I have to admit that a long weekend in Lyon and its environs was not high on my list prior to my sister moving there in August, but I’m so glad to have had a reason to visit. From the moment I stepped off the (highly-efficient) métro, Lyon began to woo me with candy-coloured buildings and sunny skies. From beautiful churches to tree-lined avenues and Roman ruins to a gourmet food scene, Lyon ticked all the right boxes! Here’s how we merely skimmed the surface in 36 hours in the city.
We stayed in an Air BnB in the heart of Vieux (Old) Lyon, which made it easy to wander most places we wanted to go. Literally moments from this beautiful Cathédrale, our apartment was also located all-too-close to an amazing ice-cream shop. Just the thing when you’ve got true August heat in France!
Reunited, with ice-cream… what could be better?!
MANY beautiful shopfronts and doors in Lyon
We were in the mood for a wander, as well as a late lunch, so headed across the Saône River through the centre of Lyon, and over to the Rhone.
Wasn’t kidding about the doors
The Saône with the Basilica in the background
An oasis in the city centre
Our wandering became massively successful when we stumbled upon the Star Ferry – home to more brews than you could shake a pint glass at and some seriously delicious nibbly bits (as my friend Laura would say).
With the heat of the day still present, it was lovely to sit by the river and watch the swans float by – especially over a brewski or three. Stuffed full of cornichons and beer, we headed back over the bridge into the city.
Zoe and Tom pondering the river at sunset
By now, it seemed like most of Lyon was promenading or relaxing on the riverbanks, which had paths at water level as well as at street. It felt like we had always been part of the throngs who were chatting or contemplating, enjoying the cooler temperatures by the water.
After all our wandering our stomachs were starting to growl again. For a visit to a city known as a gourmet centre, I’d not done that much food research. Luckily, it seemed that this didn’t pose a problem – there were delicious smells floating on the breeze from all sides. We ended up at Pique Assiette, seated on tall stools outside, and delighted with all that we ordered. I particularly enjoyed the French approach to salad, featuring a whole lot of bacon as well as lettuce!
The next day, I was up with the larks, or at least the market-traders, for a run along the Saône – a lovely start to the day. I ran straight through the Sunday market setting up on the river-banks, drooling slightly at the delicious saucisson and fresh fruit.
After a quick breakfast and excellent cold-brew coffee at Cafe Mokxa, more exercise called – this time climbing to the top of the Fourvière hill for some sweet city panoramas and Basilica-gazing. The steps were slightly painful but the views were worth it!
Climbing a French hill-top in my activewear…
The beautiful Basilica up-close
The 19th century basilica wasn’t the only impressive structure in the Parc… less than 5 minutes away the incredible Roman Theatre cascades down the hillside. Built between 15BC and the 2nd century AD, it could seat up to 10,000 people – amazing. Standing on the tiled stage I felt very small, but also very tempted to break out a Shakespearean monologue.
Although I felt like I had only scratched the surface of the cultural and gastronomic delights Lyon had to offer, it was almost time to head off to Saint-Étienne to see where Zoe and Tom were making their home for the next six months. I say “almost” time… as there’s always time for one more ice-cream!
Have you visited Lyon? Where was your favourite spot?
Linking up with some of my favourite travel-bloggers this week: Travel Linkup with Emma, Polly, Angie and Tiffany, and also #WanderfulWednesday with Marcella, Lauren, Van and Isabel – check out their travel link-ups and their fantastic blogs using the links!