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Fifteen Reasons to Visit Lyon

Lyon is a diverse place which offers a lot: great food, historical heritage, modern architecture and exceptional events. But what I love most about Lyon is the original and authentic French feel and the Lyonnais people. So get ready to visit Lyon …because there are 15 reasons why you should do so!

It is true! I am totally in love with Lyon and you need to forgive me as when I am passionate about something I am always 100% dedicated to the case. So, now I am 100% dedicated to Lyon! I fell in love with it at first sight and so I decided to explore the city and this only made me love it even more. So now I feel it is high time for me to share this love for Lyon with you show you why you should choose to visit Lyon!

There are many reasons to choose Lyon over other places.  Lyon is the ideal place to discover the real France and better than Paris for sure! Paris is so international nowadays that you don’t need to struggle with speaking French there. But Lyon is authentic. There are not many people who speak English, therefore you are forced to try to speak some French. Even though Lyonnais people don’t make much of an effort to speak English they are very helpful, funny, and talkative.

But of course there is more. These are my top 15 reasons to visit Lyon:

  • Lyon is the real capital of gastronomy! It has its own ”Pope of the French Cuisine”, Paul Bocuse. Moreover, it has over 2000 restaurants, 15 of which have stars in the Michelin Guide. It has 72 Michelin-starred chefs.  And on top of that, Lyon has a lot of authentic and local eateries, including bouchons, brassieres, top chocolatiers, fromageries, boulangeries, and so on.
  • Lyon has the best quality food. It has a great location and access to the best meat, vegetables, and cheese.  Lyon also has very good wines as it is located near Beaujolais and Vallee du Rhone. Both regions deliver top class wines.
  • Lyon has bouchons! These are small, family-owned bistros which serve traditional, homemade food and Lyonnais specialities. There are  only 20 authentic bouchons, and all of them are in Lyon! The menu might seem overwhelming at first but just trust me it is eatable and good! I always go for the safe choice which is quenelles (amazing!) but you can choose from tripe, bone marrow, donkey snout, and pork offal sausage, to name just a few interesting ones. Be adventurous and try something new!
  • Lyon organizes the Festival of Lights! This event is being held in December and gathers more and more people each year. It is magnificent and lasts for four days. It starts on Friday evening and each day begins at 6pm when it is getting dark and the whole city is ready for the festive season. Families, couples, and friends gather together and go for a walk through the city, admiring the lights, designs, ideas, music and the shows which are displayed around the main monuments of Lyon.
  •  Lyon is affordable! If you want to explore France and all you have in your head is Paris and its high cost of living, it can put you off coming over. Consider that there are much better places to discover in France. Lyon is a very good place to get the authentic French experience at a much better price!
  • Lyon has a beautiful historic area. It is called Vieux-Lyon district which is classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This is my favourite place in Lyon’s Croix Rousse. It has an amazing atmosphere and feel with many hidden Traboules (passageways between buildings used to transport and protect silk) to discover and many bouchons to get the authentic food experience.
  • Lyon has a modern part as well.  It is called the Confluence district of Lyon. Just last December, the Museum of Confluence opened there. It is not only an impressive building but also offers a great view and interesting collections. On top of that, there are unusual, modern buildings that I have never seen before, with fantastic shapes, architecture and colors like gold and silver… You can even live in one of the new, modern apartments up there.
  • Lyon has not one but two rivers! The Rhône and Saone Rivers merge in the Confluence district. I love the idea of two rivers as it gives you four river sides, which is ideal for walking or resting and sunbathing when it gets hot here.
  • Lyon has a healthy way of living! So there is a very well-organized vélo renting system with about 4,000 bikes at 340 stations. There are also many places ideal for jogging. Many French people are practicing it every day which is very motivating to get started as well.
  • Lyonnais people are really nice! At first, I didn’t find them very welcoming but things are changing now and people are opening up to foreigners more and more. International connections were not well-developed here at first, making Lyonnais hospitality suffer, but are improving as well. They just launched Eurostar connections with London and offer direct and cheap Easyjet flights to Poland. On a personal level, Lyonnais people are very approachable, funny, and helpful. And bear in mind, they will always help you and motivate you to learn French as they will refuse to speak English with you or simply don’t know English so that you are forced to use French making it  a great experience indeed.
  • There is this amazing Tête d'Or Park, which covers 105 hectares and has a 16-hectare lake. It is ideal for a picnic, family day out, date, or for meeting your friends.  And I hope it will surprise you as it did surprise me to find a free zoo and a botanical garden there.
  • Lyon has a rich historical heritage which you can admire in the Gallo-Roman theatre, for instance. The city was founded in October, 43 B.C., by a Roman legate and traces of this Roman influence are still visible today.
  • You will have a chance to explore Fourvière Hill.  You can walk there or take the very famous and fun funicular railway up the hill (highly recommended). So the Hill offers an amazing view, has its own Notre Dame De Fourviere which is now part of a UNESCO World Heritage site and has the Tour Métallique de Fourvière which has been privately created by the owners of the Eiffel Tower and is now the highest point in Lyon. It is, in fact, higher than the Eiffel Tower at its summit.
  • You are going to be enchanted by the Lyonnais wall paintings! Indeed, Lyon has over sixty impressive CitéCréation frescos. They all look stunning and amazing. I like Le Mur Des Canuts the most which is located at the Croix Rousse.
  • Lyon has the Alps and it can take you less than an hour to get there for a proper skiing experience or day out!

So I could really keep writing more as, to put it simply, j’adore Lyon. I have already chosen Lyon to visit and now to settle down in! How about you?


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Paul O'Doherty

"I am excited about meeting so many open-minded people, who are willing to help a total stranger enjoy Lyon. "

Maria Cristina Alves

"If you don't speak French, it is difficult to find friends here. But InterNations helped me to meet other expats and get tips to improve my language skills. "

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