Visiting the 10 Best Lyon Parks

Whether you're looking for Rhône riverside picnics or fabulous rooftop panoramas, you'll feel like a Lyon local when you savour time in the city’s green spaces.


Here are our insider tips on 10 of our favourite Lyon parks.

The 4 main Lyon parks


Parc de la Tête d’Or

Tucked into a meander on the River Rhône, Lyon’s biggest urban park is also its most splendid. Stretching over 117 hectares (290 acres), it was laid out in 1857 with monumental gates, soaring glasshouses brimming with tropical palms, and magnificent sculptures watching over walkways wending through fragrant, neatly tended rose gardens. There’s a boating lake, a compact zoo dedicated to the conservation of endangered species like Asiatic lions and red pandas, a mini-golf course, a puppet theatre, jogging trails, along with waterside picnic spots and ducks to feed. You can even catch a mini-train to explore the whole of the park. In short, it's ideal for a break from city sightseeing – and best of all, everything is free! 

6th arrondissement.

  • Park: open 6:30am–10:30pm in summer; 6:30am–8:30pm in winter
  • Zoo: open 9am–6pm in summer; 9am–5pm in winter

Good to know: If you're staying at the luxurious Pullman Lyon, this bucolic park is just a comfortable stroll away.

Parc des Hauteurs

Trundling to the top of Fourvière hill by funicular adds to the magic of visiting the iconic Parc des Hauteurs. Once you alight, head to the Fourvière Basilica Esplanade (free with the useful, money-saving Lyon City Card), from where you’ll see UNESCO-listed Lyon, Saint-Jean-Baptiste Cathedral, the River Saône and the Presqu’île peninsula spread out in breathtaking detail below. You’ll find a couple of architectural treats up here too: the sparkling-white Basilique Notre-Dame de Fourvière, with its impressive marble interior swathed in mosaics, and the Tour Métallique, a mini-replica of the Eiffel Towerthat is lit up at night. The park itself clings to the hillside, and you can walk leafy, tree-shaded terraces back down to the river.

5th arrondissement. Open 24/7. Free admission.

Good to know: Catch the Ficelle 1 funicular from Vieux-Lyon – Cathédrale de Saint-Jean station; the trip is free with a Lyon City Card.

Parc de la Confluence

At the southernmost tip of the Presqu’île peninsula, this park sits at the meeting points of the mighty Rhône and Saône rivers, and is an ongoing urban renewal project laid out over the gritty remains of abandoned docks. Water gardens and unique river views attract crowds for picnics among recently planted trees, and the district is morphing into a one-stop entertainment hub with sleek restaurants and shops. Perched like a praying mantis over the complex, the futuristic glass-and-steel canopy of the Musée des Confluences (free with the Lyon City Card) hosts interactive exhibitions on anthropology and science; take the kids to see the gigantic Choulans mammoth skeleton.

2nd arrondissement. Open 24/7. Free admission.

Good to know: If you're looking to stay nearby, Novotel Lyon Confluence is steps away from all the action.

Parc de Gerland

The perfect antidote for kids proving resistant to sightseeing, this massive green space is another Lyon park sitting on a regenerated industrial site alongside the River Rhône. It’s laid out with playgrounds for toddlers, open playing fields for ball games and shady spots under trees for picnics, while paid sports facilities include a ping-pong hall, tennis courts and a skatepark. Don’t miss out on a serene stroll through the Megaphorbiaie water gardens, ablaze with canary-yellow irises in summer.

7th arrondissement. Open 24/7. Free admission.

Good to know: From here, you can cycle along the banks of the Rhône to the suburban Grand Parc Miribel-Jonage in around an hour.

The 2 hidden gems among Lyon parks

Jardin des Plantes

Bijou in size, Lyon’s oldest park opened in the early 19th century, and is home to a spectacular ancient treasure: the UNESCO-listed remains of the Amphitheatre of the Three Gauls, which has straddled La Croix-Rousse hill since 19 AD. It was an early landmark in the Roman city of Lugdunum, and while only fragments now remain, it’s open daily for you to explore at will.

1st arrondissement. Open 24/7. Free admission.

Good to know: Enjoy superb views from the top of Jardin des Plantes over the amphitheatre and across to the Basilique Notre-Dame de Fourvière and Tour Métallique on Fourvière Hill.

Parcs des Berges du Rhône

More a series of public spaces and walkways than a conventional ‘park’, the Berges du Rhône stretch south from the Parc de la Tête d’Or to Parc de Gerland along the eastern side of the river. Where once there were dreary car parks, you can now hike or cycle 5 kilometres (3 miles) of waterfront, hang out in the sun on grassy banks or watch kids boarding at Bowl de la Guillotière skatepark. There’s an open-air swimming pool – perfect for a cooling dip in summer – at the Centre Nautique Tony Bertrand, a lively dining scene in barges moored along the quays and al fresco events taking place all year around.

7th arrondissement. Open 24/7. Free admission.

Good to know: You can use bikes from Vélo’v stations for free with the Lyon City Card.

The 2 best suburban parks

Parc de la Feyssine

Forming a green link between the Parc de la Tête d’Or and Grand Parc Miribel-Jonage, Lyon’s playground covers 55 hectares (135 acres) of organically maintained woodland and meadows on the site of a former reservoir. Keep up your fitness regime on Rhône riverside jogging and cycling tracks, take the kids on the park’s free orienteering course or choose a secluded spot for a romantic picnic à deux.

Boulevard Laurent Bonnevay. Open 24/7. Free admission.

Grand Parc Miribel-Jonage

Need a break from sightseeing? Join Lyon locals in this sprawling park set around the Lac des Eaux Bleues for waterside strolls, biking and picnicking. Water-sports aficionados can get out on kayaks, SUPs and dinghies to explore the lake islands, while landlubbers may prefer golf at the 9-hole course, a tennis match or a high-octane hurtle across the lake on a zip line. It’s a summertime paradise for kids too, when the lakeside beaches and floating aqua park are open.

Chemin de la Bletta, 69120 Vaulx-en-Velin. Open 24/7. Free admission. Prices for the sports facilities vary.

Good to know: Download a free app to lead you round all the park’s highlights on a circular walk or bike ride suitable for families.

The best national parks near Lyon

Pilat Regional Natural Park

Hiking in Alpine foothills, white-water rafting at Saint-Pierre-de-Bœuf. An imposing feudal castle at hillside Rochetaillée-sur-Saône and ancient Roman ruins to explore at Saint-Romain-en-Gal. Pilat has got the lot. The park is half an hour’s drive south of the city, so if you’re staying in Lyon hotels for a few days, don’t miss the chance to discover this peaceful corner of the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes – or taste some of the delicious Côte-Rôtie and Condrieu wines in the region’s vineyards!

Open 24/7. Free admission.

The Chartreuse Mountains

An hour’s drive east from Lyon is a landscape of jagged peaks, dramatic gorges and alpine meadows strewn with wildflowers in spring. If you’ve got the taste for a day of adventure, take the wooden funicular from Saint-Hilaire du Touvet to Petites Roches for Mont-Blanc panoramas and paragliding across the Grésivaudan Valley. In winter, ski or sledge with the kids at the Col de Porte. And whenever you visit, we suggest you sample Chartreuse liqueur at the Grande Chartreuse Monastery (its recipe is still a closely guarded secret).

Open 24/7. Free admission.

Now you know where to head whenever you need a relaxing break from sampling Lyon’s gourmet restaurants, discovering the city’s historic traboule passageways or investigating the ornate Renaissance-era architecture of Vieux-Lyon. Source a picnic of baguettes, soft Saint-Marcellin cheese and charcuterie from Les Halles de Lyon Paul Bocuse and you're all set to head for the Lyon park of your choice.

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