Lyon was dubbed ‘the capital of world gastronomy’ by celebrated culinary critic Curnonsky in 1935 and today boasts over 20 Michelin stars – though you really come here to eat in bouchons, traditional casual restaurants, similar to Parisian bistros but unique to Lyon. Best of all, Lyon also has a lot to offer between meals and is the perfect size for a weekend break or few days detour on your next visit to France. Here are five things not to miss in this vibrant city.
Fine Dining Auberge du Pont de Collonges
Regarded as the 20th century’s greatest chef, Paul Bocuse held 3-Michelin stars for 53 years until his death in 2018. Dining at his Baroque restaurant on the Saône River (still 3-Michelin) is a lifetime culinary highlight combining superb food, a little theatre, beautiful surrounds and welcoming service.
Bouchon La Meunière
Head straight to this rustic 100-year-old bouchon for chef Olivier Canal’s generous serves of classics including andouillette, salade Lyonnaise and quenelle de brochet. Food is unadorned, wine is in simple carafes and the atmosphere is pure Lyon. So good we ate here twice!
Do Silk Walking Tour
Silk weaving has been integral to Lyon since the 16th century. A guided walking tour, from the Croix-Rousse district high above the city centre down through the maze of unique passageways (traboules) to a silk workshop, is a wonderful way to walk off the calories and learn about Lyon’s history.
See River Cruise
Built on a peninsula between the Saône and Rhône Rivers, Lyon must be seen from the water. Take a guided cruise for an historical snapshot from Roman garrison, through Gothic and Romanesque architecture, to the Confluence district’s striking modern buildings where the rivers meet.
Stay Hotel Carlton
This charming art deco hotel, with its stunning signature red décor and beautiful 1930s central elevator, is in the Bellecour quarter between the rivers, close to main attractions (and bouchons!). Recently-refurbished small rooms make clever use of space, with tiny balconies to take in the sun between meals.
With so much eating to do, it’s hard to find time for drinking … but it’s worth stopping by the atmospheric cave L’Harmonie des Vins (conveniently next door to La Meunière) for a glass of something from their extensive list.
Learn more about visiting Lyon here and be sure to get a Lyon City Card for access to over 20 museums, unlimited public transport, a river cruise, a guided walking tour and special discount offers.