Lyon, much more than just food
City breaks - hmmm, well, let’s reel out the faves - Barcelona, Paris, Lisbon, Amsterdam - yadda, yadda, yadda (yawn).... That’s a tad unfair, but sometimes it’s worth visiting somewhere that isn’t one of the obvious classics. And this is where Lyon comes into its own. Quite frankly, this beautiful and incredibly cultural city often appears too far down on the list of ‘must visit places’.
Let us tease you with our top five reasons why you should visit this fabulous city.
It is a UNESCO world heritage site
Bet you didn’t know that?! Lyon was founded in 1st century BC by the Romans and the city is literally a living, breathing physical museum to France’s history. Vast roman viaducts can still be seen and the Roman amphitheatres Odeon and Fourvière are still used today for Lyon’s many festivals, in particular Les Nuits de Fourvière which is held between June and August hosting a platitude of different performances.
During the Renaissance, Lyon boomed
France’s first printing press was established here and it secured France as one of Europe’s most important printing areas. Lyon also produced stunning silk and when Napoleon I was in power, he declared all the courts of Europe were to use Lyonnais silk. Naturally, this didn’t harm Lyon’s economy.
Alright, we have to mention food …
Lyon has over 1,200 places to eat - you shouldn’t go too hungry. It became the food mecca of France largely due to it’s location - everything it could possibly want to grow, cultivate or kill has always been on it’s doorstep. Lyon has never really required imported food, thus making it very easy for the city to develop an appreciation of the delicacies and blends of fresh flavours and cooking styles that other cities have not been so blessed. And, with this abundance of fresh produce and love of food, cookery schools developed and aspiring chefs such as Paul Bocuse, Pierre Orsi and Guy Lassausaie flocked to study in this splendid city.
You won’t get bored, trust us
There is so much to see and do. If museums float your boat, and among the many Lyon has to offer, trot along to the Musée des Confluences a modern museum dedicated to science and anthropology or The Museum of Textiles which charts Lyon’s illustrious history with the silk industry. If puppets are your thing, then the characters found in the Musée Gadagne will quite delight you. A trip to Lyon would not be complete without checking out the view of the city from the Basilica of Notre-Dame de Fourvière. Now very much considered as the symbol of Lyon, the stunning Basilica was built upon the Roman forum of Trajan, and is dedicated to the Virgin Mary whom the Lyonnais felt saved the city during the bubonic plague - this is remembered each December with the Festival of Lights - a four day event where the city is illuminated and the Lyonnais celebrate the Virgin Mary.
Festivals, fun and frivolity
The Lyonnais know how to party, and, unlike many French cities, Lyon has festivals and events throughout the year. Those who enjoy dance culture will love the relatively new Nuits Sonores - Panorama of Electronic Music. This is home to some of the world's biggest and most popular club DJs. Scattered across a variety of venues throughout Lyon, this is one Europe’s best dance festivals with a fantastic vibe. The Fourvière Nights festival in Lyon is a spectacular experience encompassing theatre, dance, music and cinema. Created in 1946, it takes place every summer between June, July and August. This unusual festival actually uses Lyon’s Roman amphitheatres to showcase their performances and more than 130,000 spectators eagerly explore all this spectacle offers. Lyon's Festival of Lights takes place across 4 days in December and all of Lyon celebrate this rather lovely festival. In 1852 a statue of the Virgin Mary was to be inaugurated on the ancient site of Fourviére Hill.. However, due to terrible weather the event nearly did not occur, eventually the last storm passed and the folk of Lyon spontaneously lit their homes with candles and celebrated their new monument. This has now become a huge event and attracts hundreds of people while beautiful lights illuminate the city.
Where to stay
As you have read, Lyon is a vibrant and colourful city brimming with life and tourism. Our advice is not to leave booking to the last moment, places snap up quickly. Trust us, you will be disappointed when you realise the only accommodation available is the floor of a doorway ….
For central, convenient rooms in the heart of Lyon visit: https://www.universityrooms.com/en/city/lyon/colleges All of these rooms are associated with the universities, and are fabulous places to stay which will not break your bank balance. Some are self-catering whilst others offer a B&B service, great dining areas, spacious living areas, gyms and even a spa. Whatever your requirements - there will definitely be something to suit your needs.