Discover Lyon: The Culinary Heart of France

One of the bridges over the Saone in Lyon (credit: Jerome Levine)

Some visitors call Lyon, France a “Little Paris.”  The city offers a rich sense of history, world-class gastronomy, incredible art and culture, and stunning architecture, an artful blend of old and new.

Where is Lyon, France?

Dancing Fountains Looking Towards Place Bellecour
Fountains on Place de Bellecour in Lyon (credit: Jerome Levine)

Lyon’s scenic beauty can’t be understated. The city is set on two rivers (the Rhone and Saone) in the Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes region.

Lyon has four river banks, many pedestrian-friendly bridges, and even a replica Eiffel Tower. It’s about 300 miles southeast of Paris, 1.5 hours by air or just over four hours by car. Learn more: Guide for First Timers: What To Do In Lyon

Take Photos at the Whimsical Flower Sculpture

The Flower Sculpture (credit: Jerome Levine)

If you reach the city by boat, your first view will be of the colorful Flower Tree Sculpture.

This bouquet of 85 flowers is 6 meters (almost 20 feet) tall and is positioned on a small square called Place Antonin Poncet. It is sited beside fountains that offer a cool mist in the summer. Learn more: The Flower Tree Sculpture

Plan On Eating The Best Food Ever

Mural of French luminaries at Paul Bocuse Restaurant (credit: Jerome Levine)

There is probably no city in the world more food-centric than Lyon, France.

By virtue of its history, location, and passion for gastronomy (which borders on obsession), Lyon has variously been called the “stomach of France” and the “world capital of gastronomy.” Many hundreds of eateries in the city offer a wide range of different cuisines. Learn more: If You Love Food, You’ll Love Lyon

Stop At A Bouchon

A rainy evening on Rue de Marronniers in Lyon
A rainy evening on Rue de Marronniers, a street in Lyon with many bouchons (credit: Jerome Levine)

A Lyonnaise bouchon is one of the most unique types of eateries in Lyon.

These are typically small, family-run bistros with a long history that serve hearty meals with wine by the pitcher. Learn More: What is a Lyonnaise Bouchon?

Head to the Markets

Strawberries at the Saint Antoine Market in Lyon, France (credit: Jerome Levine)

When you visit Lyon, you’ll want to stop at one or more of its fantastic markets.

The location of the Saint-Antoine Market is one of the most scenic spots of any outdoor market in the world: It sits beside the bank of the Soane River on the Presqu’île (peninsula) side of Lyon, only a short walk from Place Bellecour (the public square). Learn More: Visit Saint Antoine Market

Indulge in a Lyonnaise Tarte

The Lyonnaise Tart
The Lyonnaise Tart: The typical dessert at a bouchon (credit: Jerome Levine)

If you have a sweet tooth, be sure to taste one of Lyon’s specialty desserts, the Tarte Lyonnaise, a praline tart. Learn more: What To Eat in Lyon: 11 Essential Tips for Food Lovers

Experience The Meal Of A Lifetime

Ice cream with raspberry sauce at Paul Bocuse Restaurant (credit: Jerome Levine)

Make an advance reservation to experience the meal of a lifetime at the Paul Bocuse Restaurant.

Although five brasseries and two restaurants in the city bear the Bocuse name, for the meal of a lifetime, don’t miss the opportunity to dine at the one at Collonges-au-Mont-d’Or. Learn more: The Most Memorable Meal of Our Lives

Visit a Lyonnaise Chocolatier

Bernachon Chocolate Dessert (credit: Jerome Levine)

Voisin and Bernachon are two of the best-known chocolate shops in Lyon.

Voisin makes a variety of chocolates, but the most famous is the Coussin de Lyon, a cushion-shaped green confection with a chocolate ganache center coated with a thin layer of almond paste laced with a touch of curaçao liqueur. Bernachon is another iconic French chocolatier. Stop in at the Bernachon Tea House for a cup of hot chocolate.

Visit the Place Bellecour

Located in the heart of the city, Place Bellecour is one of Europe’s largest open public squares.

Although imposing in size, it is a “people place” that serves as the city’s virtual living room with benches, walking paths, small cafes, and a flower stall (as well as the site of the OnlyLyon Tourism Office, a must-first-stop for any visitor to the city.) Learn more: Visiter Lyon

Best Way to Get From Paris to Lyon: Take The Fast Train

Our new friend, Jean Louis
Our new friend, Jean Louis on the fast train to Lyon

You won’t find any boom boxes or strap-hanging dancers on the TGV high-speed train. Most of the passengers traveling the fast train from Paris to Lyon are daily commuters.

The typical uniform for a French businessman: a beautifully tailored blue blazer and jeans. The trip by train takes just under two hours and passes by beautiful countryside. Learn more: Best Escape From Paris: Take the Fast Train to Lyon

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