Lyon is a city in the Auvergne Rhone Alpes region of France. It sits at the confluence of rivers Rhone and Saone. The city is known for its rich history and culture. The majority of the best things to do in Lyon revolve around these two aspects.

The origins of the city date back to the Gauls in the Roman period. Some of the best places to visit in Lyon were built under Roman rule. Under the Roman Empire, the settlement was called Lugdunum and was the capital of the Gauls.

Many of the majestic things to see in Lyon from the Roman era still stand strong today. You will see vast amphitheatres that still host many events. The remains and excavated artifacts from the Roman period are also spread across several Lyon attractions including museums and art galleries. You will also get to see the foundational remains of the ancient Roman city.

Another major historical aspect of Lyon sightseeing revolves around the silk industry. The industry thrived in the city during the 18th and 19th centuries. The majority of the Lyon tourist attractions on Crois-Rousse Hill are dedicated to the history of the silk industry as well as the trials and tribulations of the workers. This hill along with the old town area forms a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The other bulk of famous places in Lyon come from the Middle Ages and Renaissance periods. These periods saw the development of incredible works of architecture. You will see churches, palaces, mansions, public buildings, fountains, and so on.

In the modern age, the city played an important role in shaping European and World culture, especially cinema. The cinematograph was invented in this city by the Lumiere brothers. You will get to explore places to see in Lyon dedicated to art, music, paintings, cinema, fine arts, decorative arts, sculptures, and more. There is a lot to explore when you visit Lyon.

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Top 23 Tourist Places to Visit in Lyon, France

1. Croix-Rousse Hill

This historic neighbourhood was developed for the silk industry in the 18th and 19th centuries. Various aspects of the neighbourhood were designed to facilitate the industry.

You can see the narrow passageways that silk workers used to move their material around. Even the buildings have high vaulted ceilings to fit the massive silk looms. You will get to visit many historical Lyon tourist attractions while exploring this neighbourhood. These will give you an insight into the ancient silk industry of the city.

Some of the most well-known attractions of this neighbourhood include the site of Canur Revolts, St. Polycarpe Church, Monument to Lyon Silk on Place Tolozan, Amphitheatre of the Three Gauls, 18th century Art Nouveau Buildings, and medieval houses. You will need at least an hour or so to explore this neighbourhood.

Croix-Rousse Hill

2. Canuts Wall (Mur des Canuts)

This mural depicts the day-to-day life of the silk workers of Lyon in the 19th century. The mural is one of the famous places in Lyon for its historical and cultural significance. The painting creates an optical illusion of depth and height.

While it is painted on a flat wall, it seems that the stairway goes up and deeper between the buildings. On this pathway, you will silk workers engaged in different activities. It truly captures the hardships faced by the workers of the time. You should take a few minutes to get a glimpse of history through this artwork when you visit Lyon.

Canuts Wall

3. Parc de la Tête d’Or

Spread over 117 hectares, this park is popular among locals and tourists for recreational activities. It has a huge lawn, playground, zoo, botanical garden, greenhouse, and a lake. People come here for a variety of fun activities in Lyon such as boating, cycling, mini train rides, picnics, horse riding, carousel rides, go-karting, and more. You can easily spend an hour or so relaxing at this park.

I suggest you should go for a Bike Tour in Parc de la Tête d’Or.

Parc de la Tête d’Or

4. Paul Bocuse Food Halls (Les Halles de Lyon Paul Bocuse)

This legendary food hall will give you an extensive experience of the French cuisine and local delicacies of Lyon. You will find vendors selling all kinds of local produce and food products. This includes wine, cheese, pastries, chocolates, coffees, street food, local dishes, and more.

You can also be part of live demonstrations, challenges, workshops, and cooking classes at the food hall. It is one of the best things to do in Lyon for a cultural experience. You will need at least 2 hours to explore and enjoy this place.

I suggest you should go for a Food Tasting Tour at Paul Bocuse Food Halls.

Paul Bocuse Food Halls

5. Museum of Printing and Graphic Communication (Musée de l’imprimerie et de la communication graphique)

This museum focuses on the printing and graphic industry of the city. Lyon used to be a major hub of the printing industry in the 15th and 16th centuries. The collection includes published materials, rare books, images, graphic designs, parts of printing equipment, advertisements, and so on.

The museum is also home to several rare books and important historical documents. It is one of the best places to visit in Lyon for those interested in history. Some of the biggest attractions include a copy of the first illustrated book, woodcuts used to print 15th-century Bibles, equipment related to the invention of phototypesetting, and a 1534 book that became one of the triggers for religious wars. You will need an hour to tour this museum.

Museum of Printing and Graphic Communication

6. Museum of Fine Arts (Musée des Beaux-Arts)

This is one of the largest fine arts museums in Europe. It is housed in an exquisite 17th-century Abbey with a vast collection spread across 70 rooms. It is one of the best places to see in Lyon.

The primary focus of the museum is on European art created between the 14th and 20th centuries. You will see masterpieces created by renowned artists such as Matisse, Picasso, Auguste Rodin, Filipino Lippi, Degas, Ingres, Delacroix, and many more. The exhibits also include artworks and artifacts from Ancient Egypt, the Middle East, China, Korea, and Japan. You will need at least 2 hours to tour this museum.

Museum of Fine Arts

7. Place des Terreaux

This historic square is one of the best things to see in Lyon. It is considered a work of art and is surrounded by numerous monumental buildings. The square is best known for its sculpture fountain designed by Frederic Auguste Bartholdi, the same guy who designed the Statue of Liberty.

The central female figure of the statue depicts France and the four horses represent the four main rivers. The square is surrounded by some of the most famous cafes and restaurants in the city. It is also the top spot for luxury shopping in Lyon. You can easily spend an hour or so exploring this square.

Place des Terreaux

8. Amphitheater of the Three Gauls (Amphithéâtre des Trois-Gaules)

This amphitheatre was built in the 19th century BCE. It is one of the two major remnants of the Roman era in the city. The site holds great historical and cultural significance for Lyon as well as France.

It is considered the side of early parliamentary meetings between Gallic tribes. The amphitheatre was also the site of the 2000th-anniversary celebration of France. This place is also associated with the legend of St. Blandine. You will need about 2 hours from Lyon travel to tour the site and learn about various tales from its history.

Amphitheater of the Three Gauls

9. Lyon History Museum (Musée d’Histoire de Lyon)

This museum focuses on the history and culture of Lyon. The museum is housed in a 16th-century building named after the Gadagne brothers, the designers of the building. The museum gives you a chronological view of the city’s story from pre-historic times to the modern era.

The museum is home to more than 80,000 artifacts from different periods. The collection includes archeological findings, maps, documents, paintings, sculptures, potteries, maps, engravings, photographs, and more. It is one of the top things to do in Lyon to truly understand the city.

The building is also home to the Museum of Puppetry and Museum Garden. The former displays more than 2,000 puppets and has a small theatre that runs regular shows. You will need about 2 hours to tour the museum.

Lyon History Museum

10. Cathedral of Saint John (Cathédrale Saint-Jean-Baptiste de Lyon)

This cathedral was built in several stages between the 12th and the 15th century. It is one of the most important historical monuments of the city and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Owing to the span of its construction, the church exhibits a blend of different architectural styles from each period. You will notice broad strokes of Romanesque, Gothic, and early Renaissance.

This church has seen many historic events including the wedding of King Henry IV. It is a major highlight of Lyon sightseeing. You will come across several historical artifacts and art pieces inside the church. Some of the most popular ones include flying buttresses, stained glass windows, and astronomical clock. You will need at least an hour to explore this entire church.

Cathedral of Saint John

11. Basilica of Notre-Dame de Fourvière (Basilique Notre-Dame de Fourvière)

The history of the cathedral dates back to a chapel built in 1168. Lyon remained unaffected by devastating events in Europe such as the plague and the Franco-Prussian War. As a result, people’s faith in this church strengthened and it was built grander several times till 1852.

The church exhibits magnificent architecture and ornate interiors. It is also home to incredible pieces of art created by renowned artists. It is one of the most beautiful things to see in Lyon.

The tour takes you through several parts of the church including the interiors, treasury of Fouviere, museum of Fouviere, St. Michael terrace and observation tower. You will need about 2 hours to explore this entire cathedral.

Basilica of Notre-Dame de Fourvière

12. Gallo-Roman Museum Lyon

This museum is built on the site of the Roman city of Lungdunum, the predecessor to Lyon. You will follow a spiral path that takes you deeper into the history of Lungdunum.

The displays show archeological findings dating between 43 BCE and 2nd century AD. This includes pottery, altars, sarcophagi, mosaics, ceramics, documents, statues, peg calendars, and more. It is a must-do in Lyon for people interested in ancient history.

You will also get to see a scale model of Lungdunum during the tour. It will help you understand the origins of the city and how it expanded. You will need 2 to 3 hours to tour this museum.

Gallo-Roman Museum Lyon

13. Ancient Theatre of Fourvière (Le Theatre Antique de Lyon)

Dating back to the 15th century BCE, this is the oldest Roman theatre in France. It was built during the reign of Emperor Augustus and expanded by Emperor Hadrian. It is one of the most interesting places to visit in Lyon, France.

You will get to explore the remains of four ancient monuments on this site: an amphitheatre, a temple complex, Roman baths, and an odeum. Despite its age, several parts of the amphitheatre remain intact. It still hosts events and festivals with hundreds of visitors.

You can also get to see the rich inlaid marble and porphyry designs of the Odeum. This gives you an idea of the vibrant Roman culture of Lungdunum. You will need 2 to 3 hours from Lyon travel to tour this site.

Ancient Theatre of Fourvière

14. Bellecour Square (Place Bellecour)

This is the third-largest square in France and the largest pedestrian-only square in Europe. It is the historical and geographical heart of the city. Being km 0 of the city, it is an ideal place to begin Lyon sightseeing. It has been the site of numerous historical events and still hosts some of the grandest events in the city. If you visit Lyon in winter, you will see an ice rink and a 60-meter Ferris wheel installed at this square. You will need 30 to 45 minutes to explore this square.

Bellecour Square

15. Basilica of Saint-Martin d’Ainay (Basilique Saint-Martin d’Ainay)

This church was built in the 11th century in Romanesque style architecture. It is the only remaining church in the city from the period. It is one of the most famous places in Lyon for its rich and storied history. The was the birthplace of the cult of Martyrs of Lyon, the Abbey hosted King Louis XIII & King Louis XIV, and served as a fodder granary during the French Revolution.

The church was also damaged, restored, and renovated several times. You will see architectural elements of different styles such as Pre-Romanesque, Romanesque Revival, and Gothic. It is also home to some great art pieces including a painting by Hippolyte Flandrin. You will need 30 to 45 minutes to tour this church.

Basilica of Saint-Martin d'Ainay

16. Museum of Textiles and Decorative Arts (Musée des Tissus et des Arts Décoratifs)

This museum exhibits a variety of decorative arts from different parts of the world and periods of history. However, it primarily focuses on textile works. The collection includes more than 2.5 million pieces of textiles from 4000 years of history. It is the largest collection of textiles in the world.

Aside from textiles, the museum also exhibits a variety of decorative art pieces. This includes sculptures, furniture, jewellery, costumes, majolica tiles, tapestries, paintings, and more.

These artifacts come from Europe, Egypt, Japan, China, America, Italy, and the Far East. It is one of the most interesting places to see in Lyon. You will get to see artistic expression from different cultures and periods in numerous formats. You will need about 2 hours to tour this museum, art admirers may take longer.

Museum of Textiles and Decorative Arts

17. Museum of Resistance and Deportation History (Centre d’histoire de la résistance et de la déportation)

This museum is housed in a former military health college with a history rooted in WWII. This building was occupied by German forces during the occupation and was also used as headquarters for the Gestapo.

The museum focuses on the French resistance during WWII as well as the deportation of Jewish people from France. On one hand, you have the tales of the courage of the French resistance fighters against the German forces. And on the other, the atrocities committed by the Gestapo. This is one of the most moving Lyon tourist attractions. You will need an hour to tour this museum.

Museum of Resistance and Deportation History

18. Museum of the Confluences (Musée des Confluences)

This museum sits on the confluence location of two rivers: Rhone and Saone. The museum tells the story of human evolution and makes an inquiry into human existence. It is more of an experience than an exhibit.

The architecture and displays combine to create metaphors through shapes, designs, and symbolism. These are intended to raise philosophical questions about humanity. It is one of the most interesting Lyon interactions.

Some of the most popular exhibits of this museum are The Origins and Stories of the World, The Species, Network of Life, Eternities, and Visions of the Afterlife. You will need about 2 hours from Lyon travel to tour this museum.

I suggest you should get your Entry Ticket to the Museum of Confluences in advance.

Museum of the Confluences

19. Lyon Aquarium

This aquarium has 47 tanks that house more than sea animals from over 300 species. They have recreated a variety of environments to keep animals from Africa, South America, the Caribbean, and several other parts of the world.

Aside from seeing more than 5,000 aquatic animals, the aquarium is also known for a lot of cool things to do in Lyon for families. People can interact with some of the animals.

The Five Senses experience lets you touch and hold starfish, crabs, and certain types of fish. You can also enjoy feeding sessions, cinema experiences, special tours, interactive lectures, and more. You can easily spend a couple of hours enjoying different attractions at this aquarium.

I suggest you should get your Entry Ticket to Lyon Aquarium in advance.

Lyon Aquarium

20. Cinema and Miniature Museum (Musée Cinéma et Miniature)

As the name suggests, this museum has two types of exhibits. The miniatures collection features more than 100 hyper-real-looking miniature worlds. These focus on different scenarios from daily life.

The cinema collection exhibits more than 300 movie props from popular films such as Jurassic Park, Star Wars, The Mask, The Alien, the Terminator, and so on. The props include prosthetics, make-up, set props, costumes, figurines, robots, and memorabilia. This is one of the famous places in Lyon for Hollywood enthusiasts and you will need about an hour to explore it.

Cinema and Miniature Museum

21. Lyon Old Town (Vieux Lyon)

The old town of Lyon is a labyrinth brimming with history, culture, public art, and old establishments. The old passageways, narrow alleys, cobblestone streets, gothic stairways, and colourful Renaissance facades.

The district is also home to some of the most famous shops and restaurants in the city. You can also enjoy a funicular railway up the hill to Basilica Notre Dame de Fouviere. It is best to take a walking tour or a bicycle tour of the old town as many parts of the district are pedestrians only. You will need at least an hour for any of the tours.

I suggest you should go for a Guided Walking Tour of Lyon Old Town and If you are a foodie then I suggest you should go for a Lyon Old Town Food Tasting Tour.

Lyon Old Town

22. Sightseeing Cruise Tour

You can enjoy a variety of cruises and boat tours for Lyon sightseeing. There are hop-on hop-off cruises with various stops on the banks of Rhone and Saone. You can also take guided tours for historical sightseeing with a special focus on how the rivers contributed to the evolution of the city. The lunch, dinner, and sunset cruise tours are some of the top things to do in Lyon for a luxury leisure experience. Any of these tours will need at least an hour.

I suggest you should book a Lyon Sightseeing Cruise Tour in advance.

Sightseeing Cruise Tour

23. Parc Olympique Lyonnais (Groupama Stadium)

This one is for the sports fans. Olympique Lyonnais is the native football team of Lyon and this is their home stadium. It is one of the top teams in Ligue 1, the national football league of France.

If you want to participate in the local sports culture, you should catch a home game in this stadium. It is one of the best activities to do in Lyon, France. The atmosphere is especially lively if they are facing one of the top four teams in the Ligue or their native rivals.

You should look out for matches against PSG, Marseille, or Lille. Aside from the match, you can also tour the stadium and visit the team’s museum. It is one of the top things to see in Lyon for those who follow European football. You will need at least 3 to 4 hours for a match experience and an hour or so to tour the museum.

Parc Olympique Lyonnais

If you are looking for more places to visit in Lyon, check out the sections below. We have created a complete list of all the attractions and activities that you can enjoy in Lyon and around it.

Things to do in Lyon, France

Monuments, Museums & Historical Places to Visit in Lyon, France

  1. Basilica of Notre Dame of Fourviere
  2. Musee Cinema et Miniature
  3. Theatre Gallo Romain de Lyon
  4. Saint Jean Baptiste Cathedral
  5. Museum of Fine Arts of Lyon
  6. Confluences Museum
  7. Les Traboules du Viex Lyon
  8. Opera National de Lyon
  9. Gallo Roman Museum of Fourviere
  10.  Musee des Arts de la Marionnette
  11. Celestins, Theatre de Lyon
  12. Musee Lumiere
  13. La Maison des Canuts
  14. Centre d’histoire de la Resistance et de la Deportation
  15. Bartholdi Fountain
  16. Musee d’art Contemporain de Lyon
  17. Amphetheater of the Three Gauls
  18. Palais de la Bourse de Lyon
  19. Musee de I’imprimerie et de la communication graphique
  20. La Sucriere
  21. Musee de I’illusion
  22. Eglise Saint Nizier
  23. Musee des Tissus et des Arts
  24. Saint George Church
  25. Basilique Saint Bonaventure de Lyon
  26. Museum Jean Couty
  27. Metallic Tower of Fourviere
  28. Fire Brigade Museum
  29. Tony Garnier Urban Museum
  30. Paroisse Catholique Saint Martin d’Ainay
  31. Chapelle de I’Hotel Dieu de Lyon
  32. Zoo Art Show Museum
  33. Institut d’art Contemporian de Villeurbanne
  34. Memorial National de la Prison de Montluc
  35. Odeon of Lyon
  36. Equestrian Statue of Louis XIV
  37.  Galerie Estades
  38. Foundation Bullukian
  39. Musee des Moulages
  40. Religious Art Museum of Fourviere
  41. Musee d’Historie de Lyon
  42. Church of Saint Just
  43. Adobe of Chaos Art Museum
  44. Le Petit Musee de Guignol
  45. Diocese de Lyon

Nature & Wildlife Tourist Spots in Lyon, France

  1. Parc Natural de la Feyssine
  2. Tete d’Or Lake
  3. Grand Parc Miribel Jonage

Entertainment & Leisure Tourist Spots in Lyon, France

  1. Parc de la Tete d’Or
  2. Institut Lumiere
  3. Jardin des Curiosites
  4. Parc Sergent Blandan
  5. Lyon Zoo
  6. Lyon Botanical Garden
  7. Min World
  8. Jardin Rosa Mir
  9. Parc des Hauteurs
  10. Parc de Gerland
  11. Parc de la Cerisaie
  12. Parc de Parilly
  13. Les Subsistances
  14. Roseraie Internationale
  15. Safari de Peaugres
  16. Skimania
  17. Jardin du Rosaire
  18. iFly
  19. Grandes serres du parc de la Tete d’Or
  20. Institut Lumiere Garden
  21. Ile Barbe

Shopping in Lyon, France

  1. Les Halles de Lyon Paul Bocuse
  2. Les Puces du Canal
  3. Presqulle Bellecour District
  4. Le Village des Createurs
  5. Vieux Lyon
  6. Confluence Shopping Center
  7. Part Dieu Shopping Center
  8. Croix Rousse
  9. Carre d’Or
  10. Rue Auguste Comte
  11. Ferme de I’Abbe Rozier
  12. Evening Farmer’s Market
  13. Creation Marketplace
  14. Saint Antoine Celestins Market

Offbeat Places, Tours, & Adventures in Lyon, France

  1. Boat Cruise
  2. Walking Tour
  3. Hiking

Sightseeing in Lyon, France

  1. Mur des Canuts
  2. Place Bellecour
  3. Vieux Lyon
  4. Place des Terreaux
  5. Fourviere
  6. Fresque des Lyonnais
  7. La Croix Rousse
  8. Traboule et Cour des Voraces
  9. Montee du Gourguillon
  10. Pont de la Guillotiere
  11. Pont Wilson
  12. Passerelle du Palais de Justice
  13. Pont Lafayete
  14. La Longue Traboule
  15. Pont Raymond Barre
  16. Rue de la Republique
  17. Berges du Rhone
  18. Place Carnot
  19. Place des Celestins
  20. Montee de la Grande Cote

Food, Dining, Restaurants, & Street Food in Lyon, France

  1. Les Halles de Lyon Paul Bocuse
  2. La Cocagne
  3. Le Coin Vert
  4. Les Fines Gueules
  5. Les Apothicaires
  6. La Tete de Lard
  7. Maria
  8. L’Etage
  9. L’Annexe Ravigote
  10. La Limonade de Marinette
  11. Boleh Lah
  12. Le Bouchon des Cordeliers
  13. Sapna
  14. Les Culottes Longues
  15. Mamasan
  16. Le Cafe du Peintre
  17. Kitchen Cafe
  18. Le Bouchon des Filles
  19. Food Traboule
  20. Le Vivarais
  21. Daniel et Denise
  22. Les Marmottes
  23. Groom
  24. A Cantina Corse
  25. La Madone
  26. Les Mauvaises Herbes

Where to Stay in Lyon?

Here we have listed Top Rated Luxurious, Mid-Range and Budget Hotels in Lyon. You can check below listed hotels for your perfect stay in Lyon.

Luxurious Hotels

  1. Grand Hotel des Terreaux
  2. Hotel Lyon Metropole
  3. Hotel Des Artistes
  4. Hotel des Celestins
  5. Hotel Carlton Lyon – MGallery Collection
  6. Citadines Presqu’Ile Lyon
  7. Mercure Lyon Centre Beaux Arts
  8. Radisson Blu Hotel, Lyon
  9. Mercure Lyon Centre – Gare Part Dieu
  10. Fourviere Hotel

Mid-Range Hotels

  1. ibis Styles Lyon Croix Rousse
  2. Campanile Lyon Centre – Gare Part Dieu
  3. ResidHotel Lyon Part-Dieu
  4. Ibis Budget Lyon Centre – Gare Part Dieu
  5. Ibis Lyon Centre Perrache
  6. Hotel des Savoies Lyon Perrache
  7. Lagrange City Aparthotel Lyon Lumiere
  8. Appart’Hotel Odalys City Bioparc
  9. B&B HOTEL Lyon Centre Part-Dieu Gambetta
  10. Montempo Lyon Cite Internationale

Budget Hotels

  1. Ibis Budget Lyon Gerland
  2. Premiere Classe Lyon Centre – Gare Part Dieu
  3. B&B HOTEL Lyon Centre Monplaisir
  4. Hotel Du Helder
  5. Appart’City Classic Lyon Part-Dieu Garibaldi


Custom Tours Package in Lyon

How to Reach Lyon, France?

By Air

Lyon Saint Exupery Airport is the primary airport of the city. You can get direct flights to visit Lyon from Athens, Dublin, Casablanca, Montreal, Bastia, Calvi, Ajaccio, Istanbul, Vienna, London, Brussels, Rome, Naples, DubaiMadrid, Munich, Dusseldorf, Frankfurt, Beirut, Doha, Berlin, Barcelona, and several other cities in Europe, North America, and the Middle East.

You can get tram-trains, buses, and cabs to get to the city from the airport. Among these, the Rhoneexpress tram is the fastest and cheapest option. You can easily get to the city centre and even reach some of the best places to visit in Lyon directly from the airport.

By Road

Lyon sits on the South East Network railway route of France. You can get direct trains to reach Lyon from several cities on this route including Nice, Marseille, Barcelona, and Paris. You can also get connecting trains to travel to Lyon from Milan in Italy and Geneva and Zurich in Switzerland.

If you want to reach Lyon from other destinations in France, you will have to catch a connecting train through Paris. This network also connects with several cities in Spain, Germany, Belgium, Netherlands, and the UK.

The bus network in France offers more flexibility. You can get direct buses to reach Lyon from almost all major cities in the country. However, train transport is much faster and cheaper. You can also get international buses to visit Lyon from Germany, Switzerland, and Italy.

If you are planning to get to Lyon by road, you should head for routes A6, A7, A43, A47, or A42. All of these routes intersect in the city or on its outskirts.

By Water

There are no direct water routes to visit Lyon.

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