36 Best Places and Things To Do in Lyon, France

Lyon, France, is a city known for its rich history, stunning architecture, and mouthwatering cuisine. As the gastronomic capital of the world, Lyon offers a plethora of culinary delights, along with beautiful landscapes, cultural attractions, and a vibrant atmosphere. Whether you’re a food lover, history enthusiast, or simply seeking a memorable experience, Lyon has something for everyone. Here are some of the best places to visit and things to do in Lyon:

1. Vieux Lyon (Old Lyon)

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Begin your exploration in Vieux Lyon, the city’s historic district. This UNESCO World Heritage site is renowned for its well-preserved Renaissance architecture, narrow cobblestone streets, and traboules (secret passageways). Lose yourself in the labyrinthine alleys, visit the impressive Saint-Jean Cathedral, and wander through the charming courtyards.

2. Basilique Notre-Dame de Fourvière

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Perched atop Fourvière Hill, the Basilique Notre-Dame de Fourvière is a stunning masterpiece of architecture and a symbol of Lyon. Explore the ornate interior of the basilica, which showcases intricate mosaics and beautiful stained glass windows. Climb the tower for panoramic views of the city, where you can witness Lyon’s picturesque landscape unfold before your eyes.

3. Parc de la Tête d’Or

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Escape the bustling city and find tranquility in Parc de la Tête d’Or, Lyon’s largest urban park. This sprawling oasis features beautifully landscaped gardens, a large lake, and a zoo. Take a leisurely stroll, rent a boat on the lake, or simply relax amidst nature’s beauty. The park is also home to the Botanical Garden, with an impressive collection of plants from around the world.

4. Les Halles de Lyon Paul Bocuse

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Indulge your taste buds at Les Halles de Lyon, a gourmet food market named after the renowned chef Paul Bocuse. This culinary paradise offers an array of fresh produce, artisanal cheeses, charcuterie, pastries, and other local delicacies. Immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere, savor delicious samples, and bring home some edible souvenirs.

5. Musée des Confluences

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Discover Lyon’s cultural heritage at the Musée des Confluences, an architecturally striking museum located at the confluence of the Rhône and Saône rivers. This interdisciplinary museum showcases a wide range of exhibits, including natural history, anthropology, and science. Engage in interactive displays, learn about the history of humanity, and marvel at the museum’s stunning contemporary design.

6. Institut Lumière

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Lyon holds a significant place in the history of cinema as the birthplace of the Lumière brothers, pioneers of early filmmaking. Visit the Institut Lumière, housed in their former residence and workplace, to learn about the birth of cinema and its evolution. The museum features fascinating exhibits, screenings of classic films, and the chance to explore the brothers’ preserved filming studio.

7. Croix-Rousse

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Explore the bohemian neighborhood of Croix-Rousse, known for its artistic and creative vibe. This former silk-weaving district is filled with vibrant street art, independent boutiques, and lively cafés. Climb the hill to enjoy panoramic views of the city and delve into the neighborhood’s rich history, which played a significant role in Lyon’s silk industry.

8. Les Bouchons Lyonnais

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Lyon is renowned for its traditional bouchons, charming bistros serving up hearty Lyonnais cuisine. Sample local specialties such as coq au vin, quenelles (dumplings), andouillette (sausage), and the famous Lyonnais salad. Immerse yourself in the convivial atmosphere of these authentic eateries, where you can enjoy a true taste of Lyon.

9. Les Nuits de Fourvière

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If you visit Lyon during the summer, don’t miss the Les Nuits de Fourvière festival. This annual event brings together music, dance, theater, and cinema performances in the stunning setting of the ancient Roman theater of Fourvière. Experience the magic of live performances under the stars and witness the city’s vibrant cultural scene come to life.

10. Musée des Beaux-Arts

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Art enthusiasts shouldn’t miss the Musée des Beaux-Arts, one of France’s largest fine arts museums. Housed in a beautiful 17th-century building, the museum boasts an extensive collection of paintings, sculptures, and decorative arts from various periods. Admire works by renowned artists such as Rembrandt, Monet, Picasso, and Rodin.

11. La Presqu’île

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Explore La Presqu’île, the peninsula located between the Rhône and Saône rivers. This lively district is a shopper’s paradise, featuring a mix of high-end boutiques, department stores, and charming local shops. Take a leisurely stroll along the pedestrian-friendly streets, visit the iconic Place Bellecour, and indulge in some retail therapy.

12. Les Puces du Canal

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For vintage lovers and antique enthusiasts, Les Puces du Canal is a treasure trove. Located in the Villeurbanne neighborhood just outside Lyon, this flea market offers a vast array of unique finds, including furniture, clothing, books, and collectibles. Spend a morning or afternoon browsing through the stalls and uncovering hidden gems.

13. Boat Cruise on the Rhône and Saône

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Experience Lyon from a different perspective by embarking on a boat cruise along the Rhône and Saône rivers. Enjoy picturesque views of the city’s landmarks, such as the Basilique Notre-Dame de Fourvière, while gliding along the tranquil waters. Choose between daytime or evening cruises to suit your preference.

14. Les Subsistances

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For a dose of contemporary arts and cultural events, visit Les Subsistances. Housed in a former military complex, this vibrant cultural center hosts exhibitions, performances, workshops, and festivals throughout the year. Immerse yourself in the cutting-edge world of contemporary arts and witness the creativity of local and international artists.

15. Parc des Hauteurs

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If you’re seeking a breathtaking view of Lyon, head to Parc des Hauteurs in the suburb of Sainte-Foy-lès-Lyon. From here, you can enjoy panoramic vistas of the city’s skyline and the surrounding countryside. Pack a picnic, relax in the park’s tranquil setting, and soak in the stunning views.

16. Lyon Street Art Tour

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Lyon boasts a vibrant street art scene, and a street art tour is an excellent way to explore the city’s urban artistic expressions. Join a guided tour or embark on a self-guided adventure to discover colorful murals, graffiti, and street installations that adorn the city’s walls, adding a creative touch to its streetscapes.

17. Musée Miniature et Cinéma

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Step into the world of miniatures and cinema at the Musée Miniature et Cinéma. This unique museum showcases an impressive collection of meticulously crafted miniatures and props used in films. Marvel at the intricate details and craftsmanship, and learn about the magic behind the scenes of movie-making.

18. Les Monts d’Or

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Escape the city and explore the natural beauty of Les Monts d’Or, a range of hills located just north of Lyon. This picturesque area offers scenic hiking trails, charming villages, and stunning viewpoints overlooking Lyon and the surrounding countryside. Immerse yourself in nature, breathe in the fresh air, and enjoy the tranquility of the hills.

19. Musée de l’Imprimerie

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Lyon has a rich printing history, and the Musée de l’Imprimerie celebrates this heritage. Explore the world of printing through interactive exhibits, antique presses, and a vast collection of books and printed materials. Learn about the evolution of printing techniques and their impact on society and culture.

20. Mur des Canuts

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Embark on a cultural journey by visiting the Mur des Canuts, a magnificent mural located in the Croix-Rousse neighborhood. Depicting the history of the silk workers, or “canuts,” this large-scale artwork offers a glimpse into Lyon’s industrial past. Admire the vibrant colors and intricate details as you learn about the city’s silk industry.

21. Musée des Automates

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Step into a world of whimsy and wonder at the Musée des Automates. This charming museum features a collection of vintage automata, mechanical toys, and musical instruments. Be enchanted by the intricate movements and delightful melodies of these beautifully crafted objects.

22. Parc de Gerland

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If you’re looking for a place to relax and enjoy outdoor activities, head to Parc de Gerland. This expansive park offers walking paths, green spaces, and sports facilities. Enjoy a leisurely stroll, have a picnic by the lake, or join a game of soccer or tennis. The park is also home to the Stade de Gerland, Lyon’s former stadium and a significant sports venue.

23. Croix-Rousse Market

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Experience the lively atmosphere of the Croix-Rousse Market, held every day except Mondays. This bustling market offers a wide variety of fresh produce, artisanal products, clothing, and crafts. Immerse yourself in the local ambiance, interact with vendors, and discover the flavors and colors of Lyon.

24. Musée Gadagne

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Discover Lyon’s history and heritage at the Musée Gadagne, a fascinating museum housed in a Renaissance-era building. The museum offers exhibits on the city’s history, puppets and marionettes, and the history of silk production. Explore the well-curated displays, learn about Lyon’s past, and appreciate the building’s architectural beauty.

25. Cité Internationale

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Take a stroll through the Cité Internationale, a modern complex situated on the banks of the Rhône River. This vibrant area encompasses parks, gardens, restaurants, and cultural institutions. Enjoy a leisurely walk along the river, dine at one of the waterfront restaurants, or catch a performance at the Auditorium de Lyon.

26. Les Confluences Shopping Center

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Shop to your heart’s content at Les Confluences Shopping Center. This contemporary shopping complex features a wide range of fashion boutiques, designer stores, and popular brands. After a shopping spree, take a break and enjoy a meal at one of the restaurants overlooking the convergence of the Rhône and Saône rivers.

27. Les Jardins du Rosaire

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Find serenity in Les Jardins du Rosaire, a peaceful garden located near the Basilique Notre-Dame de Fourvière. This hidden gem offers a tranquil escape from the city’s hustle and bustle, with beautiful views, meticulously manicured flower beds, and shady paths. Take a moment to relax, reflect, and enjoy the quiet ambiance.

28. La Maison des Canuts

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Dive deeper into Lyon’s silk history at La Maison des Canuts. This interactive museum provides insight into the techniques and craftsmanship involved in silk production. Discover the history of Lyon’s silk industry, watch demonstrations of weaving and silk printing, and browse the boutique for unique silk products.

29. Lyon’s Rooftop Bars

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Enjoy a drink with a view at one of Lyon’s rooftop bars. From these elevated vantage points, you can admire the city’s skyline and landmarks while sipping on cocktails or enjoying a glass of wine. Some popular rooftop bars include Le Sucre, Le Sofitel Bellecour, and Mama Shelter Rooftop Bar.

30. Les Pentes de la Croix-Rousse

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Wander through the Les Pentes de la Croix-Rousse neighborhood, known for its bohemian atmosphere and artistic community. Explore the narrow streets adorned with colorful murals, discover independent boutiques, art galleries, and cozy cafés. This area has a unique charm that reflects Lyon’s creative spirit.

31. Guignol Puppet Show

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Delight in the traditional Guignol puppet show, a beloved form of entertainment in Lyon. Guignol is a witty, charismatic character that has been entertaining audiences for centuries. Watch a performance at one of the puppet theaters in the city and join the laughter and applause.

32. Musée Lumière

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Lyon is the birthplace of cinema, and the Musée Lumière pays homage to this artistic medium. Housed in the former residence of the Lumière brothers, inventors of the cinematograph, the museum showcases the history of film through interactive exhibits, vintage cameras, and screenings of classic films. Discover the evolution of cinema and its impact on popular culture.

33. Vieux Lyon at Night

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Experience the enchanting ambiance of Vieux Lyon at night. The cobblestone streets, illuminated buildings, and charming alleys take on a magical atmosphere. Explore the narrow traboules, admire the beautifully lit facades, and indulge in a candlelit dinner at one of the cozy restaurants. The night adds a touch of romance and mystery to the city.

34. Musée d’Histoire de Lyon

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Discover Lyon’s fascinating history at the Musée d’Histoire de Lyon. Located in the historic Hôtel de Gadagne, the museum presents the city’s past through artifacts, documents, and multimedia exhibits. Learn about Lyon’s Roman roots, its role in the silk trade, and its importance in the French Revolution. Gain a deeper understanding of the city’s cultural heritage.

35. Lyon by Bike

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Explore Lyon on two wheels by renting a bike and pedaling through the city’s bike-friendly streets. Lyon has an extensive network of cycling paths, making it easy to navigate and discover its many attractions. Visit the parks, ride along the riverbanks, and explore the various neighborhoods at your own pace.

36. Lyon Street Food Market

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If you’re a fan of street food, don’t miss the Lyon Street Food Market. Held at different locations throughout the city, this vibrant market brings together a variety of food trucks and stalls offering a diverse range of cuisines. Sample international flavors, taste local specialties, and savor the vibrant street food scene in Lyon.