Leisure activities in Lyon
Updated last year

Lyon is one of France’s most famous cities. It is particularly famous for being the gastronomic capital of the country and is home to some of France’s most decorated and most famous chefs, including deceased Paul Bocuse. With a rich historical, architectural and cultural heritage, Lyon offers a whole host of ways to spend your leisure time. However, if you are still in search of adventure, the city is not only close to the mountains, but you can also drive to Switzerland or Italy for an exciting weekend away.

Exploring Lyon

If a local were to guide you through the city, they would probably start with beautiful Vieux Lyon, which is full of Renaissance architecture and historical interest. Get lost in the charming narrow streets as you visit the Gothic Cathedral of St Jean and numerous eclectic museums. Towards the south of Lyon, the former industrial neighbourhood of Confluence offers a different sense of the city. Completely transformed from a derelict district into a hub of restaurants, innovative architecture and fabulous museums. Lyon boasts numerous interesting neighbourhoods to discover, namely:

  • Gratte-Ciels

  • Part-Dieu

  • Perrache

  • Presqu'Ile

  • Croix-Rousse

  • La Cité Internationale

  • La Cité des étoiles

  • Vieux Lyon

Nature in Lyon

Lyon has managed to preserve, and even create many parks and green spaces, which offer the chance to relax, work out, or just get a breath of fresh air. Parks, gardens and riverbanks all await you in Lyon, with some of the most popular choices for outdoor leisure being the Tête d'Or, Les Hauteurs, Gerland and La Cerisaie.

If you are looking to explore outside the city, you will be glad to know that Lyon is often referred to as the 'Gateway to the Alps', making it a favourite destination for mountain lovers both for summer hikes and winter sports.

History and culture in Lyon

With a history stretching back over 2,000 years, Lyon will delight those in search of the past - and history isn't just found in Lyon's museums but on every street corner. For those in search of a little culture, start by visiting the Maison de la Danse, or indulge in performances at the Opéra de Lyon or the Orchestre National de Lyon. Cinema lovers should head to the Institut Lumière, and those interested in museums should check out the Musée des Beaux-Arts, the Sucrière, the Théâtre des Célestins and the Contemporary Art Museum.

Lyon also boasts a rich programme of annual events, with the main attractions including:

  • La Fête des Lumières in December

  • La Biennale d'Art Contemporain from September to January

  • La Biennale de la Danse in September

  • Les Nuits Sonores (which is an electronic music festival) in May

  • Le Festival Lumière (dedicated to cinema) in October

  • Le Festival des Nuits de Fourvière from June to July

  • Le Festival Jazz in Vienna in July

Gastronomy in Lyon

Lyon is synonymous with gastronomy. Specialities of the city include the rosette; the Lyon salad with poached egg; dumplings; Saint-Marcellin cheese and of course Beaujolais wine. The city is packed with Michelin Star restaurants and world-famous chefs, while also offering a range of more affordable alternatives.

Sports in Lyon

If you like to keep fit, you will have no trouble finding swimming pools, local parks, tennis courts and even ice rinks in the city, while Lyon also boasts a strong municipal sports infrastructure. Of course, if you prefer to watch rather than participate, football lovers should catch the local football team, Olympique Lyonnais, or opt for a rugby match - also a very popular sport in Lyon.

Useful links:

Only Lyon
Lyon Official Portal

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