by Romain Berne
Having lived in Lyon for more than 20 years, I have witnessed many changes that have taken Lyon to the top of France’s most visited cities. I hope you will enjoy as I do as a local these 5 most remarkable spots in Lyon:
1. Vieux-Lyon: the old town
This was obvious as Lyon’s historical centre is one of Europe’s most extensive Renaissance neighbourhoods and was the first site to be protected in France. You just cannot visit Lyon without seeing the beautiful old town. I recommend taking the main street early in the morning to avoid the hordes of tourists and in order to go from one street to another by crossing the famous traboules, old hidden passages integrated in the design of the buildings. You may want to enjoy a meal in one of my favourite local restaurant, a bouchon, named Le Cabaretier
Lyon’s historical centre
2. Rhône Riverbank
Whether you chose to have a drink or dine, to go clubbing or simply for a picnic, you will find everything you need along the Rhône riverbank, where boats of many sizes will accompany you in your walk or bike ride. Personally, I enjoy a glass of red wine on a terrace of one of these boats when the sun sets behind one of the biggest monument in the city on the other side of the river, the old Hôtel-Dieu. A little more southern, get refreshed in the swimming pool along the river!
3. Parc de la tête d’or
The “Park of the golden head” is one of the largest urban parks in France. No need to say that it is one of the main places where people from Lyon gather over summer. The large paths please joggers and cyclists but I recommend you boating on the park’s lake with woody islands. If you have children or simply like animals, you will even find in the central part a free zoo. However, I must say that my favourite part of the park is the botanical gardens at springtime. With over 15,000 plants, the Parc de la tête d’or has one of Europe’s richest botanical gardens.
“Park of the golden head”
4. Halles Paul Bocuse
Known to be the capital of gastronomy, Lyon is home to the prestigious Halles Paul Bocuse. This fine food market turns food into art pieces and it will not let you leave it empty-handed. My piece of advice: first go have a coffee in the bar of the emblematic tower “Tour du credit Lyonnais” from where you will enjoy a view over the whole city. Then shop food nearby in the Halles Paul Bocuse for a fine picnic at the Rhône riverbank.
5. A boat ride to La Confluence
Two rivers get married in Lyon: the Rhône and the Saône. After a long walk in the city centre, I enjoy taking a boat-bus that will take me to the end part of the peninsula. The boat hugs the facades of the medieval town before terminating in La Confluence where were built the latest buildings with very interesting modern designs. It is a much-appreciated site for locals as the neighbourhood is brand new for them. Home to a shopping mall and to a monumental museum situated on the confluence of the Rhone and the Saône, this modern area offers new recreations. Euronews headquarters are one of the examples of surprising modern buildings.
Things to do with the locals, visit www.doerz.com/lyon