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Exploring the area around Lyon September 22-27 by car or train?

After a night's stay in Giverny, we will return our rental car in Paris and then train to Lyon. We will have 5 nights to explore the area before taking a train to Milan/Varenna. We enjoy experiencing culture through local wine and cuisine, art, music and architecture. While we welcome walking, we are not hikers. Also, we prefer train travel to driving, but we realize experiencing the area away from the more touristy spots and larger cities probably requires driving. There is a non-stop from Lyon to Milan leaving at 8 AM, so if we rent a car we would turn it in the night before catching that train and spend that night in Lyon.
We look forward to reading your experience based recommendations.
Merci beaucoup!

Posted by
11743 posts

I took a train from Paris to Lyon. The first day, I walked to local sights in Lyon. The second day, I drove to Vienne (Roman ruins and museum) and Perouges (almost too perfect of medieval town). Day three, I drove to Annecy for a walk and lunch, then continued to Chamonix where I stayed two nights before going south. If I had taken a train, the 2 1/2 hour drive time between Lyon, Annecy and Chamonix would have been 4 1/2 hours of train time (not including connections or wait time).

It's probably best to decide on the sights you want to see, then try connecting them by train and comparing to via Michelin drive time estimates. I think you will decide on a car, but it depends on which sites you pick and how much time you are willing to trade off to skip renting a car.

Posted by
243 posts

Thank you for the helpful guidance and your valuable suggestions. We will most certainly put them into play.