Please sign in to post.

thoughts about Lyon

We are thinking of spending a couple of nights in Lyon on our way f rom Annecy to Paris. What should we prioritize? Are 2 nights enough -- we are thinking of the Roman remains, the Notre Dame church and a couple of good dinners including quenelle -- I have had them at Tour d'Argent in Paris and loved them and want to try them in their birthplace.

What else should I know? Where should we stay?

Posted by
18727 posts

I think two nights is awfully short. There's Old Lyon with the traboules, the Resistance Museum, the Textile Arts Museum, the Musee des Confluences, the film museum and the Croix Rousse district. I missed the last three due to an untimely bout of bronchitis, but they are often recommended here. I liked the Fine Arts Museum, too, which I think is considered a good one; but I'm a nut for art museums in general. As I recall, Rick has a chapter on Lyon in his guide to France. He has some suggested sights here: https://www.ricksteves.com/europe/france/lyon

Posted by
780 posts

I would add to acravens Museums the Roman Museum and Ampheater and a Paul Bucose Bistro,Comptoir Abel Bar.We stayed at the Hotel Beaux Arts twice 2017 & 2019 it is in Presqu'ile with a short walk to the footbridge and Vieux Lyon.
Mike

Posted by
74 posts

Hi,
I've posted several times about how much I enjoyed Lyon: I've been three times. It's a beautiful, pedestrian friendly city that is very easy to get around (although there are some very hilly points leading up to the Roman ruins and Notre Dame d'Fauviere. There's a funicular, but I enjoy the hilly hike through the garden directly below). The City is especially pretty night as you walk through the old town and especially along the rivers. I think making. a picnic lunch (for me usually a bottle of wine with cheese, baguette and salami) in the Parc Tete d'Or is very relaxing. It's a very pretty park. I really enjoyed the Musee d' Confluences, the Musee de Beaux Arts, and Les Halles de Paul Bocuse, a wonderful, enormous French market with many restaurants that is similar to Mario Batalia's "Eataly." Three nights are better than two, if you can do it. Other posters have identified most of the main sights to see. For dinner, I really like "Le Dandee" which is five minutes walk from the Place Belleceour and for lunch, L'Atelier d'Ainay, which is about a five minute walk in the opposite direction from Belleceour. You may need a reservation at the latter as they're only open for lunch when I was last there in 2018.

Good luck

Posted by
2082 posts

If 2 nights is what you have and you skip the museums, I think 2 nights will do, especially if you leave Annecy in the morning - you'll get to Lyon by lunchtime.
But for a 2-night stop without "skimming over" the city, then perhaps Dijon would be more appropriate? It does add to the travel time, and there are no quenelles, though.

Posted by
239 posts

Hi Jane,
We highly recommend that you be there for the weekend farmers market @quai St. Antoine. For us, it ranks right up there with the very best across Europe, with the added value of being riverside AND with a pair of additional satellite markets nearby (pottery and stamps). I forget whether it is held on Saturday or Sunday, but its worth every effort to visit.
I am done. the end

Posted by
5984 posts

thanks for the ideas. I am beginning to settle on 3 nights in Chamonix, 4 in Annecy and 3 in Lyon. We are more being there than rushing about tourists these days. And my husband is both visually impaired and has hip issues so many things I would jump at like a couple days hiking on the Mt. Blanc trail or seeing all the museums in Lyon are less important to him -- which is why we are spending 5 weeks in Paris where we just like hanging out, having dinners with friends, strolling the neighborhoods.

We ended up with 10 days we couldn't get the apartment in Paris and so added this southern trip to do a few things we had not done before like the alps and Annecy in particular. Flying into Geneva and out of Paris.

Any specific ideas about restaurants or things to do in Lyon or Annecy would be much appreciated.

Posted by
191 posts

My suggestion would be to forget about staying in Annecy. Allocate those days to Lyon and count on taking a day trip to Annecy, which is about all it warrants. There is plenty in Lyon to see and do, depending on your interests.

Posted by
11 posts

We are planning a trip to Lyon in Sept. and spending 5 days but this includes a day trip to Beaune. FYI, the Textile Museum is closed for renovations until 2025, so you can skip that one. We are planning on Vieux Lyon/Roman ruins, Croix Rousses, Parc de la Tete d'Or, Halles Bocuse, Lumiere Museum, Musee de Beaux Arts, a boat cruise, and maybe a trip to the Confluence area. Restaurants we are planning on: Daniel et Denise, Brasserie Georges. This may be too ambitious but we will see. If you can stand riding in a tourist bus or tram, they do have a hop on hop off bus and a city tram tour. A bit touristy but Rick does recommend them and they do save time if you haven't much.

Posted by
239 posts

Jane, here are some Lyon shots below, as part of a larger 'French Photo' thread featuring numerous other traveler's imagery. My Lyon shots commence about halfway down on page 20 @#399 til 401, then there are some pictures by others. Then, mine re-appear again from #406-412 before another section of others' shots. Finally @#416 one can see a concluding bunch of my Lyon stuff. *Radfem, the colourful lamp @#416 is from 'Danielle et Denise'.
Over there on Fodors, I go by 'zebec'.
I am done. The end.
https://www.fodors.com/community/europe/photos-of-france-1678644/page20/

Posted by
2082 posts

Now that I have a better picture of the time you have: 4 nights in Annecy is a lot, I would rather spend 4 nights in Lyon and do a day trip somewhere from Lyon, like Vienne (Roman ruins!), or Pérouges (medieval village!), or Bourg en Bresse (magnificent abbey in Brou).
I don't think that a day trip from Lyon to Annecy is appropriate, it is 3+ hours round trip on the train...

Posted by
5984 posts

Thanks. One reason for Annecy so long is that my husband has long dreamed of visiting CERN; we had tickets 5 years ago and then I ended up in the hospital with a broken elbow and we had to scrap it. It may or may not be open for tours in the fall and getting a ticket is always dicey but I want to give him a shot at it. Getting there from Annecy or Geneva is a lot easier than Lyon since we don't drive.

We also enjoy just strolling and hanging out in pretty places; we spent 4 nights in St. Malo which seems crazy long to most but we still enjoyed.

The more I look at Lyon the more interest I have in that so we will have 2.5 full days and if we love it may make it our annual side trip from Paris in the future.

Anyone have hotel suggestions that are central?

Posted by
780 posts

Hi Janet,
I recommended the hotel Beaux Arts in my earlier post, it is in Presqu'ile close to the pedestrian Bridge.You can probably read reviews on TA.
Mike

Posted by
2978 posts

Hotel des Celestins is very centrally located - convenient and comfortable! I'm a big fan of Lyon - especially for the weekend market!

Posted by
478 posts

Hi Janet -- My daughter and I went to CERN in 2017. It is a short tram ride from Old Town Geneva -- can you stay there for a couple of nights when you land?

Following along here because I have 3 extra nights this October between Aix-en-Provence and Florence and just can't decide what to do...

Posted by
5984 posts

We probably should have stayed in Geneva but we don't want to be there if we don't have CERN tickets -- so we may end up paying twice for lodging some night when we have to head back there to make it to CERN. Tickets are not available till 14 days before tours -- if they open up at all -- .

Posted by
478 posts

I'm so excited about our day and night in Lyon! After reading all of this I wish I had arranged a couple of nights!

I hate to start another thread on Lyon so am going to post here and hope someone answers. :) We will be coming from Aix-en-Provence on the TGV into Lyon Part Dieu. The next morning we are going to take the TGV to Torino Porta Susa.

Two questions please:
Which train to take on a Sunday?
-There is an 8:08 am TER from Lyon Part Dieu to CHAMBERY CHALLES LES EAUX with an 11-minute connection to a TGV that goes to Torino. OR
-There is a direct 8:40 am TGV from LYON-SAINT EXUPERY TGV to Torino.
-I don't speak or read French (although this will be at the end of one month in Aix.) I'm sure most people would just start the trip at Part Dieu but if I miss the TGV in CHAMBERY, the next one isn't for 4 more hours. Do I play it safe and just grab a taxi from our central hotel to Part Dieu to take the Rhônexpress shuttle? Take a taxi all the way to LYON-SAINT EXUPERY TGV? Or take the TER from Lyon Part Dieu to CHAMBERY?

My second question is about a hotel.
Given we need to leave Lyon early morning on Sunday, is there a better area to stay to make things more convenient to get to the various train stations? Perhaps taxi is the best way so we don't get confused on a subway, pulling luggage, etc. However, I see a Bellecour subway station, an Ampere Victor Hugo subway station, a Cordeliers subway station and a Gare de Lyon Perrache.

Thanks all!

Posted by
1606 posts

Things not already mentioned above but brought up before by me in other Lyon threads:
• The Opera House
• Hotel Phenix, which is the more affordable version of those listed above, yet just as close to the recommended dining and pedestrian bridge.
The tram stop to get back to the main train station is right around the corner.

Posted by
2082 posts

11 minutes is a bit tight - the slightest delay will ruin your day - so I would take the Saint Exupéry option. Rhonexpress is so expensive (over 15€/ea.) that if there's two of you, a taxi (50-60€) is worth it for the convenience - unless you plan to stay right by Part Dieu (where the Rhonexpress stop is), but it's a depressing part of town.

Posted by
478 posts

Thank you Balso and Avirosemail! And thanks Janet for letting me tag along on your query. We will stay on the peninsula in the city center, then take a taxi to the train station at airport to catch the TGV to Italy.

Any there other thoughts on hotels? Looking for some small and "French" feeling :) A B&B perhaps. I know people like the Mercure hotels, is there a better location between the Hotel Mercure Lyon Centre Plaza Republique or Mercure Lyon Centre Beaux-Arts?

Has anyone stayed at Republik Hotel? I'm not finding a lot of choices...

Posted by
2082 posts

These 2 Mercure are in the same street, 200 metres apart: just go for cheapest and/or best reviews. Very central location, can't judge the hotels themselves. Some Mercure hotels can be a bit shabby or tired, does not look to be the case here.

Posted by
905 posts

We stayed at Hotel Mercure Lyon Centre Plaza Republique on the RS France My Way tour in 2016. It was very nice, one of the larger rooms we had in France and very well located.

Reading all these many posts regarding Lyon. We will be in Chamonix but plan to spend 3 nights in Lyon, Aug 29-Sept 1. Staying at the Marriott on De Gaulle. Coming by bus from Chamonix. If I am reading the map of Lyon correctly, the bus station is about 6 km from our hotel. Does anyone know how reliable the taxi service is, and would you recommend it? Taking the train from Lyon to Geneva on Sept 1. Would need transport to the train station from the hotel- they don't offer transfer/transport service.
Wrote down the many suggestions for places to see and places to eat. Sounds like it very easy to navigate the downtown area on foot. Any other suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Posted by
905 posts

You're going from Chamonix to Lyon to Geneva? Is there a scheduling reason for backtracking? To answer your question, taxis should be perfectly fine for getting from bus/train/airport.
We're doing similar trip later this year and going Lyon -> Chamonix -> Geneva for flight home. We're renting a car, though.

Posted by
18727 posts

I guess the situation could be quite different these days, but in 2017 I was struck by how crowded the Lyon Part-Dieu station was. It was well signed, but the sheer number of people on the concourse limited the speed at which a traveler with a suitcase could move. It's also not a tiny station, so do allow sufficient time there, and be ready to move toward your platform as soon as it is posted on the board (which will probably not be long before departure).

On that trip I also learned how long it can take to get from near the Perrache station to Part-Dieu by tram, a distance of just over 2 miles. I'm used to just walking in European cities, and I underestimated the time required by the tram.

Posted by
15944 posts

@Deborahhoffman123, I suspect you must be using points to stay at the Marriott on de Gaulle. Otherwise why would you stay at such a remote location from the paces you want to visit. There are several decent ones walking distance of the Perrache bus station. To get to Geneva, you can get a train from Perrache station with a connection at Part Dieu.

Posted by
17 posts

We stayed at the Mercury Lyon Centre Beaux Arts in 2018. Room was quite spacious and had a great view of the Place Jacobin. Location was ideal; a pleasant walk to Vieux Lyon, just a few blocks from Place Bellecour subway station, close to the boats on the Saone. No restaurant at the hotel, but Le Coin Vert on the Place Jacobin was great for breakfast. We would stay there again.

Posted by
478 posts

Great tips! I will book one of the Mercury hotels for a night in October..

I’m looking forward to breaking up the train trip from Aix to Florence. (I think 🤔) Aix to Florence means 6am taxi to train station, 6:30 am TGV to Lyon onto Turin arriving Florence at 4:30pm.

To get to Lyon Saint Exupery TGV from the hotel, I am seeing a one way train connection on the Rhone Express website for 10 euro. So… much cheaper than a taxi.

Acraven, it sounds like we should take a taxi to Lyon Part-Dieu then get the Rhone Express. I am always underestimating how long it takes to walk. 😊

Doe this sound right?
-7:15 am taxi to get to Part-Dieu (13 minute drive)
-7:40 am Rhone Express (29 minutes)
-8:09 Arrive Saint Exubery TGV
-8:40 TGV to Turin then onto Florence
-4:15 Arrive in Florence

Long day…

Posted by
18727 posts

I'd want to allow a bit more time to get to Part-Dieu and the platform, but perhaps I'm being unduly cautious after my experience there. My train was slightly delayed, and the wrong platform number was initially posted on the board. When I got to the base of the escalator up to the track, there was an SNCF person posted there who looked at my ticket, gave me the updated track info, and said "Run". I didn't, because I knew the train had been delayed a bit, so I had more time than she thought. But it was all just a bit unnerving, given the obstacle course created by the large number of people on the concourse.

Posted by
15944 posts

The Rhone Express tracks are on the street behind Part Dieu station, as it is a glorified street car. Let the taxi driver know you want the Rhone Express platforms. Since the main station building is under reconstruction, that will save a lot of time.

Posted by
18727 posts

Great info, Sam. I wouldn't wish an under-construction Part-Dieu on anyone.

Posted by
2082 posts

Taking a taxi to Part Dieu followed by Rhonexpress adds some hassle and waiting around in a long day of travel, to save maybe 20-25€. I would splurge for a taxi all the way to the airport...

Posted by
478 posts

Thanks all! Balso, you are probably right! So, with an 8:40 TGV, should we give ourselves an hour or so and catch a taxi at 7:30?