An amazing city which for a long time was a place I passed though on route to the South of France so only seen as a pit stop for food and drinks or a place to get through before rush hour – but now I have discovered the wonders of this amazing place and can say it has become a favourite.
Lyon is situated in east-central France in the Rhône-Alpes region, situated between Paris and Marseille. The city is known for its historical and architectural landmarks and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Lyon was historically known as an important area for the production and weaving of silk and in modern times has developed a reputation as the capital of gastronomy in France. It has a significant role in the history of cinema due to Auguste and Louis Lumière who invented the cinematographe in Lyon. The city is also known for its famous light festival 'Fete des Lumieres' which occurs every 8 December and lasts for four days, that earned Lyon the title of Capital of Lights (not to be mixed up with Paris the city of light). The legend says that the Virgin Mary saved the city from the plague, and to thank her a statue was built and on the day it was erected the whole city was lit by candles that its citizens put at their windows.
I love Lyon for the wide river which travels through the city and the amazing architecture, plus it’s a city you can do lots by foot which makes it easy to see lots I visited two quite distinct areas Croix-Rousse and then Bellecourt, the town square on the peninsula.
I highly recommend the following places:
Galerie le Réverbère www.galerielereverbere.com
This seems apt considering the history of Lyon- this contemporary photography gallery is on rue Burdeau it is located at the bottom of the slopes of La Croix-Rousse– rue Burdeau is home to art galleries of all description, specialising in anything from painting to illustration and sculpture. The artist workshops based in the street have come together to form their own artistic association.
Librairie Grand-Guignol librairie-grandguignol.blogspot.co.uk
One of the other things about Lyon is it has a great selection of independent book shops – this is a book and record shop. The eclectic mix on offer includes Swiss punk, poetry and science fiction, American and European literature, magazines and vinyl. The place hosts readings as well as concerts and dance shows, in keeping with its hybrid nature.
If you have a deep love of chocolate or a sweet tooth then this a place to visit, a wall of liquid chocolate greets you as you enter, and a truly encyclopaedic range of chocolate bars are stacked like books in a library. The shop is owned by Sébastien Bouille, Bouillet's famous pâtisserie is only a short distance away on the Croix-Rousse plateau – just pure heaven for me.
Café de la Cloche www.cafe-de-la-cloche.org
Is the perfect place to eat – though having said that all the restaurants are excellent – this is located in Bellecourt – it has a real old fashioned French café appeal which drew me in and was founded by a retired professor of philosophy at the nearby Lyon 3 university.
I highly recommend Eurostar www.eurostar.com for the journey as you can go from London through Paris and on the high speed train – the whole journey is approximately 6 hours with one change in Paris – you pass through some breath-taking scenery and of course with Eurostar you can pick which type of ticket you want – plus they have great guide section on the site packed with ideas for shopping etc uk.eurostar.com
I stayed at the Grand Hotel de la Paix www.hotel-lyon-france.com – which is very centrally located for the shops, sites and it’s lovely hotel it has 41 rooms and all the rooms have flat-screen TVs and free wireless, plus all the usual amenities – there is a breakfast room but to be honest as the city is packed with fabulous café’s and restaurant’s it is easier to just dress and hit the pavement and do some people watching.