How to Spend 24 Hours in Lyon, France
If there's one word to describe Lyon, its charming. The purpose of our trip was to watch the friendly soccer game between USA and France, but obviously I was excited to head to Lyon because I have never been there before and I always hear such great things about it. To be honest I didn't really know what to expect, despite all the positive reviews, but as soon as we started exploring we felt at ease in this city. Where Paris is loud, crowded and stuffy, Lyon was calm, open and peaceful.
Parts of Lyon reminded us of Italy, other parts reminded us of the south of France (the hot temperatures might have had something to do with that haha). All in all Lyon was an inviting and lovely city.
We had very limited time there but truly made the most of every moment. We arrived late Friday night and left after lunch on Sunday so it felt more like a 24 hours trip than two nights… so that being said…
Check out our "24" hours in Lyon itinerary below:
Saturday morning we woke up early, had a bite to eat at our hotel and we were off. We purchased a 24 hour metro pass and I would definitely recommend doing this. It was very easy to use and only €5.80 each for unlimited usage. We headed straight to Place des Jacobins, which is a gorgeous square in the center of Lyon with this huge beautiful fountain.
From there we walked towards the western side of the island towards Vieux Lyon (old town). Along the Quai Tilsitt was a market full of fresh fruits, veggies, sausages, olives, cheeses, flowers.. you name it. We enjoyed the sights, smells and views along the river as we headed down towards Passerelle Saint Georges (the famous red pedestrian bridge).
After crossing over the bridge we strolled through Old Town (which really made me think of Rome) , and somehow stumbled into a door leading us into the famous Traboules (pictured below is La Tour Rose), which are a series of hundreds of secret passageways hidden throughout Vieux Lyon and were used in the 19th century silk trade.
We also walked through Saint Georges church but the interior was being fully renovated so there wasn’t much to see inside and in the place in front of the church there's a gorgeous view of the Basilica, but with the event happening there I wasn't able to photograph it as I had wished, but its definitely a spot you should visit! And check out how bright and cheery this town is?!
From there we took the funicular ride (there are stairs that you can walk up, but it was wayyyyy too hot for us that day haha) up to the La Basilique Notre Dame de Fourvière. The interior was gorgeous and covered in extraordinary mosaics. We loved the panoramic views and the rose gardens below (Le Jardin du Rosaire). Directly through the rose gardens we headed down those stairs we skipped earlier and caught some more beautiful views as we headed back towards central Lyon.
By this time we were hungry, so we walked all the way down, across the river again for a bite to eat. Lyon is the capital of food in France and yet somehow we didn't really look into where to eat so we just had a standard café meal… oh well! #rookiemove .. Anyways.. we passed the beautiful Place des Terreaux in from of Hotel de Ville (City Hall) but since there were again so many tents up for some event happening that day I was unable to get a good photo of it. We stopped to eat on Place de la Bourse in front of the Chambre de Commerce et d'Industrie de Lyon (Lyon's Chamber of Commerce and Industry). This is one of the buildings in Lyon that reminded me of Paris the most.
After re-energizing at lunch we headed towards the huge Parc de la Tête d'Or. This park is massive. There are many pathways and places to relax and definitely a must see when visiting Lyon on a nice day. I loved the giant green house and all the boats in the lake. There were turtles piled on top of each other and various blooming gardens. After walking all over the city that day we laid down in the grass for a little nap.
After that we didn't have much time until kick off so we were off to the stadium to watch the friendly France vs USA game. There weren't many Americans in the stands but there was a few and we were all shocked to see a tie game 1-1! If you're in Lyon during soccer season you should definitely try to catch a game during your trip!
The next day we had lunch at the famous Brasseries Georges (one of the largest brasseries in France) and headed back home to Paris. It was a short, fun trip and we really enjoyed the charm and quiet nature of this beautiful city. If it didn't get so cold there in the winter I think we would consider a move from Paris haha!
Have you been to Lyon? You should definitely spend some time there and I personally cant wait to go back!