With a population of around half a million people, Lyon is the third-largest city in France. Like most of France, Lyon is famous for its cuisine, architecture, and history, but it is perhaps most famous for the role it played in the early days of cinema. So if you’re looking for a short trip filled with class and culture, you need look no further than Lyon.
Run by three young chefs who are already making major waves on the cuisine scene, La Bijouterie is one of Lyon’s top restaurants and the perfect place to visit if you want to taste modern French cooking. The restaurant has a set lunch menu for €16, which will buy you two mains, a soup, and a portion of rice. Their evening menu costs €49, but consists of 7 of their top dishes, making this a great deal for those who truly appreciate fine French cooking.
Parc de la Tête d’Or
At 117 hectares (290 acres), Parc de la Tête d’Or is the largest urban park in France. While you might expect such a park to be filled with the famous French-style gardens, it was actually designed in the style of an English garden. The park has been open since 1857, and is one of the most popular parks in the country. As well as a large lake and a beautifully impressive botanical centre, the park features a small zoo for endangered species, such as giraffes, lions, antelopes, and crocodiles. While there, you can ride ponies, rowboats, or a small train that carries visitors around the park.
Musée Miniature et Cinéma
Describing itself as one museum with two passions, the Musée Miniature et Cinéma combines the history of special effects in cinema with the art of miniature models. In terms of miniatures, this museum houses the largest collection in France, with dozens of astoundingly intricate scenes on display, some of which took over a year to make. While most of these were made by the museum’s founder, Dan Ohlmann, the museum is also home to the suit from “Batman Forever”, the sick Triceratops from Jurassic Park, and some of your favorite childhood toys, such as Chucky, and Gizmo from Gremlins. With tickets costing just €9 or less, this is definitely a site to be seen.
Les Trois Dômes
There is a famous legend that famed writer Guy de Maupassant hated the Eiffel Tower so much that he used to eat lunch there every day, just so he couldn’t see it. If Guy had lived in Lyon, he probably would have eaten in the Sofitel. Commonly referred to as the ugliest building in a city of beautiful architecture, there are two main reasons to stop by the Sofitel: it has the best views of Lyon, and one of the best restaurants, Les Trois Dômes. The menu is wide-ranging and filled with choice, from the more expensive options like lobster and crayfish, to the more affordable but delicious chicken and lamb dishes. A set lunch menu will cost about €36, while a set dinner will be around €81. It’s not the cheapest place in Lyon, but if you’re looking for a romantic evening or just a nice night out, this is the place to go.
Lyon may not be the first stop for every France-faring tourist, but if you can avoid the temptation to stick with Paris like everyone else, you will be greatly rewarded. The items listed here are some of the must-see spots for a short weekend trip, but with so much to do, see and taste in Lyon, you may find yourself booking another flight on Monday morning.