City Break in Lyon, Franta – Ce sa faci 3 zile in Lyon, obiective turistice

France is an attractive destination for any traveler, being a country with beautiful landscapes and a rich cultural, historical, artistic and culinary heritage. In addition to the very popular places in the country, such as Paris, the Cote d'Azur or the Loire Valley, France has lots of ther locations that are worth visiting.

This time we chose the city of Lyon, which did not disappoint us at all. It is a charming city, a location that we recommend to any traveler, a perfect destination for a city break in a weekend, or for a longer vacation, through which you can also visit the surrounding areas.

About Lyon

Lyon is the third largest city in France, after Paris and Marseille, with a population of 500,000 inhabitants, but with over 2,200,000 inhabitants in the metropolitan area. Lyon is located in the southeastern part of the country, at the confluence of the Rhône and Saône rivers. It is the capital of the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region.

Lyon is a city with a rich history of 2000 years, which has left its mark on the city: Roman ruins, medieval or Renaissance buildings and skyscrapers are clear proof of these changes of times. At the same time, the central area, consisting of the Vieux Lyon district, Croix-Rousse and the Fourviere hill, is part of the UNESCO Cultural Heritage since 1998.

How do you get around in Lyon

Lyon has a very well organized transport system. You can choose to travel by metro, tram, bus or regional train. To travel by public transport, you have several options:

  • you can buy a single ticket, valid for one hour on any means of transport, which costs 1.9 euros
  • there are also tickets for 24 hours (6 euros), 48 hours (12 euros) or 72 hours (16.5 euros)
  • if you want to travel with the funicular, you have to buy a separate ticket, which costs 3 euros and is valid for the round trip with the funicular

You can buy the tickets from the vending machines in the stations and validate them immediately after entering the means of transport. You can also download the TCL application, the official application of the company that deals with public transport, to study the local transport map.

If you want to make different day trips, you have the following options:

  • regional trains - you can buy tickets from the station or directly from the SNCF application
  • Flixbus buses – you can buy tickets from the station or directly from the FlixBus application
  • BlaBlaCar buses – you must buy tickets online, from the BlaBlaCar application

How to get from the airport to Lyon

Lyon Saint-Exupery Airport is located at a distance of 30 kilometers from the city center. To get from the airport to the city, you have several options:

  • TramRhonexpress is the most popular way to get from the airport. The price of a ticket is 15 euros, or 30 euros round trip. But it should also be taken into account that from the point where the tram will leave the city, in order to reach the center, you have to change a means of transport, for which you pay another 1.9 euros. You can buy tram tickets from the vending machine or online, here:
  • Uber / Taxiarriving quite late in the evening at the airport, and being a larger group, it was more advantageous for us to order an Uber. An Uber ride to the city center cost us 60 euros.
  • Public transport: the cheapest way modalitate to get to the airport is by means of local public transport: from the center we took metro line A to the end of the line, at Vaulx-en-Velin La Soie station. From there, we took tram 3, to the Meyzieu Z.i. station. (4 stops), and from there we took bus 47, to the airport (10 stops). It is the cheapest option, for which you pay 1.9 euros / hour. If you choose this option, allow yourself more time to get to the airport. The advantage is that you pay less for transport, but the disadvantage is that you have to change 3 means of transport, and you lose more time on the road.
  • Private buses, such as BlaBlaCar Bus. A trip costs 5 euros, but you must have the ticket bought online in advance

Where to stay in Lyon

In Lyon, there are many places to stay in the central area. Depending on everyone's budget or needs, you can choose to stay in the old center or in the area close to the train station, if you plan to take day trips outside the city.

Because we chose to travel outside the city, we chose this hotel near the train station:

Where to eat in Lyon

Lyon is considered the capital of gastronomy, so for lovers of gastronomic trips, Lyon is the perfect place: here you can find various refined culinary restaurants, where gourmets can enjoy fine dining.

Those traditional places, called bouchons, are famous here. They are small restaurants, specific to Lyon, famous for their fine dishes and the warm and intimate atmosphere inside. It is usually a set menu, consisting of an appetizer, main course and dessert, served with a local wine. The price of the menu is fixed, and can start from 30 euros, depending on the place or menu. You can find most of these places in the old center of Vieux Lyon. The recommendation would be to reserve a table in advance at a bouchon, because they are always quite crowded.

Traditional local in Lyon

What to do in Lyon - Daily Itinerary

For this city break we had 2 and a half days time to visit. We arrived in the city on Friday evening and the next day we discovered the city. On Sunday, the third day, we took a day trip and we chose the town of Annecy as our destination. Monday evening we had our return flight, so in the first part of the day we continued to explore Lyon.

Day 1 – Lyon

After breakfast, we started towards the city center. From the hotel, we walked along the banks of the Rhones river, thus admiring the buildings on the eastern bank. We stopped straight at the Bellecour square.

Bellecour Square

Bellecour Square - the statue of King Louis XIV, and the Fourviere hill behind
Bellecour Square - the statue of King Louis XIV, and the Fourviere hill behind

Place Bellecour is the largest square in Lyon and the largest pedestrian square in Europe. In the center of the square is the statue of King Louis XIV. Behind the square, the Fourviere hill can be seen splendidly, along with the Basilica of Notre Dame de Fourviere.

From this square, if you go north, you will reach Rue de la Republique, a popular, crowded street full of all kinds of shops. Besides, there are many shops with luxury clothes in the area. At the end of this street is the Place de la Republique.

Palace of Justice
Palace of Justice

From this square, we crossed the bridge to the Palace of Justice, a pedestrian bridge from where you have a wonderful view of the entire Fourviere hill, and of the two churches: Saint-Jean Baptiste Cathedral, respectively Notre Dame de Fourviere Basilica.

In partea de jos - Catedrala Saint-Jean Baptiste, in partea de sus - Bazilica Notre Dame de Fourviere
At the bottom - Saint-Jean Baptiste Cathedral, at the top - Notre Dame de Fourviere Basilica

Saint-Jean Baptiste Cathedral

Saint-Jean Baptiste Cathedral
Saint-Jean Baptiste Cathedral

We arrived at the Saint-Jean Baptiste Cathedral, in the old center, one of the jewels of Lyon. It is a Roman Catholic cathedral, being also the seat of the Archbishop of Lyon. The building was started in the 12th century and finished in 1476.

Old Center – Vieux Lyon

Vieux Lyon represents the medieval area of Lyon, currently being the old center of the city. It is an absolutely wonderful area, with Renaissance buildings that take you into the atmosphere of other centuries, being one of the largest Renaissance neighborhoods in Europe. Today the old center is full of little shops with local products, but also restaurants and bouchons, specific to a gastronomic capital, such as Lyon.

Les Traboules du Vieux Lyon

The large, heavy, wooden doors, which can be found in the old center (Vieux Lyon), hide some of the most beautiful and interesting secrets of the city. These doors lead to secret pedestrian passages, on the ground floor of the buildings, so called Traboule. These corridors were built in the medieval period, but are still used today, generally by locals, to shorten the distance between the streets. 

There are some public Traboules, open to tourists, but they are not easy to identify: some have a sign on the door, others appear on Google Maps or on other maps of these passages. We visited some of them, we passed through some narrow inner courtyards. We found them very interesting.

Although these passages are open to the public, be aware that those buildings are inhabited, so foreigners are asked to keep quiet.

What was funniest is that in the area we saw a lot of tourists trying all the doors in the old center, hoping that maybe they will find another secret passage to visit. Most of the doors are closed, in fact, only a few are open.

Les Traboules du Vieux Lyon
The passages open to tourists are marked with a sign on the door

After eating at a restaurant in the area, we continued our walk towards the Fourviere hill. We decided to take the F2 funicular up to the basilica. A ticket cost us 3 euros, and it was valid for the round trip.

F2 funicular
F2 funicular

Basilica of Notre Dame de Fourviere

The Basilica of Notre Dame de Fourviere is another jewel of the city of Lyon, and it is visible from the entire central area, being located high on the hill. The church was built in the 19th century and is dedicated to the Virgin Mary.

Basilica of Notre Dame de Fourviere
Basilica of Notre Dame de Fourviere

Next to the basilica you can enjoy a superb panorama of Lyon: the old center, the two rivers Rhones and Saône or the clouds in the distance.


Gallo-Roman Theatre

Right next to Notre Dame de Fourviere church, there are also the ruins of the former Roman theater, discovered in the 20th century. The access is fre to visit the ruins. If you want to visit the museum, however, you have to buy a ticket for 4 euros.

From here we went back down to the center, crossed the bridge and arrived again in the Bellecour square.

Terreaux Square

Hotel De Ville - Lyon City Hall
Hotel De Ville - Lyon City Hall

From Bellecour square we arrived in Terreaux square in a few minutes. It is a beautiful square, where Hotel De Ville, the town hall of Lyonand the Museum of Fine Arts are located. In the area there are numerous restaurants where meals can be served, we chose to eat also (Eden Rock Café).

Day 2 - Annecy

The next day we wanted to do something else, and we decided on a day trip to Annecy. From what we previously documented on the internet, Annecy was the best option for a day trip from Lyon. Other options were Geneva (we had already visited the city), Chamonix, the city in the Alps (here we would have needed several days to fully explore the entire area of the Alps), or other cities in the area, such as Grenoble or Dijon .

In the end, we chose Annecy, and we loved it. Annecy is a truly charming city, we were completely fascinated by the small town, ith its colorful houses, with the promenade area on the lake shore or with the superb view from the castle. And since we had the opportunity to catch the Christmas Market, the city had an enchanting, festive atmosphere.

I invite you to discover Annecy, by reading this article: 1 Day In Annecy: Little Venice From The Alps - Tourist Attractions.

Day 3 - Lyon

In the first part of the third day, we continued to visit the tourist sights of Lyon.

The Museum of Confluences

The first time we arrived at the Museum of Confluences. It is located right at the confluence of the two rivers Rhone and Saone, and is a building with a modern architecture. The museum includes various scientific, technical, cultural, historical and geographical exhibitions. You can buy tickets online from GetYourGuide. Just note that the museum is closed on Mondays.

We managed to reach the area only on Monday, although we knew it was closed, but we wanted to admire the architecture of this building.

Tete d'Or Park

Changing the T1 tram and the C4 bus, we then went to the Tete d'Or Park, the largest urban park in France. Here you can walk along the paths of the park and feel like you are in a forest, admire the lake in the middle of the park, visit the zoo or botanical garden.

As alternatives for this day, we could have also visit the Museum of Arts or the Museum of Cinema and Miniatures.

This was our itinerary in Lyon, with all the tourist sights visited. Lyon is a charming city, and it deserves at least 2 days to be fully discovered.