France’s second city, Lyon is dramatically sited on the banks of the Rhone and Saone rivers and has been a vital gateway between the north and south since ancient times. On arriving, you immediately feel a brin du sud, or touch of the south.
The crowds are not as quick-stepping as they are in Paris, and the sun is often shining here. Lyon is one of the most beautiful and interesting cities of France. Most of the French immediately associate Lyon with their palates. You will eat some of the best food of France in Lyon. The city is packed with restaurants, ranging from simple Bouchons (bistros) to some of the most opulent tables in France.
Our guides in the area are locals who have lived in the area for many years and have a passion for showing you their city.
On the west bank of the river Saone, the restored old quarter of Vieux Lyon is an atmospheric warren of cobbled streets traboules (covered passageways), Renaissance palaces and bohemian stores. You can enjoy the Vieux Lyon including the very charming St Gorges and rue St Jean area (old part of town), the famous Fourviere Basilica, and the powerful Bellecourt square located on a small and charming peninsula.
If you like textiles, Lyon has one of the most interesting fabric museums in Europe. Lyon is also well known for its silk works. We recommend a wonderful tiny silk shop in old Lyon with a silk designer who designs and makes fine scarves and shawls.
If you are into Roman or Gallo-Roman sites, you will not miss the amphitheater, aqueduct, and the unique Claudienne table at the Gallo-Roman civilization museum.
Lyon is not only known for its gastronomy, its secret passageways (traboules), the Roman theatre or its old streets. Lyon is also known as one of the cities in the world with the most mural paintings (frescos). Most of them are really good, but one, the most famous one, is totally amazing -The “Mur des Canuts“. Canuts was the name given to the silk workers in the factories, and they lived on the Croix-Rousse hill (one of two hills in Lyon) in low-income housing. One of these buildings has an enormous blind wall, meaning a wall with nothing on it except a few ventilation windows. In 1987 the city, together with a company specializing in creating art in urban environments, made this very impressive mural. This is Europe’s largest and biggest mural painting covering 1200 m2. It’s what the French call a “trompe l’oeil” (optical illusion) and everything you see on the wall is an illusion. The details are amazing. Standing at the other side of the road, many parts are indistinguishable from real.
But this is not the only mural painting in Lyon. Lyon is known for its frescos, and some 25 works of art can be seen all over the city. You will not be able to escape seeing these painted walls since they are all over Lyon.