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Top Activities in Lyon

See all 184 things to do in Lyon

Lyon Attractions

France’s third largest city nestles at the confluence of the Rhône and Saône rivers. It is an important cultural economic and historic centre. Known to the Romans as Lugdunum Lyon is most famous for its food so gastronomes are in for a treat. Within its fantastic old town you can find Roman ruins 17th century palaces and churches and some fine museums. Very tasty!

Areas & Neighbourhoods in Lyon

Vieux Lyon — When the French government decided to protect its historic sites

the old town of Lyon was first on the list. The Renaissance houses that cluster around the Cathedral of St Jean are magnificent – you can almost see the 16th century Italian bankers who lived here – and the 11th century Manécanterie choir school is the oldest building in the city.

Croix Rousse — The red cross was named for a brownstone Christian cross that was erected here in the 16th century – the area is most famous for its silk industry. The silk workers called Canuts would scurry through the traboules passageways transporting their woven silk to the river and picking up raw silk from the docks. Nowadays La Croix Rousse is the place to find boutiques and music.

Presqu'île — The peninsula between the two rivers is the heart of Lyon with the town hall dominating the Places des Terreaux square. This is the place to eat out at the best restaurants splash some cash in luxury shops visit department stores and check out some great museums. The St Pierre palace a former Benedictine monastery is home to the fine arts museum.

Fourvière — The district overlooking the old town to the east is known as the Hill That Prays in reference to its large preponderance of churches. This is where the Romans settled Lugdunum and you’ll find the remains of Roman baths a theatre and an odeon used for Roman musical performances.

Things to See in Lyon

Start in the Place des Terreaux to marvel at the Hotel de Ville and then walk to the Museum de Beaux Arts nearby to see works by the great Renaissance painters and their successors – Rodin Rubens Monet Rembrandt Matisse and Picasso. Walk up the river to see the fantastic waterfront architecture then pay a visit to La Croix Rousse to find out about the appalling working conditions of the Canuts. For a relaxing stroll or a picnic head to the Parc de la Tete d’Or with 117 hectares of carefully-tended plants and lawns.

Things to Do in Lyon

The Musee des Confluences is located at the pretty confluence of two rivers but the real aesthetic appeal lies in the collection that it holds inside. Food has to be high on the agenda in Lyon. It’s not hard to find a restaurant with at least one Michelin star and in summer the streets are full of checked tablecloths for al fresco dining. With guided tours available for all the main attractions including some in period costume and tickets for the opera for those who book in advance there’s always something to entertain visitors to Lyon.

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Where to stay in Lyon

Lyon City Centre

Gourmet restaurants interesting history and top sights from Bellecour Square to Part Dieu Mall – discover Lyon City Centre, a destination also famous for its shopping.

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La Presqu'ile

Spread over a narrow peninsula between the Rhône and Sâone rivers, Lyon’s commercial center draws in visitors with its luxury shops and cultural institutions.

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Old Lyon

If you're spending time in Old Lyon, you might enjoy attractions like Basilica of Notre-Dame de Fourvière and Lyon Cathedral. You might also enjoy the neighbourhood's ample dining options before hopping on the metro at Vieux Lyon Station to see more of the city.

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3rd Arrondissement

Noted for its shopping and river views, there's plenty to explore in 3rd Arrondissement. Top attractions like Part Dieu Mall and Tour Part-Dieu are major draws, and you can hop on the metro at Dauphine - Lacassagne Tram Stop or Sans Souci Station to see more of the city.

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5th Arrondissement

Explore this compelling city district, which encompasses Lyon’s most famous sites, including Fourvière hill and Vieux Lyon.

Historical BuildingsDiningRomantic

6th Arrondissement

Consider a visit to Tete d'Or Park and take some time to enjoy the abundant dining options during your time in 6th Arrondissement. If you want to see more of the city, jump on the metro at Massena Station or Foch Station.

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The Best Things to Do in Lyon

From stunning architecture to gourmet dining, there is plenty to keep you entertained in Lyon. Here's our list of the best things to do while in Lyon.

Amy Baker
The Best Things to Do in Lyon. Opens in a new window.

Top things to Do in Lyon for Football Fans

Looking to book a football vacation? Follow in the footsteps of Olympique Lyonnais and discover the best things to do in Lyon for football fans!

Expedia Team
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