For our latest city break my travel buddy and I chose Lyon in May 2018. Why Lyon?
It is France’s second city
It is famous for its murals.
It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
It is also a good base for a day trip to the picturesque Annecy and medieval town of Pérouges. (Separate posts, more photos!!)
We booked our BA package months ago. But as the trip approached the omens were not good: we would arrive on the first of another 2-day train strike and we would leave on the day air traffic control started a 2-day strike. To top that the weather forecast was for just 1 fine day out of the 5 of our stay.
Despite all that I am happy to record that not only did we survive the French strikes with little inconvenience, but we had sunny warm weather on all but one day!
Where we stayed in Lyon
We chose Hôtel Mercure Lyon Charpennes because it’s conveniently located, being just across the road from the Charles Henru exits of Charpennes Metro station for line A between Laurent Bonne Vay and Perrache. The staff was friendly and helpful. We liked the hotel restaurant which served good food at a reasonable price. It’s also a 20-minute walk to Lyon Part Dieu station
Travelling around Lyon
As the places we wanted to visit centred around Presqu’île, we decided to buy a block of 10 public transport tickets for €17 to share, in favour of the Lyon card at €22 each.
The tickets could be purchased from the machines at the metro entrance but we found out when paying that they accepted only coins and cards! We were wondering what to do (as we had only notes and did not want to incur transaction charges using our cards) when a nice young man came to our rescue! He offered to buy the tickets with his card and we pay him in cash. And when we suggested buying 2 lots of 10 tickets he asked if we really needed 20 tickets! He was so right, we used only 8 out of the 10 that we bought!
It’s a vast square with little else but the statue of Louis XIV. With the Ferris wheel at the Square gone, the statue looked rather forlorn, especially from Fourvière
La Basilique Notre Dame de Fourvière
A block from Place Bellecour took us to the bank of La Saône. Not far from across the bridge (Pont Bonaparte) was the funicular railway. We used the same ticket that took us from Charpennes to Bellecour to reach Fourvière.
We followed everyone else (they must be locals!) to the platform on the left, which took us to Saint Just. We realised later that we should have taken the platform on the right which would have taken us directly to Fourvière!
It was a 20-minute walk from St Just station to La Basilique, and it was so worth the effort!!
It looked imposing upfront or from afar. And to think that it’s considered only a “minor basilica in Lyon”!
If the exteriors were eye-catching , the interiors were quite spectacular
The view from the grounds was no less stunning
Along La Saône en Presqu’île
It was a pleasant walk from Fourvière down to Vieux Lyon
As it was too early for lunch we took a walk along both sides of La Saône. Vieux Lyon looked particularly colourful as the sun had by now moved its spotlight on it
La cathédrale Saint-Jean and the square
La Basilique Notre Dame de Fourrière can be seen straight ahead from the doorway
La Place de la Basoche – an interesting UNESCO World Heritage Site
The sign says: The Old Lyon district forms the oldest housing complex in the city. Paradoxically, La Place de la Basoche, located in the heart of this remarkable district, is a recent public space. This place was born in 1968 following the demolition of the building of the No. 6 of the street of Bombarde due to bad sanitation. This housing block was ventilated by courtyards and skylights (in grey on the map). One of the major architectural features of this ensemble was a spiral staircase with ogival arch windows
Palais de Justice
Palais de Justice on Quai Romain Rolland, just across a footbridge from Old Lyon, is an impressive sight on the right bank of La Saône with its 24 columns.
It is deservedly classified as a historic monument
La Place des Terreaux
This is a really pretty square dominated by Hôtel de Ville (City Hall) at one end and Musée des beaux-arts de Lyon (Museum of Fine Arts) at the other, with Fontaine Bartholdi on the side where the restaurants and cafes are. It’s a perfect place to have something to eat and drink while watching the world go by!
Around the corner from La Place des Terreaux is L’Opéra (Opera House) its distinctive shape can be picked up from Fourvière
Place Louis Pradel
The Wall Murals of Lyon
No visit to Lyon is complete without visiting at least one of these amazing wall murals (we managed 2!) They are so realistic and such good fun!
Le Mur des Canuts
It’s in the Croix Rousse district and very easy to get to. (Metro Line C to Cuire, get off at Henon and it’s there!!)
La fresque des lyonnaise – the front and both sides
Got the fridge magnet!