A number of cities can lay claim to being gastronomic capital of France, but Lyon’s is perhaps better than most. The capital of the Rhône-Alpes region is home to some 4,000 or so restaurants, and 15 Michelin stars, including such luminaries as Paul Bocuse. There’s plenty of great food and wine on offer and thankfully not all of it will cost a jambe and a bras.
A great deal of money has been ploughed into regenerating the city over the past decade or so, no more so than in the former docklands at La Confluence (the meeting of the Saône and Rhône rivers), bringing a more modern feel to the former ancient capital of Gaul, more readily noted for France’s largest UNESCO World Heritage listed old town.
A centre for the French resistance during the war, you can still explore the ‘traboules’ (the network of secret merchants’ passages that operated as hiding places and escape routes from the Nazis). They work as a good metaphor for the city itself - while the tourist office offers a map, and of course an iPhone app, perhaps it’s more fun just walking the streets of Vieux Lyon and trying a door - you’ll never know what you’ll find behind, and that’s the real joy of the city.
Department - Rhône
Population - 500,000
Average June temperature - 19.3 C
All fixtures local time (BST +1 hour).
Monday 13 June, 21.00: Belgium v Italy – Group E
Thursday 16 June, 18.00: Ukraine v Northern Ireland – Group C
Sunday 19 June, 21.00: Romania v Albania – Group A
Wednesday 22 June, 18.00: Hungary v Portugal – Group F
Round of 16
Sunday 26 June, 15.00 (Lyon): Winner A v Third-place C/D/E
Wednesday 6 July, 21.00 (Lyon): Winner QF1 v Winner QF2
Lyon’s Saint Exupery Airport will be the first port of call for many fans arriving in Lyon. It’s located around 25km east of the city, and is served by a growing range of airlines and destinations.
From the UK and Ireland
Aer Lingus - Dublin
British Airways - London Heathrow
Easyjet - Edinburgh, London Gatwick, London Luton, (seasonal from Bristol, London Southend, Manchester)
Flybe - Birmingham (seasonal from Southampton)
Jet2 - Seasonal from Manchester
Monarch - Seasonal from London Gatwick and Manchester
Hop! (Air France’s low cost carrier) offer connections to other host cities including Bordeaux, Lille, Marseille, Nice and Paris (Orly), while Air France also fly to both Paris airports.
To get from the airport to the city there’s a direct tram called RhôneExpress, which departs every 15 to 30 minutes between 6am and 9pm. It’s seemingly aimed squarely at business travellers, however, with rates comparable with the Gatwick and Heathrow Express - €15.80 for a single journey, and €27.40 for a return. If you buy onboard, rather than beforehand, the price jumps an extra Euro.
The tram also intersects with the city’s metro line at its second stop - Vaulx-en-Velin La Soie. If you are staying anywhere on Line A then you should change here.
The journey to town takes around 30 minutes, and lands you at Part-Dieu train station.
A taxi from the airport to the city centre would set you back around €40-50, so if there’s a group of 4 of you there’s a saving to be had.
Lyon is served by two mainline stations - Gare Perrache is in city centre next to Place Bellecour and is the historical terminus. It is served by TGV trains from Paris, as well as a few intercité (Bordeaux and Nantes) and regional trains. It is no longer the main route into the city, however, and most travellers will arrive at the newer Gare Part-Dieu.
Part-Dieu opened in the late 70s, and is served not only by all TGV services to the city, but local services as well as the Metro Line B, Trams T1, T3 and T4 and the RhôneExpress service from Saint Exupery airport.
It is the busiest hub of the city, and connects with destinations including other host cities such as Paris, Marseille, St Etienne, Nice, Lille and Bordeaux, as well as other major French cities including Montpellier, Perpignan, Rouen, Strasbourg, Nantes, Rennes, Avignon and Aix-en-Provence.
It also hosts international services to the likes of Barcelona, Brussels, Geneva and Frankfurt.
Lyon is handily placed as hub for central and southern France, and is well served by motorways from all directions.
Principally, it can be reached by using the A6 from Paris in the north, the A7 from Marseille and Nice (and Italy and Spain) to the south, the A43 from Grenoble and the Alps to the east, and from the west by the A47, linking the city with St Etienne, Clermont Ferrand and the centre of France.
There’s also a link to the northeast via the A42, which will connect you to Bourg-en-Bresse, Geneva and Germany.