Europe Travels

24 hours in Lyon – A Travel Itinerary

Balloon Festival

Lyon, was a transit stop on our way from Luxembourg to Geneva. It took about 5 hours on the TGV from Luxembourg Gare to Gare de Lyon-Part-Dieu and we reached this beautiful town around 1 pm. We were to leave at 9 am the following morning, so we packed in everything that we could see in this short time. If you have the time, Lyon makes for a great weekend stay.

Where to stay in Lyon

The Vieux Lyon, or Old Town Lyon is situated on the banks of the river Saone and is really the historic city centre of Lyon. There are a number of hotels to stay here. However just above the Vieux Lyon, on a small hill, is the Fourviere which is really a quiet residential part of the town. It is connected through a funicular to the old town so accessing this part is only a matter of minutes. We stayed at a friendly airbnb in the Fourviere area but if you are looking for luxury you could also choose to stay at the Hotel Lyon here, which was just across from where we were staying.

What to see in Lyon

The Basilica of Notre Dam sits on the Fourviere and towers over the Old Town. If you are staying in the Fourviere area you could actually start your tour from here. Adjacent to the basilica is one of the most ancient sites in Lyon, the principal remains of the Roman city of Lugdunum. It comprises of a Roman amphitheatre and a smaller odeon. You can then either take the funicular down to the Vieux Lyon or just walk down. We preferred to walk and it was quite rewarding indeed. In about 20 mins we reached the alleyways of the Old Town.


The entrance to the Basilica of Notre Dam in Fourviere


The ruins of the Roman Amphitheatre


A replica of the mask of the dead man installed in a garden on our way to the Old Town

The Old Town square is dominated b y the Cathedral Saint Jean, a medieval gothic cathedral most famed for its astronomic clock. This is really the heart of Lyon. You can spend some time looking inside the cathedral and also admiring the views around this square. Just walking around the alleyways of the Old Town aimlessly is sure to spring up surprises for you. Do check out the House of Lawyers (Maison des Avocats) which now hosts the Miniature and Cinema Museum.


Cathedral Saint Jean



The House of Lawyers

Right adjacent to the Old Town is the bridge across the river Saone and a walk along its bank is highly recommended. From here you will see why Lyon is the second most visited city in France after Paris.


Book sellers along the banks of the Saone


Lyon is dotted with frescoes and two of the most prominent is the La Fresque des Lyonnais, a mural of some 30 of Lyon’s famous figures from both past and present, including the Roman emperor Claudius, the pioneer filmmaking Lumière brothers, silk weaver and inventor of the Jacquard loom Joseph-Marie Jacquard, author and aviator Antoine de Saint-Exupéry and others.

Another one that you are sure to bump into is the La Bibliothèque de la Cité.



And thats how we enjoyed the little time that we had in Lyon. There is definitely a lot more to do in Lyon if you wish to spend more time. But for now thats all I got from Lyon.

Have you been to Lyon? Do you have local tips for Lyon? Do leave your comment below.


Happy travels !


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