Lyon City Guide
How to organize a 3-day city trip to Lyon
By Erasmus Party in Lyon
A bit of history...
Lyon, City of Light, at the confluence of the Saône and the Rhône, is a city rich in heritage and gastronomy. Capital of the Gauls during the Roman Empired, an important commercial and financial place during the Renaissance, a visit to Lyon will captivate you. It's also here that the "Frères Lumières" invented the cinematograph and recorded the first films. A museum is dedicated to cinema for the most passionate.
With 513 265 inhabitants, you will see that the people of Lyon are very chauvinistic but you will understand why.
Fourvière au loin
Let's go and discover it, the Erasmus Party in Lyon team has prepared a little tour for you not to miss anything.
Our goal is not to make you discover only the tourist places, but to give you the best places, even those well kept by the people of Lyon.
You will probably arrive by train at the Part Dieu or the Perrache train station, these stations are very well served and I invite you to go directly to your accommodation to put your things down.
Arrived on Friday during the day, after a long journey I suggest you to relax, to sunbathe in a quiet place and for that nothing better than to visit the park of the tête d'or, between animals, flowered gardens and cotton candy you have what to do for your first hours in Lyon. But don't stay there too long, a beautiful city center and old town await you. Enjoy the park and its surroundings, go to the international city, its architecture will surprise you.
Parc de la tête d'or
Don't hesitate to take a bus to get to the city center of Lyon, the C5 will take you directly to the city center and will take you along the Rhône river. I advise you to take advantage of the festive atmosphere of the city center in the evening, you will see a lot of monuments including the city hall and its opera in front.
Why not go on a little bar crawl between the town hall and the place des terreaux, between bars and pubs you will be spoilt for choice. I particularly like to start with a bar on the place des terreaux, to drink a small glass of wine with a board of sausage and cheese, do not forget that France is famous for its good wines, for its delicatessen and its delicious cheeses without forgetting the very important bread for any French, it is the occasion to come to taste them. Once your belly is full, it's time to party, what to choose between bar, club, pub... the choice is vast and during your university year you will have time to discover all these places. It's hard for me to make a choice but if I were you, I would go and have a few shots at the Barberousse, it's very tight on Friday nights but the atmosphere is great.
Place des Terreaux
New day in Lyon, with a beautiful sun in front of us, I recommend you to walk along the rue de la république, street where you can do your shopping and which will take you straight to the place Bellecour. Huge place in Lyon, with a view on the Fourvière cathedral your escapade for this afternoon. Take the opportunity to admire it from below, about 800 steps are waiting for you to go to the top. But before that, cross the Rhône river and discover the old Lyon. Historical district of Lyon, it is known for its traboules.
Traboules are pedestrian passages through the courtyards of buildings that allow you to go from one street to another. By pushing a door of building you fall in splendid courts and streets.
La tour rose
Treasure hunts in Lyon are a good idea to discover them, if you have time, don't hesitate to do one. They will allow you to go to known and not so known places and to learn about the history of Lyon. I was able to test one myself with QuiVeutPister.
During your visit in the old Lyon I strongly advise you to go and sit on the terrace in a "bouchon Lyonnais", I already said it but I repeat myself, Lyon is known for its gastronomy, a very typical cooking awaits you in these restaurants. There are about twenty restaurants with the label "bouchon Lyonnais", yes because it is a label! Not everyone can cook a delicious pike quenelle. In Lyon, prepare yourself to gain a few pounds, between the traditional salty and sweet dishes, it will be complicated to keep your figure.
After a good walk in all the small streets and after having passed by the place saint Jean and saint Paul, I propose to the most courageous to climb the famous 800 steps to eliminate the kilos taken with the "bouchon Lyonnais". For those who are tired, don't worry, a funicular is waiting for you towards the Vieux Lyon metro station. You have two choices: either go up to admire the view from Fourvière and visit our beautiful cathedral (F2), or take the other funicular (F1) which will take you to the amphitheater and the Gallo-Roman museum. If you are in Lyon during your university year, don't rush to do everything. It is impossible to do everything in Lyon in one weekend, so take your time.
Little hidden gems:
Leave Fourvière and go have a beer at the "jardin des curiosités". (12min walk)
There are two places I recommend to settle down with friends and start your before party. The most famous and most populated on the banks, of the Rhône or the Saône, depending on your school. Everyone gathers on the quays before going to the club. But if you want more peace and quiet, I suggest you go to the Jardin des Curiosités, a beautiful garden where few tourists go for a walk. You will have a much lower view than Fourvière with nobody in front of you and no wall in front of you. If you are not exhausted by your day, go dance in our nightclubs. There are too many to recommend, I'll do a dedicated article. But if you are already on the docks I can recommend you to party on the Ayers Boat. It's a barge where all the young people go to have their student party.
Ayers Boat avec l’hôtel Dieu en fond
I hope you are not too tired, I still have many places to share with you and especially in the Croix Rousse, I think it's my favorite district of Lyon so here we go. Where to start... After your evening rich in meetings, I suggest you to savor a praline brioche, take it, the day before.
I can only advise you to go to a Pralus store. You have several in Lyon, so don't panic if you haven't had time to buy one. Today we are going to the Croix Rousse and you have one on the main street of the Croix Rousse. Buy one and eat it on a bench in front of a beautiful panorama. Then I have a place to show you, a little walk to get there (20min) or you can take a bus (C13 from Croix Rousse) but the view is worth it. It's the Carthusian garden. I love this view, without tourists, in the morning it's magical.
The praline is a candy made of an almond wrapped in cooked sugar
For your visit of the Croix Rousse you have a lot of things to see. If you like street art, don't hesitate to get lost in the alleys, you can also see stairs rich in color. (Rue Prunelle and Passage Mermet)
Jardin des chartreux
Stroll all day long in the small streets of Lyon and get lost and then find yourself in the evening in a bar that I love at the Croix Rousse, open every day and with a great atmosphere. I recommend you to go and drink a Chouffe at Paddy's corner or in the bar in front of Galopin. Two bars where the atmosphere is great and your evenings will be successful. At Paddy's the average age is higher but that never prevented me from having fun and having a good time.
To finish this article I would tell you to take your time. Doing Lyon in 3 days is possible but you won't see everything, focus on some places and come back to Lyon as soon as possible to visit other places. The surroundings of Lyon are also sublime and they deserve to be seen as well.