Visiting any bigger city for just one day is always a bit of a challenge and many might ask, is it even worth it for such a short time? But sometimes, there is just no other way and this is the only time we´ve got. Either during a business meeting, a stop on a longer road trip or a layover between flights – I always say, better quick than never at all. Recently, we visited Lyon for just one day, coming back to Slovenia from the French Atlantic coast. It was totally worth it and real fun! We left the city with positive first impressions and thought of definitely coming back for longer one day. Read more about what you can see and do during a short visit like ours in this new post.
OLD CITY | LYON VIEUX
Lyon´s old city center, which is situated at the foot of the FOURVIERE HILL is a bustling HISTORICAL AREA with marvellous RENAISSANCE BUILDINGS and old PAVED NARROW STREETS. It is also the FIRST EVER PROTECTED CITY AREA in France and besides that on the UNESCO World Heritage list as well. The old part of the town is divided into 3 AREAS, but is not large at all so it is easy to navigate on foot. This is one of the city parts I would recommend not to miss out on your first visit.
Besides beautiful shops, churches, museums and other attractions in this part, you can find a great number of BARS and RESTAURANTS. Just a short walk through the area and you will get a picture of how lively this city is. Also a great place to be at when you are hungry and/or thirsty.
Basilica (up left on the picture), built on the place of the once existing ROMAN FORUM, is situated on a really perfect spot offering great VIEWS OVER THE CITY. You really cannot miss it as it is seen from various points, especially while walking along the rivers. You can reach it on foot or by taking a FUNICULAR.
LYON CITY CATHEDRAL
The main cathedral in the OLD CITY CENTER is a wonderful example of ROMAN SACRAL ARCHITECTURE. It really surprised us with its size and presence, since it doesn´t look so big from the streets along the river banks. It is also an important site during the famous LIGHT FESTIVAL held every December in Lyon.
PLACE DE TERRAUX SQUARE
One of the most important and BIGGEST SQUARES in LYON, situated on the PRESQU´ILE island between the RIVERS OF SAONE AND RHONE, is also home to some of the most important buildings in the city. Including the CITY HALL, PALACE SAINT-PIERRE palace and the MUSEE DES BEAUX-ARTS DE LYON museum.
PLACE DES JACOBINS SQUARE
During our walk through the city we came across this great square where 12 STREETS end up from all the sides. The central focus point is the FOUNTAIN and around ther square there are some of the most amazing buildings in the city. Not to mention all the beautiful shops too.
FRESQUE DES LYONNAIS
All around Lyon you can see interesting MURALS, but this one has to be the most known one. The magnificent FRESQUE DES LYONAIS, painted on a once abandoned building along the RIVER SAONE, is featuring 30 KNOWN LYON PERSONS, that have in one way or the other contributed to the development of the city. Definitely worth seeing from all 4 sides of the building.
DINNER AT A TRADITIONAL BOUCHON RESTAURANT
Visiting a BOUCHON, a name describing a TYPICAL TRADITIONAL LYONNAISE RESTAURANT, is another thing not to miss out on while in the city. Especially if you like meaty meals. I don´t consider myself as a picky eater but unfortunately in Lyon they serve exactly that kind of SPECIALTIES I have absolutely no interest eating. Despite this, we of course went for dinner to one of them and I was lucky enough to find fish on the menu.
If you are not like me and you feel happy to bite into a SAUSAGE, LIVER and the INTERNAL ORGANS, you will be in paradise here. I comparison to some of the other usual French delicacies the food here is very hearty, fatty and filling. You can opt for a TRADITIONAL SALAD and don´t forget to have a BEER or two – they are really good over here. You can find lots of restaurants like this (and other) in the old city center or on the lively street called RUE MERCIERE.
SO, LYON FOR A DAY YES OR NO? We say yes! The city is pretty large itself but if you concentrate on the old city centre LYON VIEUX and PRESQU´ILE you can see a lot even in short time. If you wish to sleep over (like we did) I recommend one of these two areas too, we left our car at one of the city UNDERGROUND GARAGES close by. All of the stated attractions in this post are easily reachable on foot, but if you have a little bit of extra time do visit one of the LOCAL MARKETS & MUSEUMS, take a BOAT ON THE RIVER, check out the ANCIENT THEATRE and relax in one of the parks (PARK DE LA TETE D´OR is the most known one), In December, don´t forget about the amazing lights festival called FETE DES LUMIERES.
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