Famous for its food, silk and cinema, the point where north and south meet, and with a history by turns troubled and prosperous, Lyon is a city with many faces.
Located in the centre of France, Lyon has flourished over the centuries to become a thriving major city. From Bocuse to the Lumière brothers and Jean Moulin, from colourful silk workers to mischievous boys, not to mention Guignol, the famous offspring of the capital of the Gauls, whose silhouettes adorn the city's painted walls, still live on in the heart of the city.
With two hills and two rivers, the areas of Lyon are easy to find. At the bottom of Fourvière, the "hill that prays", Lyon Old Town is a pretty mishmash of buildings Italian Renaissance-inspired buildings, passageways and little cobbled streets dotted with vintage shops and traditional restaurants, leading to the beautiful Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist. From there take the old funicular to climb up the hill and explore the Fourvière Basilica, take in the panorama of the city or go back in time at the Roman amphitheatre or the adjoining Gallo-Roman Museum.
Further east, nestled between the Rhône and the Saône, is the Peninsula, with its wide, shop-lined avenues and impressive squares. Make time to wander around and do a spot of window-shopping, while admiring the majestic buildings, such as the City Hall, Opera House or Museum of Fine Arts.
In the northern part of the peninsula is the Croix-Rousse hill, an area with a typically Lyonnais atmosphere. Unlike its counterpart, the Croix-Rousse hill is traditionally an area of industry, with its silk workers, looms and silk manufacturing. With a joyfully informal atmosphere, Croix-Rousse market is another local institution where you can pick up some tasty treats.
Among the many museums, several recount the city's history and culture, be it cinema, silk, the exploits of the resistance or even Guignol. To escape the urban jungle, the Parc de la Tête d'Or is a huge haven of greenery. And if you're not bothered by crowds, come around 8 December for the Festival of Lights to see the buildings lit up in lavish colours.
With an airport, several train stations and excellent road links, Lyon can be easily reached from all over France and abroad. Once there, you can move around the city easily with its handy and extensive underground, bus and tram system. The city's self-service bicycle rental scheme, Vélo'v, is the perfect solution for more sporty types. Just watch out!
With its unique history and geography, Lyon is a foodie destination whose secret flavours will delight all your senses!