Lyon City Tours

Lyon is an old city which was founded by the Romans in 43 BC. Now the France’s third largest city is famous for rich history, world-famous cuisine and impressive architecture.

Lyon is an easy city to explore on foot. Like Paris, Lyon is divided into nine arrondissements. Each one has its own identity and vibe, making exploring Lyon very diverse and fun. The Renaissance architecture of old Lyon, the heart of Lyon surrounding the Place Bellecour, the lively neighborhood around the Place des Terreaux, the Croix-Rousse with the locals shopping in little markets, the newly-developed contemporary Confluence district . . .

And of course, the food! It is not a surprise that France’s most famous chef, Paul Bocuse, was born and based here!

5.0
George from the US
The best French experience Wonderful self-drive trip through France. The FJFY team selected wonderful lodging, arranged for all the activities that we were interested in, and made …

Our Self-Guided Tours in Lyon

Discover Lyon's history and gastronomy.

Duration
16 days
Price
US$ 6480
Region
in Paris, Alsace, Burgundy, Lyon & Provence

This itinerary takes you to Eastern France from North to South. After spending a few days in Paris, you will enjoy the Alsace region on the German border and then drive your way south all the way to Provence. The best itinerary to discover l'Est de la France !

Heritage & History
Countryside
Lyon

How to Get to Lyon

A nice stop between Burgundy & Provence

  • Lyon is perfectly located for a stop between Burgundy (2hr drive from Dijon) and Provence (2hr30 drive to Avignon).
  • If you want to drive from Paris to Lyon, it is about 4hrs30 and in this case, better to take a train.

Getting to Lyon by Train

  • Lyon is a 2hr high-speed train ride from Paris, there are several direct connections per day from downtown Paris, as well as to Paris CDG Airport.
  • There are 2 main train stations in Lyon: Lyon Part-Dieu and Lyon Perrache. You should be very careful if you connect in Lyon to do it in the same station. We handle these details for our travelers. 

 

The History of Lyon

It is believed that Lyon was first inhabited over 40,000 years ago. But the city we know today started with the arrival of the Romans who, wanting to conquer Gaul, saw Lyon as the ideal site. Multiple vestiges from this period remain on Fourvière Hill and in the Croix Rousse. We can help you discover more about the history on a self-guided walking tour of Lyon's old town.

forviere hill

Fourvière Hill from the river - ©T.Deschamps - OT Lyon

 

Lyon - during the Renaissance

During the Renaissance, Lyon became an important trade center. Merchants and bankers from Italy came, building beautiful houses in the “Vieux Lyon” that still exist today. Printing and silk-making became important industries. The “Canuts” silk workers created passageways for carrying the products down to the river and not get rained on. These “traboules” still exist, and were used by the French Resistance during WWII to quickly and secretly get around the city.

Lyon - during World War II

During WWII, Lyon was one of the main sites of the Resistance movement (Jean Moulin operated here), as well as a stronghold for the SS (Klaus Barbie’s headquarters were in Lyon). The Resistance and Deportation History Center is located in the buildings occupied by Barbie and is an important site serving the memory of this time.

Lyon - constantly moving

The Lumières brothers who lived in Lyon invented the cinema in the 1890s. Since then, the city has constantly developed with great modernity. Jean Nouvel designed the opera house in 1990, the banks of the Rhone river were refurbished in the mid-2000s, and the new Confluence district has regenerated the southern Presqu’île with contemporary architecture and sustainable development.

There is so much to discover when it comes to tours and sightseeing in Lyon. In your France Just For You guidebook, we'll recommend the most popular places to visit on Lyon city tours (based on your interests). We'll also suggest some hidden gems that other tourists don't know about.

 

The Food, oh the Food!

Lyon is the gastronomical capital of the top gastronomical country in the world! Tummies get ready, and let the adventure begin!

The city is surrounded by areas provided top quality products : meats from the Monts du Lyonnais and the Dombes, fish from Savoy, chicken from Bresse, wines from the Rhone valley and the Beaujolais, and tons of local cheese. All of these are on display at the numerous outside markets or at the famous Les Halles indoor market - a great place to enjoy food and wine tasting in Lyon. The markets are a must-see on a Lyon self guided walking tour.

Here are some self-drive trip ideas for gourmet travelers

Bouchon Lyonnais

Typical Bouchon Lyonnais brasserie restaurant - ©OT Lyon

 

Some of the specialties that should not be missed (and this is only a small sample. . .), be it either in a typical bouchon restaurant or at a Michelin starred establishment:

  • Quenelles : a pike dumpling soufflé often covered in Nantua sauce made with crayfish from nearby Nantua lake, then baked in the oven
  • Saucisson brioche: a sausage made with pistachios and surrounded by a soft brioche
  • Salade lyonnaise : you will be surprised as to how delicious a simple salad can be (frisée lettuce, lardons, croutons and a poached egg)
  • For the more adventurous, the Tablier de sapeur : cooked beef tripe, marinated in white wine, then covered in breadcrumbs and fried. It is usually served with steamed potatoes and sauce gribiche, made from hard-boiled eggs, mustard and chives.
  • Cheese : creamy Saint Marcellin and St Félicien, the Cervelle des canuts (fromage blanc seasoned with herbs, shallots, olive oil and vinegar usually served as a starter), and the Arôme de Lyon (dried cow’s milk cheese that is macerated in wine for 3 weeks, with the grapes encrusting the final product)
  • Sweets: Coussin de Lyon (from Voisin chocolate shop) and the Tarte à la Praline (a cream tart covered in delicious pink pralines)

 

Tarte à la praline

Tarte à la Praline - ©Ji-Elle, CC BY-SA 4.0 - Wikimedia Commons

 

Where to stay in Lyon

As with Paris, to optimize your stay, we recommend staying in the heart of Lyon, on its “presqu’île”. We have selected boutique-hotels very central that will enable you to easily explore and make the most of your time in “the other city of lights”.

 

Lyon by night

Staying in the very heart of Lyon is the best way to make the most of your stay - ©T.Deschamps - OT Lyon

Visit other French regions

Brittany

Alsace

Somme

Champagne

Verdun

Normandy

Provence

Dordogne

Loire Valley

Paris

Bordeaux

Our Travelers’ Reviews

Bryan & Family
France Just for You has my highest recommendation. I will never forget our trip to France. Laura was amazing. Perfect itinerary. They did the little things right. Were available throughout the trip. We forgot my 4 year old's blanket at the first hotel. I contacted Laura and she had it waiting for us when we arrived at the hotel airport to leave. I …
John
In May we travelled to France for our second trip with Emilie and France Just For You, and it was just as wonderful as our first adventure! Emilie's planning is so thorough and detailed that not a thing is left to chance. The B and B's were lovely and the hosts delightful; the routes were carefully planned to give us a complete taste of Southern …
Cynthia
On my second trip with France Just For You (FJFY) this October I drove through Normandy and Brittaney. It was a wonderful trip and FJFY is an amazing travel agency. Their customized and detailed guidebook covers everything you need to know about visiting France from practical information about traffic signs to insights about the French people and …

Our Travelers’ Photos

Maureen & Victor
from the US
Visiting an Abbey in the Loire Valley
Chee Keong & Zack
From Malaysia
On Pegasus Bridge in Normandy for the D-Day celebrations
Diana & Michael
A glass of wine in the Provence vineyards, what else ?
Jan & Ray
From Australia
In Mont Saint Michel
Alexis, Stefanie and Paul...with Emilie & Family
from the US
At the B&B in the Loire Valley
Amy
from the US
Enjoying a great view in Burgundy
Elizabeth
From Canada
At her B&B in Normandy
Catherine, Chee Keong & Kate
From Malaysia
In Caen, Normandy, during the June commemorations of D-Day
Myrna & Duncan
from Canada
In Eze gardens on the Riviera
Bruce from Australia
Cooking outdoor in Provence, bon appétit !
Georgia & Matt from Australia
Cooking fresh stawberries from Carpentras in Provence
Tonya & Robert
From the US
In Versailles - Hall of Mirrors