Lyon: Two Hours in France’s Most Liveable City & World’s Capital of Gastronomy

Lyon - Basilique de Fourvieres 01In 2016, Lyon was France’s #1 city in the worldwide Global Liveability Ranking.  But how is it from a tourist point of view?

Not too far from the South of France, from the Alps and Paris with the high-speed train, it seems like a great starting point to explore France. Also, it has been known as the World’s Capital of Gastronomy for almost one century. It’s located in the Rhone Valley, a region reputed for its wine. It sounds like a great combination, doesn’t it?

If you have the opportunity to spend a weekend in Lyon, go for it. I wish I had more time!

I only had a couple of hours to explore the inner-city, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It’s never enough to visit a place, but that’s sometimes all you have available because of other life commitments. Still, I’m glad I took the opportunity to have a quick look around, so I know it’s worth going back.

What can you see in two hours in Lyon?

We arrived by train at Pardieu station. From the start, we could see the Basilique de Fourviere that dominates the city perched on its hill. We walked around town with the objective to reach it. Like so many European cities, it’s full of beautiful buildings that could all be considered as monuments. No doubt why it is listed as a UNESCO site. We went to Place Bellecour, the Bonaparte bridge and finally arrived in the Vieux Lyon, at the bottom of the hill we were aiming for.

Lyon - Cathedral Saint Jean  
Lyon -Saint George Church

Vieux Lyon - Bouchons

The Vieux Lyon is the best place to experience the local cuisine in small restaurants locally called “Bouchons”. We had fun going through a few “traboules”, pushing doors to find secret passages leading to a maze from one street to another.


If you are in Lyon for longer than two hours, you may be interested in joining a food tour. Click here for more info*


Lyon - Traboule entrance
Lyon - Traboule

Lyon - Traboule 

We took the funicular, an old inclined railway from the 1850s, to climb to the impressive basilica. The view from up there is unbeatable. It was perfect to realise the potential of a longer visit, but mine had to come to an end already.

Lyon - View from Fourviere
Vieux Lyon - Fourviere Funicular

Lyon - panoramic view


Have you been to Lyon? Share your recommendations in the comments below!


Planning a trip to Lyon?

If you’re looking for a romantic, luxurious escape, have a look at accommodations in Le Vieux Lyon. If you’re after a cheaper option in a lively area, I recommend booking in the Presqu’ile côté Terreaux / Pentes de la Croix Rousse. Click here to view hotels in Lyon* [/junkie-button]


Where is Lyon?


Lyon is in the south-east of France, not too far from the Alps and not too far from the Mediterranean coast. There’s a hi-speed train going from Paris to Lyon in only two hours.

The region around Lyon, the Rhone Valley, is famous for its wineries. A visit outside the city is also an opportunity to see some typical villages. Wine lovers can join a tour from Lyon* (and enjoy the wines – no need to drive!) or, if you are limited by time, join a wine tasting class in the heart of the city*.


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Visit Lyon in two hours

*These are affiliate links: I will receive a commission if you make a booking or purchase a product using this link but this does not affect the price you pay. This will help me maintain this website.  






Lyon: Two Hours in France’s Most Liveable City & World’s Capital of Gastronomy was last modified: February 3rd, 2018 by Eloise

I am a part-time traveller: I combine a full-time job with a passion for travelling. I love to share my trips and tips to inspire others to explore what’s around them. Before moving to Australia, I lived in France, England and Turkey. I’ve finally found my balance in Brisbane.

10 thoughts on “Lyon: Two Hours in France’s Most Liveable City & World’s Capital of Gastronomy

  1. Wow the scenery from the top is amazing. I can totally see and feel why it’s one of the most livable places in France. The architecture is simply splendid too!

    1. On top of looking good, having a good climate and being not too far from the ocean and the mountains, it’s also an economically alive place where a few big companies are established. I’m sure it’s not perfect everywhere there, but it does sound very good!

  2. I’ve never been to Lyon but would love to visit now. The world capitol of gastronomy sounds like my kind of place ;). The photos of the city streets look like fun, it seems like you could spend days exploring those little traboules and trying all of the food. The architecture looks gorgeous as well.

    1. Hi, Rhonda. Yes, I’m sure a couple of days in Lyon would be perfect. I can’t believe I didn’t get a chance to try the food in the capital of gastronomy. At least, I have an excellent excuse to go back :)

    1. You’re right, Carolina. It can make a great day trip from Paris. There are regular trains even late in the evening so you could even have a bit longer than four hours :)

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