Top 15 Things to Do in Lyon – A Guide to Exploring the City of Gastronomy and Culture



Lyon is a charming and lively city located in the Rhône-Alpes region of France, renowned as the gastronomic capital of the world.

Its cultural heritage is evident in the impressive architecture, museums, and landmarks scattered throughout the city.

Lyon is an ideal destination for travelers seeking a blend of food, history, and culture.

In this article, we’ll explore The Top 15 Things To Do In Lyon, including some of its most iconic landmarks, museums, and culinary gems.

1.La Basilique Notre Dame de Fourvière

La Basilique Notre Dame de Fourvière is a stunning basilica located atop Fourvière Hill.

The basilica, completed between 1872 and 1884, is dedicated to the Virgin Mary.

Inside, visitors are treated to a mesmerizing interior adorned with exquisite mosaics, stained glass windows, and paintings.

The basilica’s hilltop location also offers breathtaking views of Lyon, which can be reached by climbing a flight of stairs or taking the funicular.

Visitors can also explore the crypt beneath the basilica, which houses a fascinating collection of religious artifacts and remains.

Source: Flickr

2.Parc de la Tête d’Or

Parc de la Tête d’Or is a vast park situated in Lyon’s sixth arrondissement, covering 117 hectares.

It is among the largest urban parks in France and boasts a serene lake, a botanical garden, a zoo, and several walking and cycling paths.

Visitors can also rent a bicycle to explore the park or enjoy a peaceful boat ride on the lake.

The park is a popular destination for picnics, jogging, and outdoor concerts, and it’s an ideal spot to escape the city’s hustle and bustle.

Source: Phinou, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

3.Cathédrale Saint-Jean-Baptiste

Cathédrale Saint-Jean-Baptiste is a magnificent cathedral located in Lyon’s historic old town.

The cathedral, built between the 12th and 15th centuries, exhibits an elegant blend of Gothic and Romanesque architectural styles.

Inside, visitors are treated to a captivating interior featuring stained glass windows, sculptures, and paintings.

The cathedral’s astronomical clock, located in the north transept, is a masterpiece of engineering and art, and it’s worth a visit.

Visitors can also climb to the top of the cathedral to enjoy breathtaking views of Lyon.

Cathédrale Saint-Jean-Baptiste
Source: Flickr

4.Musée des Confluences

Musée des Confluences is a science and anthropology museum located at the confluence of the Rhône and Saône rivers in Lyon.

The museum boasts a collection of over two million objects that explore the history of science, technology, and humanity.

Visitors can indulge in interactive exhibits, attend workshops and conferences, and savor awe-inspiring views of the river.

The museum’s architecture, designed by the Austrian firm Coop Himmelb(l)au, is a work of art in itself, and it’s a must-see for architecture and design enthusiasts.

Source: Andreabaschang, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

5.Musée Cinéma et Miniature

Musée Cinéma et Miniature is a unique museum located in Lyon’s historic old town, dedicated to cinema and miniature models.

The museum boasts a vast collection of miniature models, ranging from movie props to miniature sculptures, and an extensive collection of cinema-related objects, including posters, costumes, and cameras.

Visitors can also indulge in interactive exhibits, such as creating their own special effects or posing with movie props.

The museum’s highlight is its miniature models, which are meticulously crafted and incredibly detailed, allowing visitors to experience a world of tiny wonders.

Source: Micka13, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

6.Teatro Galo-Romano

Teatro Galo-Romano is an ancient Roman amphitheater located in Fourvière Hill, Lyon.

The theater dates back to the first century and is one of Lyon’s most remarkable ancient sites.

The theater’s unique location offers stunning views of Lyon, and visitors can explore the ruins and learn about the theater’s history.

The theater also hosts several events and performances throughout the year, making it an excellent spot to experience the city’s cultural offerings.

Source: B.KERR, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

7.Place Bellecour

Place Bellecour is a large square located in the heart of Lyon, measuring 62,000 square meters.

The square is among the largest public squares in Europe and is surrounded by stunning architecture, shops, and restaurants.

Visitors can enjoy a stroll around the square, take in the panoramic views of the city, or indulge in some shopping or dining.

Place Bellecour is also home to several notable landmarks, such as the equestrian statue of Louis XIV and the Fontaine de la Place Bellecour.

Source: Stefan2901 Stefan Schäfer, Lich, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

8.Museum of Fine Arts of Lyon

The Museum of Fine Arts of Lyon is a must-visit attraction for art lovers, boasting a collection of over 70,000 works of art from the Middle Ages to contemporary times.

The museum’s collection is diverse and features works by world-renowned artists such as Monet, Van Gogh, and Picasso.

Visitors can explore the museum’s various galleries, including painting, sculpture, and decorative arts.

The museum also hosts several temporary exhibitions throughout the year, offering a dynamic and engaging experience for visitors.

Source: Limfjord69, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

9.Vieux Lyon

Vieux Lyon, also known as Old Lyon, is Lyon’s historic old town, located on the west bank of the Saône River.

The area boasts a wealth of historic landmarks, such as the Cathédrale Saint-Jean-Baptiste and the Musée Gadagne, along with several restaurants, shops, and galleries.

Visitors can explore the old town’s charming cobblestone streets, take in the stunning architecture, or indulge in some traditional Lyonese cuisine.

Vieux Lyon is also home to Lyon’s famous Traboules, secret passageways that allow visitors to navigate through the city’s historic buildings.

Source: Schölla Schwarz, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

10.MAM – Musée des Arts de la Marionnette

MAM – Musée des Arts de la Marionnette is a unique museum dedicated to the art of puppetry, located in Lyon’s historic old town.

The museum boasts a vast collection of puppets and marionettes from around the world, along with exhibits on the history and art of puppetry.

Visitors can attend puppet shows, workshops, and demonstrations, or explore the museum’s interactive exhibits.

The museum’s highlight is its collection of Guignol puppets, a famous character from Lyon’s traditional puppet shows.

Source: Flickr

11.Musée Lumière

Musée Lumière is a museum dedicated to the history of cinema, located in the former home of Auguste and Louis Lumière, two of the pioneers of cinema.

The museum boasts a collection of historic film cameras, projectors, and film posters, along with interactive exhibits and screenings.

Visitors can explore the Lumière brothers’ history and legacy, learn about the evolution of cinema, and even try their hand at making their own movies.

Source: Matt Neale from UK, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

12.La Croix-Rousse

La Croix-Rousse is a neighborhood located on a hill overlooking Lyon, renowned for its history in silk weaving and printing.

The area boasts a wealth of historical landmarks, such as the Maison des Canuts, along with several shops, cafes, and galleries.

Visitors can explore the neighborhood’s winding streets, take in the stunning views of the city, or visit one of the local silk workshops to learn about the area’s history in the silk industry.

La Croix-Rousse is also home to several vibrant markets, such as the Marché de la Croix-Rousse, where visitors can browse for local produce, crafts, and textiles.

Source: Pline, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

13.Chocolatier Sève

Chocolatier Sève is a renowned chocolate shop and patisserie located in Lyon.

The shop’s founder, Richard Sève, is a world-renowned chocolatier and pastry chef, known for his innovative and high-quality creations.

Visitors can browse the shop’s stunning selection of chocolates, pastries, and macarons, or indulge in one of the shop’s famous chocolate desserts.

Chocolatier Sève is a must-visit for foodies and chocolate lovers alike.

14.Le Poêlon d’Or

Le Poêlon d’Or is a traditional Lyonnais bouchon, a type of restaurant that serves hearty and rustic cuisine.

The restaurant is located in Lyon’s historic old town and boasts a warm and inviting atmosphere, along with a menu of classic Lyonese dishes, such as quenelles and coq au vin.

Visitors can sample some of Lyon’s most famous dishes, paired with a glass of local wine, or indulge in one of the restaurant’s delicious desserts.

15.Gallo-Roman Museum of Lyon-Fourvière

The Gallo-Roman Museum of Lyon-Fourvière is a fascinating museum dedicated to Lyon’s ancient Roman history.

The museum boasts a collection of artifacts and exhibits, showcasing Lyon’s rich Roman heritage and history.

Visitors can explore the museum’s various galleries, including exhibits on Roman art, architecture, and daily life, or take a guided tour to learn more about the area’s history.

The museum is located on Fourvière Hill, offering stunning views of the city below.

Source: Jean-Christophe BENOIST, CC BY 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons


Lyon is a city that offers a wealth of attractions and activities for visitors to enjoy.

From its rich history and culture to its stunning architecture and gastronomy, Lyon is a must-visit destination for anyone traveling to France.

Whether you’re interested in exploring Lyon’s ancient Roman past or indulging in some of the city’s famous cuisine, there is something for everyone in Lyon.




Frequently Ask Questions

Lyon is famous for its rich history and culture, stunning architecture, and world-renowned cuisine, such as Lyonese sausages, quenelles, and praline tarts.

Some of the must-visit attractions in Lyon include La Basilique Notre Dame de Fourvière, Parc de la Tête d’Or, Cathédrale Saint-Jean-Baptiste, Museum of Fine Arts of Lyon, and Vieux Lyon.

Lyon’s cuisine is known for its hearty and rustic dishes, such as Lyonese sausages, quenelles, and coq au vin, along with its famous desserts, such as praline tarts and coussin de Lyon.

Lyon is generally a safe city for tourists, but visitors should exercise caution and take usual safety precautions, such as avoiding unlit areas at night and keeping an eye on their belongings in crowded areas.

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