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Living in Lyon
A comprehensive guide about living well in Lyon
Lyon is the third largest city in France and is one of Europe's most important banking centers, while the chemical, pharmaceutical, software and biotech industries are also vital in the city. As such, expats planning life in Lyon can look forward to a variety of working opportunities.
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Life in Lyon
Lyon also has a thriving start-up sector and has been ranked among the most innovative cities in the world. Lyon is further famed all over the world for its fantastic cuisine and the city, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is also known for its historical and architectural landmarks, making it a wonderful place to live for expatriates who are interested in culture.
Transportation in Lyon
Lyon-Saint Exupéry Airport is an important regional transportation hub, providing access to the entire Rhône-Alpes region, with the airport acting as a base for domestic and international flights. The new Rhônexpress tram means Lyon’s thriving business district can be reached from the airport in only half an hour, while France’s TGV network is also connected to the airport.
The city’s two major railway stations are Lyon Part-Dieu and Lyon Perrache, both of which are used by the high-speed TGV trains. Lyon’s rail transportation links are outstanding and expats living in Lyon can easily get to Paris, Brussels and Lille in the north by rail, as well as Marseille and Montpellier in southern France. Plans are in place to extend the network to Turin, Amsterdam and Barcelona, while expats living in Lyon can even get to Frankfurt and Strasbourg by train.
Lyon’s rail network is very good and a number of important French highways — such as the A6 (to Paris); A7 (to Marseille); A42 (to Geneva); and A43 (to Grenoble) — pass through the city.
The city’s efficient public transit system, consisting of metro, tramways and buses, is known as the TCL and there are five tram lines, while the city is working hard to be safer for cyclists too.
Culture and Leisure in Lyon
France is famous throughout the world for its culture and Lyon is no different, with the city playing a vital role in the history of cinema. Lyon is the home of the annual light festival ‘Fête des Lumières’, which runs for four days starting on 8 December each year — Lyon is sometimes known as the Capital of Lights as a result.
Gastronomy is very important in Lyon and two of France’s best known wine-growing regions are located close to the city, making it a great place to live for food and wine lovers.
Lyon is a sporting city and the successful Ligue 1 football team Olympique Lyonnais currently plays in the city’s 43,000-capacity Stade de Gerland, although there are plans for the club to move to a new, larger stadium in the eastern suburbs soon. Rugby and ice hockey are also popular sports in Lyon.
There are many museums and architecture sites of note in the city, with expats living in Lyon likely to enjoy the church of Saint Francis of Sales, while the Opéra Nouvel is a great place to spend a cultural evening.
The Museum of Resistance and Deportation and the African Museum of Lyon are two of the city’s best and most important museums. Parc de la Tête d’O is regarded as one of the most beautiful urban parks in France.
Lyon was made a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1998, with the organization noting the award was an “exceptional testimony to the continuity of urban settlement over more than two millennia on a site of great commercial and strategic significance”.
Safety and Security in Lyon
Lyon is regarded as a safe place and expatriates living in Lyon are unlikely to encounter many major safety or security issues. Petty crime and vandalism are the main types of criminal activity in the city. Lyon’s public transportation system is safe and it is rare for passports and personal items to be stolen from foreigners.
Rue Ste Catherine, which is located behind Place des Terreaux, is one of the most popular places for late-night drinking in Lyon and the crowds can be rowdy until the early hours of the morning, with violent disorder not uncommon. Bicycle theft is also relatively common in Lyon.
The Lyon police emergency number is 17, the fire brigade can be reached on 18 and expats living in Lyon should dial 15 if they have a medical emergency. On mobile phones, the emergency number is 112 for all of the emergency services.
One of the biggest dangers for foreigners living in Lyon can be the heat in the summer. Temperatures get very high in the summer months and the strong sun can cause problems for expats who are not used to such weather conditions.
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