Our Hotels in Lyon
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Areas in Lyon
Thanks to its former trading wealth, Lyon is a repository of great art as well as heritage displays in major museums. Alongside its steep medieval alleys stand fine examples of contemporary architecture, and the city is also the launch pad for skiing holidays in the snow-capped Alps as well as a modern, forward-thinking commercial hub. But most important of all, Lyon is one of the truly great foodie destinations of the world, with more than its fair share of Michelin stars as well as an innovative and ever-changing gourmet scene.
Whether you're planning a Lyon visit to dine on haute cuisine, stopping overnight on the way to a ski resort near Lyon, or fancy a tour of Lyon tourist attractions, we have a hotel portfolio full of properties to suit every occasion.
Things to do in Lyon
Due to its size, knowing where to start a Lyon tour can be daunting. We suggest you head for charismatic Vieux Lyon for a stroll along Saône quaysides before turning away from the river for a peek at the exquisite astrological clock in Cathédrale Saint-Jean-Baptiste. From there, steep cobbled alleyways and traboule covered passages lined with blush-pink Renaissance townhouses lead up to hilltop Fourvière and the landmark, Byzantine- and Romanesque-style Basilica of Notre Dame de Fourvière, completed in 1884. Its gleaming-white, 4-spired exterior almost looks modest and plain when contrasted with the frenzy of decoration inside the church.
Close by, there are excellent views over the riverine city (and the Alps on a clear day) from the Tour Métallique de Fourvière (a mini Eiffel Tower), and you can take a breather in tree-shaded Parc des Hauteurs before continuing on to Lyon's Roman amphitheatres, with pottery, sculpture and mosaics beautifully displayed in the underground Museum of Gallo-Roman Civilisation.
Lyon has several more standout museums: sitting on the expansive Place des Terreaux, the Musée des Beaux-Arts offers a romp through French art, with famous works by Delacroix, Géricault and the Impressionists. The futuristic, steel-and-glass Musée des Confluences, crouching over Presqu'île like a praying mantis, has a diverse treasure trove of dinosaur skeletons and vintage cars, while the Lumière Institute showcases antique film cameras and screens thought-provoking films in an art nouveau villa.
Other Lyon Activities
There are reminders of Lyon's lucrative heritage everywhere, with guided tours of five centuries of silk-making at the Maison des Canuts, and the gigantic Mur des Canuts fresco depicting workers at their looms. The Musée des Tissus et des Arts Décoratifs has displays of Renaissance tapestries and 18th-century costumes made from silk, and for a Lyon souvenir, you can source bespoke silk fabrics and shawls in the ateliers of Passage Thiaffait.
And speaking of shopping, you can bargain-hunt in the department stores on rue de la République, unearth hat-makers and artisan silverware in cute Passage de l'Argue – and if you're in the city over the weekend, join the Lyonnaise locals for a rummage through antique furniture and books at Les Puces du Canal flea market in suburban Villeurbanne (15 minutes' drive).
This is a cultured city too, with plenty to do after dark – ask our hotel concierges to book tickets for performances at the Opéra National de Lyon, in its splendid neoclassical home redesigned by architect Jean Nouvel in the 1990s, or for outdoor concerts at the Théâtre Gallo Romain de Lyon in summer.
If you're on a family break in Lyon, treat the kids to a run around in the Parc de la Tête d'Or, where they can visit lions and giraffes at the zoo, and go boating in summer. For more fresh air Lyon-style, meander down the riverside promenades. And in winter you can be on the ski slopes in as little as 90 minutes.
Best Lyon Restaurants
Second only to Paris in its status as a major gastronomic destination, Lyon is known for its top-end fine-dining restaurants – legendary Michelin-starred chef Paul Bocuse was a founding father of the city's gourmet scene. But not all the best restaurants in Lyon are about haute cuisine and equally high prices. Lyon's simple "bouchon" bistros showcase the best of organic regional produce on menus serving Lyonnais dishes including quenelles au brochet (poached pike dumplings), spicy Lyon rosette charcuterie and brioche rolls stuffed with sausage – you'll find traditional bouchons along Presqu'île's rue Mercière and in Vieux Lyon overlooking the Saône.
Elsewhere in the city, Bocuse's name lives on at the Halles de Lyon – Paul Bocuse food hall, an enticing and aromatic covered market stockpiling quality local ingredients including spices, truffles (in season) and patisserie. You can pick up other regional specialities like macarons, award-winning chocolates and sweet marzipan Coussins de Lyon from refined confectioners around the city.
You'll need something delicious to accompany all your scrumptious edible treats, so it's lucky that Lyon is sandwiched between the great wine regions of Burgundy and Beaujolais to the north and the Rhône Valley to the south. Wine bars throughout the city – from the bouchons to quirky hangouts selling organic wines – offer up a choice of world-class regional red, rosé or white wines at unbeatable prices. If you have the chance, try a communard apéritif – a glass of red Côte du Rhône or Beaujolais mixed with the blackcurrant liqueur crème de cassis.
Best Lyon Hotels
Our Lyonnaise accommodation with a touch of luxury includes 4-star Lyon hotels like the Hotel Mercure Lyon Centre Plaza Republique, with a spa and exclusive cocktail bar, as well as Mercure Lyon Centre Beaux-Arts, a charming Lyon city-centre hotel near Place Bellecour. For a choice near Lyon Perrache train station and the shops of La Confluence, we recommend Aparthotel Adagio Lyon Patio Confluence, while some of our best Lyon hotels are found near the visitor attractions of Fourvière and Vieux Lyon old town. If you have an early-morning start, overnight in one of our hotels near Gare de la Part-Dieu or hotels near Lyon's airport.
Getting to Lyon
Flights from across Europe, the Middle East and some African countries arrive at Lyon-Saint Exupéry Airport, 30 minutes' drive east of Lyon. The Rhônexpress shuttle train runs daily into Lyon's Gare de la Part-Dieu; journey time is 30 minutes. A coach service, taxis and car-rental facilities are also available at the airport, and in winter, shuttle buses run daily to ski resorts in the Alps, including Courchevel, Les Deux Alpes and Méribel.
Lyon has two main railway stations; high-speed TGV services from Gare de la Part-Dieu depart regularly to Marseille, as well as Paris or Lille for ongoing connections to Eurostar, the UK and northern European capitals. Regional trains covering the entire Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region leave from Gare de Lyon-Perrache.
Getting Around Lyon
Although areas of the city such as Vieux Lyon and Presqu'île are best explored on foot, navigating Lyon is easy, thanks to its integrated public transport system, encompassing métro, tram and trolleybus lines. Bike-hire kiosks are available at points throughout Lyon, which has a city-wide network of cycling lanes as well as bike-friendly pathways along the River Rhône.
When to Visit Lyon
The weather in Lyon can be quite unpredictable. Summers are hot and prone to storms, while winters are typically cold and dry. Despite this, it's popular with visitors all year round, thanks both to its role as gateway to the Alps and its enticing schedule of events.
Lyon Biennale of Contemporary Art kicks off in alternate autumns with cultural happenings right across the city, and with wine festivals, celebrations of silk, paeans to techno music, or al fresco classical concerts at the Théâtre Gallo Romain in early summer, there's something to see in Lyon at any time of year. But the biggest draw of them all is early December's truly magical Festival of Lights, when landmarks across the city come alive with breathtaking illuminations, and more than a million visitors pour in to enjoy the spectacle.