A flourish of fabulous new accommodation, cultural sights galore, and a raft of exciting festivals will keep you royally entertained; whether it’s discovering the revamped Confluence district, ambling around the cobbled streets of Vieux-Lyon, or sipping coffee in the bohemian hangouts of Croix-Rousse, Lyon has it all.
And best of all, it’s now easier than ever to get there, thanks to the new, direct Eurostar link with London, which means you can be in the city in just five hours.
Make sure you also take a stroll around Vieux-Lyon, with its dense lattice of narrow streets, fantastic Renaissance-inspired architecture and hidden traboules (tunnelled passageways that served as shelter for silk-weavers as they moved their delicate pieces from one area to another), then hop aboard the funicular to Fourvière and the Basilica Notre-Dame – if vertigo isn’t a problem, partake in a rooftop tour for superlative views of the city and, on a clear day, the Alps.
Film buffs won’t want to miss the engrossing Institut Lumière, which documents the pioneering work of cinematographers Auguste and Louis Lumière. Don’t miss, either, the Musée Garnier, named after the eponymous urban planner; it’s not a museum as such but rather an open-air exhibition of murals painted on the ends of apartment blocks.
Lyon is also home to the bouchon, homely, idiosyncratic establishments that tend to specialize in the type of grub that your granny might prepare, and some she might not, like andouillette (hot cooked tripe sausage) and lambs feet.
Two of the most enjoyable bouchons are Daniel et Denise, whose gregarious chef, Joseph Viola, rustles up a sensational paté en croute (crusty foie gras and sweetbread paté), and the all-female run Les Bouchons des Filles, whose house speciality is a mouth-watering Croustille de Bodin aux Pommes (black pudding with apple and herbs wrapped in pastry).
Coffee lovers should head for Mokxa, on a sunny little square in Croix-Rousse; while, for something cooler, Terre Adélice, in the Old Town, offers some 150 differently-flavoured ices and sorbets, including exotic concoctions like honey and rosemary, and salted caramel cream.
Mama has also arrived in Lyon, courtesy of Mama Shelter, whose snappy, Starck-designed rooms are sure to raise a wry smile (doubles from €69).
Image courtesy of Mama Shelter
Budget-busters, meanwhile, should make haste for the Slo Hostel, whose all-white dorms (bed €25) and communal areas, and sun-trap patio, are a delight.
It’d be remiss to leave Lyon without some foodie treats, so pay a visit to Les Halles des Lyon Paul Bocuse, named in honour of the city’s most celebrated chef; drool your way around stalls piled high with sumptuous goodies like saucisson, cheeses and truffles – then stock up, but be warned, it ain’t cheap.
Top image © prochasson frederic/Shutterstock