’s richly decorated interior with beautiful vaulted ceilings and Corinthian columns is also a highlight as it offers splendor and elegant beauty that is unmatched in the region.
Lyon’s Vieux (Old City) is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage and is one of the must-visits of the city. The large Rennaisance district is an inviting area for walks and offers several great sights such as the Cathédrale Saint-Jean-Baptiste and the Musée des Arts de la Marionnette.
The historic district is located along the Saone River and also features a splendid boulevard with numerous shops, cafes, and restaurants. Strolling around in the old town is one of the best things to do in Lyon.
Musee du Cinema et de la Miniature
The museum offers a collection created by the artist Dan Ohlmann. The theme of the institution is the hyper-realistic display of miniature everyday scenes.
Apart from the 120 miniature scenes on display, there are also 450 filming objects to be found here. This museum is uniquely interesting and offers entertainment for everyone. This is not just a place for movie nerds and kids!
Le Mur Des Canuts
The gigantic mural ”Le Mur Des Canuts” is one of the largest in Europe and depicts the day to day life in the historic La Croix-Rousse neighborhood. The main objects of the mural are the famous silk weavers that used to live here.
The fantastic detailing of the mural is truly breathtaking and together with the many colorful houses found here it is a real highlight that is worth visiting for its unique beauty and historic significance.
Astronomical Clock of Lyon
The Astronomical Clock of Lyon is situated in the fantastic Cathédrale Saint-Jean in Lyon. Every full hour an angel’s hand appears and a rooster crows three times, then the bell music of the church starts to ring out.
This clock is one of the most beautiful clocks in the world and features many interesting astronomical aspects such as the position of the moon, the sun, and the stars of Lyon’s night sky.
The Astronomical Clock of Lyon is not just beautiful but also of monumental size as it measures around nine-meters.
The Cathedrale Saint-Jean-Baptiste offers more than just the impressive Astronomical Clock. The church was built in an interesting mixture of the Gothic and Romanesque styles of architecture in the 15th century.
It wows visitors with its monumental façade with arches reaching a maximum height of 32 m. Due to the large number of visitors coming here it is best to visit the cathedral in the morning.
Fresque des Lyonnais
Fresque des Lyonnais is a big painting located on the side of a grand building in central Lyon. It depicts 30 influential residents of Lyon. The painting covers an incredible size of 800 m².
It was painted in 1994 and 1995 by the same group of artists that also worked on the Le Mur Des Canuts. Most of the personalities depicted on the Fresque des Lyonnais stand on their respective balconies greeting the pedestrians on the road.
Lugdunum (formerly Gallo-Roman Museum)
Lugdunum is dedicated to the Gallo-Roman civilization of Lyon and is located right in the center of the former Roman town.
The museum offers an interesting collection of archaeological artifacts from the Roman, Celtic, and pre-Roman eras. Amongst the objects on display are jewelry, statues, and objects of everyday life.
Apart from the archeological collections, there is also a plan-relief of the ancient Roman town to be found here which includes all the important monuments of the time including the theater and the odeon.
Museum of Fine Arts of Lyon
Lyon also offers a great Museum of Fine Arts. The venue is located in a historic Benedictine convent that was restored recently and now serves as a beautiful facility of the museum.
The Museum of Fine Arts offers artworks from a wide range of epochs, from ancient Egypt to modern works, every era is presented here. The collection consists of not just paintings but also sculptures, coins, and graphic arts.
Les Halles de Lyon Paul Bocuse
Les Halles de Lyon Paul Bocuse is Lyon’s top destination for food lovers. The produce on offer here is of the highest quality, freshly grown, and mostly from regional farms.
But the array of goods on offer here far exceeds that of a typical market, there are also chocolate makers, florists, and even bakers to be found here. The market also offers interesting cooking classes and many excellent restaurants that offer some of the best dishes in all of Lyon.
The Musée Testut-Latarjet is a great science museum that offers many exhibitions dedicated to the human body and its anatomy. Some exhibits are dedicated to pathological conditions and criminal anthropology.
The history of medical science is also thematized including the display of historic medical tools and apparatuses.
Institut Lumière is a great film museum that not only acts as a traditional museum with an interesting exhibition of film objects but also acts as an event venue and cinema.
The institute is named after Auguste and Louis Lumière, former residents of Lyon who are today often considered the fathers of the cinema. The institute is located in the renovated Lumière factories, making a visit even more interesting.
Watch a football game
Olympique Lyon is one of the best French football clubs coming second only to PSG in terms of popularity and international success. The Parc Olympique Lyonnais, also called Groupama Stadium, is one of the largest stadiums in France with a capacity of nearly 60.000.
This is one of the best places to experience French football. Particularly exciting and atmospheric are the Champions League games played here during the week. Make sure to check the schedule to see if a game is on during your visit to Lyon.
Lyon River Cruise
One of the most comfortable ways to explore the sights of Lyon is by joining a Rhone river tour. Many of the city’s top attractions like the Basilica of Notre-Dame can be enjoyed from the water.
There are various tours on offer, some only concentrate on Lyon while taking guests on day trips exploring the city’s surroundings. Just choose whatever interests you and book a tour. Tickets can be purchased online, or directly from vendors.
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