Travel Resources

Make the most of your Lyon adventure with these essential resources:

  • Flights: Find affordable flights to Lyon-Saint Exupéry Airport (LYS) using our flight search tool.
  • Insurance: Protect your trip with comprehensive travel insurance.
  • Car Rental: Explore Lyon and its surrounding regions at your own pace by renting a car.
  • Tours: Discover the best of Lyon with guided tours and experiences, including culinary walks and wine tastings.

Packing: Use our packing checklist to ensure you’re prepared for your Lyon journey.

Some History First

Lyon’s history is a fascinating journey through time, spanning over two millennia. Founded in 43 BC as Lugdunum, Lyon quickly became the capital of Roman Gaul and a major center of trade and culture. Key historical periods include:

  • Roman era: Establishment of Lugdunum as a strategic Roman settlement
  • Middle Ages: Development as an important religious center
  • Renaissance: Flourishing of the silk industry and banking
  • Industrial Revolution: Growth as a major industrial hub
  • Modern era: Emergence as a center of resistance during World War II

Lyon’s rich history is evident in its well-preserved architecture, from Roman amphitheaters to Renaissance mansions and industrial-era buildings.

Lyon Today

Modern Lyon is a vibrant, dynamic city that seamlessly blends its historical heritage with contemporary innovation. As France’s third-largest city, Lyon is a hub of culture, education, and industry, known for its contributions to cinema, gastronomy, and technology. Today’s Lyon offers:

  • A thriving arts and culture scene, including numerous museums and theaters
  • World-class universities and research centers
  • A strong economy with influences in pharmaceuticals, software, and biotechnology
  • An innovative culinary scene that honors traditional Lyonnaise cuisine while embracing modern trends
  • Sustainable urban development initiatives, including extensive bike-sharing programs and green spaces

Is Lyon Safe?

Lyon is generally considered a safe city for residents and tourists alike. As with any major urban area, it’s important to exercise common sense and take standard precautions. Consider the following safety tips:

  • Be aware of pickpocketing in crowded tourist areas and on public transportation
  • Keep valuables secure and use hotel safes when available
  • Stay vigilant in busy areas, especially at night
  • Use reputable transportation services
  • Learn basic French phrases to help in case of emergencies

Lyon has a lower crime rate compared to many other European cities of similar size, making it a relatively safe destination for travelers.

Where is Lyon?

Lyon is strategically located in east-central France, making it an ideal base for exploring various regions of the country. Key geographic features include:

  • Situated at the confluence of the Rhône and Saône rivers
  • Capital of the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region
  • Approximately 470 km (292 miles) southeast of Paris
  • Close proximity to the Alps and the Mediterranean coast
  • Surrounded by notable wine regions including Beaujolais and Côtes du Rhône

Lyon’s location contributes to its diverse climate and cultural influences from both northern and southern France.

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From The Area

What is the Best Time to Visit Lyon?

The best time to visit Lyon depends on your interests and the experiences you’re seeking. Generally, spring (April to June) and fall (September to October) offer pleasant weather and fewer crowds. Consider these seasonal highlights:

  • Spring: Mild temperatures, blooming gardens, and events like the Nuits Sonores electronic music festival
  • Summer: Warm weather, outdoor festivals, and the Fête de la Musique (June 21)
  • Fall: Comfortable temperatures, wine harvest season, and the Lyon Biennale contemporary art festival
  • Winter: Christmas markets, the famous Fête des Lumières (Festival of Lights) in December

Keep in mind that July and August can be hot and crowded, while November tends to be the rainiest month.

How to Get to Lyon & Around

Lyon boasts excellent transportation options, making it easy to explore the city and its surroundings:

  • By Air: Lyon-Saint Exupéry Airport (LYS) serves domestic and international flights.
  • By Train: High-speed TGV trains connect Lyon to Paris (2 hours) and other major French and European cities.
  • By Car: Renting a car offers flexibility for exploring the region, but parking in the city center can be challenging.
  • Public Transportation: Lyon has an efficient network of metros, trams, buses, and funiculars.
  • Bicycling: The Vélo’v bike-sharing system is an eco-friendly way to explore the city.

For getting around within Lyon, the public transportation system is comprehensive and user-friendly. Consider purchasing a Lyon City Card for unlimited public transport and free entry to many attractions.

Things to Do in Lyon

Lyon offers a wealth of attractions and activities for every interest:

  • Explore Vieux Lyon (Old Lyon): Wander through narrow cobblestone streets and discover hidden traboules (secret passageways)
  • Visit the Basilica of Notre-Dame de Fourvière: Admire panoramic views of the city from this hilltop church
  • Discover Roman history: Explore the ancient theaters at the Lugdunum Museum and Roman Theaters
  • Indulge in culinary experiences: Take a food tour or cooking class to learn about Lyonnaise cuisine
  • Explore museums: Visit the Museum of Fine Arts, the Confluences Museum, and the Lumière Institute (birthplace of cinema)
  • Enjoy outdoor activities: Relax in the Parc de la Tête d’Or or take a bike ride along the riverbanks
  • Experience local markets: Shop at Les Halles de Lyon Paul Bocuse or the outdoor markets
  • Attend cultural events: Participate in festivals like the Nuits de Fourvière or the Fête des Lumières

Don’t miss the opportunity to simply wander through the city’s diverse neighborhoods, each with its own unique character and charm.

Where To Stay In Lyon

Lyon offers a range of accommodation options to suit every budget and preference:

  • Presqu’île: The city center, ideal for first-time visitors and those who want to be close to main attractions
  • Vieux Lyon: Stay in the heart of the old town, surrounded by Renaissance architecture
  • Croix-Rousse: A bohemian neighborhood known for its artistic vibe and silk-working history
  • Confluence: A modern district with contemporary hotels and a futuristic feel
  • Part-Dieu: Convenient for business travelers or those arriving by train

Consider your itinerary and preferred attractions when choosing your accommodation. Book in advance for popular events like the Fête des Lumières.

What To Eat In Lyon

Lyon is renowned as the gastronomic capital of France, offering a wide array of culinary delights:

  • Traditional Lyonnaise cuisine: Try local specialties at a bouchon (traditional restaurant)
    • Quenelles (fish dumplings in cream sauce)
    • Andouillette (tripe sausage)
    • Coq au vin (chicken braised in wine)
    • Cervelle de canut (cheese spread with herbs)
  • Modern gastronomy: Experience innovative cuisine at Michelin-starred restaurants
  • International flavors: Explore diverse cuisines in neighborhoods like La Guillotière
  • Street food: Try socca (chickpea pancake) or praline tarts from local markets
  • Wine: Sample local Beaujolais and Côtes du Rhône wines

Don’t miss the opportunity to visit Les Halles de Lyon Paul Bocuse, a covered market showcasing the best of Lyonnaise gastronomy.

Entry & Exit Requirements

Entry requirements for Lyon are the same as for the rest of France:

  • EU citizens: Can enter with a valid national ID card or passport
  • Non-EU citizens: Generally need a valid passport (with at least 3 months validity beyond planned stay)
  • Visa requirements: Check if you need a Schengen visa for stays up to 90 days
  • Customs: Be aware of restrictions on bringing certain items into France

Always check the latest requirements with the French embassy or consulate in your country before traveling, as regulations can change.

What To Pack For Your Trip

When packing for Lyon, consider the season and your planned activities:

  • Comfortable walking shoes: Lyon is best explored on foot
  • Weather-appropriate clothing: Layers are ideal for variable weather
  • Adapter plug: France uses Type C and E electrical outlets
  • Phrasebook or language app: Basic French phrases can be very helpful
  • Camera: To capture Lyon’s beautiful architecture and landscapes
  • Reusable water bottle: Lyon tap water is safe to drink
  • Appetite: Come prepared to indulge in Lyon’s fantastic culinary offerings

Remember to pack a smart outfit for dining out, as some restaurants may have dress codes.


The official currency of France is the Euro (EUR).

While French is the official language, many locals in tourist areas speak English. Learning basic French phrases can enhance your experience.

Yes, major credit cards are widely accepted in most establishments in Lyon.

Explore nearby destinations such as Beaujolais wine country, Pérouges medieval village, and the Alps for breathtaking scenery.