Lyon is one of the prettiest cities in France. It has an old Renaissance town that is one of the largest in Europe, Roman ruins and a world famous food scene. Lyon which is just a few hours from Paris is worth a visit all on its’ own. However, if you’re like us and only have a day to spend on Lyon this is your guide to do it right.
24 Hours in Lyon. Ready. Set. GO
Wake up grab a croissant from the local Boulangerie because you’ll need those delicious carbs for all the walking. You’ll start at Vieux Lyon and head to Fourviere Basilica.We suggest taking the funicular near Vieux Lyon metro station as the walk is steep. The Basilica of Notre-Dame de Fourvière was built in the late 19th century, unique for its Byzantine and Romanesque styles this is your first stop.
Wander around the Basilica and take in the views of Lyon.
Next head the Ancient Theatre of Fourvière. Located a few steps away from the Basilica, the ruins transport you back in time. Comprising of two theaters the grand theater which held up to 10,00 people and the smaller Odeon theater which held up to 3,500 people this place is impressive and give the colosseum a run for its money.
This by the way, is France’s oldest theater.
Walk or take the funicular back down to Vieux Lyon. From there walk a few steps to Cathédrale Saint-Jean-Baptiste. Reminiscent of the Notre Dame’s Cathedral in Paris, it took over four centuries to build this beauty.
Aim to get here about noon to witness the astronomical clock chiming.
By now your tummy is probably grumbling but thankfully you are in the foodie capital of France if not the world. Wander over to Rue Saint-Jean where wealthy Lyonnais bankers and silk merchants lived during the Renaissance. Still as charming as it was back then, this is the heart of Vieux-Lyon (Old Lyon) a Unesco World Heritage Site. Here you will find a ton of great shops, cafes, and restaurants to feast on.
So rest up, sit back and dig in.
Save some time to explore the traboules. These secret passageways link buildings and courtyard in Old Lyon. Finding one is like a treasure hunt but once you do it is all worth it as this is one of the most unique things you can do in Lyon.
Here for more info on where to find the secret traboules.
Your next stop is Place des Terreaux. Take a stop by Place Bellecour a charming square for people watching. It is about a 15 minute walk to Place des Terreaux where you pass other squares and cathedrals. The buildings that surround the square are exquisite and perfect back drop for some selfies. The main attraction here is the gorgeous fountain by F.A Bartholdi.
So grab your coins and don’t forget to make a wish.
Your last so called spot is the Parc de la Tête d’Or. The largest park in all of France it has a zoo, botanical garden and a rose garden. This is the perfect place to watch the sunset and unwind after a day of exploring.
Grab a gelato enjoy the view.
Before heading back to your hotel make sure to have one last meal in Lyon. The most authentic places to eat are ” Bouchons Lyonnais.” These are little restaurants that offer a typical French dining experience. If you have the means check out Paul Bocuse Restaurant. Not only Michelin-starred but often referred to the best restaurant in France. Master Chef Paul Bocuse has held three Michelin stars since 1965.
If there was ever a time to splurge it would be here in the food capital .
Grab a 24 hr metro card for less than 6 euros for unlimited travel.
Restaurants tend to stop serving food around 10 pm so don’t wait too long to eat.
The map below takes you on our route across Lyon.