City Guide: 48 hours in Lyon


France has some of the world’s most beautiful cities featuring a mix of stunning historical monuments and breathtaking natural beauty. While France’s capital is on everyone’s must-do list, its second largest city, Lyon, is also very captivating. Strategically situated at the confluence of the Rhône and Saône rivers, blessed with weather that stays pleasant even during the oppressive French summers, home to more restaurants per capita than anywhere else in France, and the birthplace of cinema, Lyon is an enigma that cannot be missed. Before you ponder about what to do in Lyon, here’s a quick and easy guide to spending 48 unforgettable hours in the culinary capital of France. 
Breakfast: Begin your exploration in the middle of the city with a hearty breakfast at Le Grand Café des Négociants. This 19th century opulent café will spoil you with the oven fresh breads, crumbly pastries, and Italian style espresso. Just grab a free newspaper and settle down to enjoy a delicious start to your day. 
 
Morning: Set out to explore the famous traboules of Lyon, an absolute must in every Lyon things to do list. These secret covered passageways were originally used by silk merchants to transport their goods and today serve to transport you back to the city’s beautiful past. The traboules are surrounded by private homes, hence visitors are advised to pass through the passages as quietly as they can. The sombre charm of the fascinating ancient passageways is best enjoyed in silence anyway.
 
Lunch: Lyon is home to 20 Michelin-starred restaurants. Little wonder then that the city is known as the gastronomic capital of the country. Head to La Mère Brazier, a two Michelin-star restaurant to tuck into a delicious menu that changes with the seasons so that you sample only the freshest and most delicious foods that reflect the imagination of its award-winning chef. 
 
Afternoon: Spend the afternoon exploring the crowning glory of Lyon, the Basilique Notre Dame de Fourvière. Consecrated in 1897, the basilica stands on top of Fourvière Hill, commanding fabulous views of the entire city. The incredible attention to detail of the breathtaking gilded interiors and the spectacular Byzantine and Romanesque architecture will mesmerise you all afternoon. 
 
Evening: Conclude your exploration of day one at Musée des beaux-arts de Lyon. Housed in a 17th century abbey, the Museum of Fine Arts of Lyon holds one of the largest collection of European art from various eras. Examine Egyptian relics including sarcophaguses and items of daily life of ancient Egypt, and admire awe-inspiring works of art by 19th century virtuosos, including Van Gogh, Renoir and Rodin. 
 
Dinner: Head to the bustling street of Rue Mercière for an overwhelming variety of dinner options. Lined with brightly lit restaurants on both sides of the street, this is a great place to indulge in authentic Lyonnaise fare at a delightful bouchon. 
 

Breakfast: Start your day amidst the cheerful chatter of over a hundred French farmers and locals and the intoxicating aromas of their wares at the Marche Quai Saint-Antoine market. Set on the banks of the Saône and open as early as six in the morning, the market provides the perfect opportunity to begin your day with farm fresh produce, oven fresh cakes, the finest variety of French cheese and charcuterie, and other delectable gourmet foods. 
 
Morning: If you’re a movie fan, you have Lyon to thank. The city is the home of Auguste and Louis Lumière, the inventors of cinematography and also the makers of the world’s first motion picture. Musée Lumière is the former abode of the brothers and a worthy tribute to the architects of modern cinema. From articles from the Lumière brothers’ everyday life to a 3D movie projector from 1903, every moment spent at the museum promises to be entertaining. 
 
Lunch: For lunch, make your way to another local favourite, the Les Halles de Lyon Paul Bocuse market. Named after the famous French chef of Lyon, Paul Bocuse, this three-storied covered market offers everything from gastronomical delights to Lyonnaise cooking workshops.


Afternoon – Evening: 
Keep your cameras ready because today you are going to visit one of the prettiest medieval villages of Europe – Pérouges. Take a train or a taxi to arrive at this scenic fortified hamlet, situated on top of a small hill. Roam around its handsome cobbled alleyways and marvel at the remarkable medieval fortress-esque structures that make you think a knight in full armour is going to come riding around the corner at any moment. Don’t forget to stop at one of the many quaint cafés to sample la galette, a melt-in-the-mouth Pérouges speciality. 

Dinner: Conclude your final day in the beautiful epicurean centre with an indulgent dinner at the three Michelin-star Paul Bocuse Restaurant. As the name suggests, the restaurant was founded by the legendary chef and master of ‘nouvella cuisine’, and serves a delectable variety of dishes perfected by the artists trained at the school of Paul Bocuse. Sea bass stuffed in puff pastry shell, truffle soup, lobster salad ‘à la française‘ and Bresse chicken truffled cooked in a bladder, fine French cuisine doesn’t get better than this. Complementing the delicious fare is the tasteful albeit quirky décor that gives you the feeling of dining within a Baroque theatre set. 

 

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