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Top 8 Tips to Visit Lyon on a Budget

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!

I am sure you have heard about Lyon, the third biggest French city (and the city I love)! Lyon is a great place to visit and highly recommended. It’s not only because of all the rich and interesting history, not only because of the best French food, but also because of the development and modern spirit it has, because of its people and because you can experience the real and authentic France on a budget there. I have a few tips for you on how you can get the best of Lyon without spending much.

1.       Find Cheap Accommodation in Lyon

You don’t need to pay loads to stay in Lyon. There are posh hotels and even very expensive ones, but don’t be put off. There are over 300 properties at a different price range available if you are willing to browse several hotel booking sites. But I would also like to recommend some other accommodation alternatives which are much cheaper. There are websites which let you book an apartment at a very good price or let you swap a night with a local. Both options usually come with a kitchen so you can save money and prepare meals for yourself! Have you thought about it? Hotels force you to eat at a restaurant which can be rather expensive.

2.       Purchase the Lyon City Card

When you are in Lyon, you can get overwhelmed with the many things to do. There are museum and parks to visit, guided city tours, bus and boat rides, and other things that require you to move around. This can be very expensive if you don’t plan ahead. A Lyon City Card can save you a lot of money if you are motivated and dedicated to use it properly. You can buy it for one, two or three days and it gives you access to over 22 museums, guided tours, free transport, free bikes, free shows and performances, etc. Of course, you need to plan well to make the most of it. It is possible when you start your day early…  You can buy the Lyon City Card online (and get 10% off) or at the Lyon Tourist Office. It will cost you between 22 and 42 EUR.

3.       Organize Affordable Transport

If the Lyon City Card is not your cup of tea, there are other ways to save on you trip. Have a look at the current offers and ticket fares for the bus, tube and the Velo'v system.  You can choose the ticket option which is most relevant to your stay. It can be just one all-day ticket which costs 5.10 EUR. If you want to explore the city, it is not worth buying a single ticket as you will need more than one so it can end up being pretty expensive. The single fare is 1.80 EUR and it allows you to use public transport within one hour. By no means should you buy the ticket in the bus as this is even more expensive. If you decide to use single tickets, get a carnet of 10 tickets, instead. This is a better deal than buying them individually. Remember, if you buy it on the bus you will pay around 2 EUR more, so ideally you should get it at a tube station.

4.       Discover Lyon by Bike

Getting on a bike and travelling through the city is a great way of getting to know the city. There are over 400 bikes available in Lyon and easy to use. All you have to do is register on Vélo’v first, pay a small deposit, and then you get access to rental bikes all across Lyon. You can borrow any bike for free for the first 30 minutes. After that, you will pay a small fee or have to change your bike.

5.        Experience the Best Lyonnais Cuisine

Lyon is the Capital of Gastronomy! That is why you cannot miss the opportunity to discover why Lyon deserves such a title. The truth is that you can eat well and on a budget here in Lyon. Visit the typical Lyonnais Bouchon and try the best Lyonnais specialities in a big amount and at an affordable price. There are many bouchons which will offer you a complete meal for less than 20 Euro.  You can be sure that you will eat a lot!

6.       Get La Carte Musée

If you want to visit some Lyonnais museums, I would recommend getting La Carte Musée which will cost you 20 EUR. You can use it unlimited times for a whole year. But even if you are coming to Lyon for just a few days, it’s an economical and easy choice. You can purchase it with the first ticket to the museum. So when you consider vising a few museums, each ticket fare is about 9 EUR, so after three visits you have already saved money! The museums to choose from are: Musée d'Art Contemporain, Musée des Beaux-Arts, Musée Gadagne, Musée de l’Imprimerie, Musée de l’Automobile Henri Malartre, and Centre d'Histoire de la Résistance et de la Déportation.

7.       Explore the Culture of Lyon

If you love cultural events and are using any opportunity to take part in them, then I would recommend to check out special offers listed on the website of Lyon. You can also find any suitable cultural passes available at the Lyon Culture Website.  Another very good card that will offer you loads of discounts for activities here in Lyon and in the whole Rhone Alps is the TIPTOP card.

8.       Buy at the Two Euro Shops

The first thing I have done in Lyon when doing my shopping investigation is to look for the cheap shops! I know them well from the UK — the famous 1 GBP shops — so I was wondering if this very expensive France will have something similar as well. And I have found two “c’est deux euros” shops in Lyon! One is in the Terreaux Place and the other one near Bellecour, nicely located but well hidden. Don’t count on a good quality there but they are very good for everyday products, small presents, stationary, as well as kitchen and bathroom items. Each item costs two Euros but because of this fact you will not stop at just one thing and might end up paying more for your shopping. Stick to the shopping list if you want to keep your spendings at a minimum!

So what are you waiting for? Book your ticket and come on over to Lyon. You can explore France on a budget and get the most out of your visit! Bon voyage!


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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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