Lyon Travel Guide

France  
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Best Things To Do in Lyon

Whether it's meandering the renaissance streets of Vieux Lyon or touring the expansive Musée des Beaux Arts, visitors will find an array of things to do in Lyon. Along with the fine arts, there are museums dedicated to miniatures and movies (Musée Miniature et Cinema) and world cultures (Musée des Confluences), among other cultural institutions. Lyon is also home to several awe-inspiring churches to explore, such as the Basilique Notre Dame de Fourvière, and places that will take you back centuries, such as the Theatres Romains de Fourvière.

How we rank Things to Do

Updated March 28, 2019

  • #1
    Theatres Romains de Fourvière
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    #1 in Lyon
    Sightseeing, Free
    TYPE
    Less than 1 hour
    TIME TO SPEND
    Sightseeing, Free
    TYPE
    Less than 1 hour
    TIME TO SPEND

    Built in 15 B.C., the Theatres Romains de Fourvière are the ruins of three ancient Roman sites, including a theater, a smaller theater and a temple located on the hill of Fourvière. It's also the site of the ambient Nuits de Fourvière, an annual performing arts festival that takes place during June and July. 

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  • #2
    Basilique Notre-Dame de Fourvière
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    #2 in Lyon
    Churches/Religious Sites, Free
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND
    Churches/Religious Sites, Free
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND

    The Basilique Notre-Dame de Fourvière crowns Lyon from its perch on Fourvière hill, which is also known as "the praying hill." It was built in the late 19th century by architect Pierre Bossan, who incorporated neo-Byzantine styles in the design. Inside, visitors will find awe-inspiring mosaics on the walls, richly colored stained glass, gilt sculptures and a crypt. Gardens, also designed by Bossan, surround the basilica.

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  • #3
    Vieux Lyon
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    #3 in Lyon
    Sightseeing, Free, Neighborhood/Area
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Sightseeing, Free, Neighborhood/Area
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    Vieux Lyon, or Old Lyon, is the city's renaissance district located in the 5th arrondissement. Here, visitors will find many attractions, such as the Place du Change, the former business square of the city, and Rue St-Jean, a popular place to walk – partly for its traboules (secret pathways and staircases that pass through buildings). It's believed that these passageways date back to the fourth century, when residents needed a way to get from their homes to the river (their source of fresh water) without having to weave through the town's winding streets. They were later used by the silk trade and then by the resistance during World War II. 

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  • #4
    Musée Miniature et Cinema
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    #4 in Lyon
    Museums
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND
    Museums
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND

    The Musée Miniature et Cinema (Museum of Miniature and Cinema) is really two museums in one. First, the museum contains the miniature scenes of artist Dan Ohlmann and the work of dozens of other miniature artists. It also holds hundreds of film set props, including the original costume from "Batman Forever" and a triceratops head from "Jurassic Park." 

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  • #5
    Musée des Beaux Arts
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    #5 in Lyon
    Museums
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Museums
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    More than 70 rooms filled with artwork, such as "Dancers on the Stage" by Edgar Degas and "La Tentation de saint Antoine" by Auguste Rodin, among other French and European masterpieces, fill the Musée des Beaux Arts. Works date from antiquity and include everything from paintings and sculpture to decorative arts. The Musée des Beaux Arts, which is housed in a 17th-century former Benedictine convent, is also accompanied by a large garden. 

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  • #6
    Les Halles de Lyon Paul Bocuse
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    #6 in Lyon
    Shopping, Sightseeing, Free
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND
    Shopping, Sightseeing, Free
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND

    Called a "heaven for foodies," Les Halles de Lyon Paul Bocuse is the city's premier indoor food market boasting nearly 50 vendors and several bars and restaurants. Here you'll find everything from fruits and vegetables to cheese, truffles, spices, flowers and everything in between. 

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  • #7
    Musée des Confluences
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    #7 in Lyon
    Museums
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND
    Museums
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND

    The Musée des Confluences, established in 2014, is one of Lyon's newest institutions set in the city's newest neighborhood. Lyon's natural history museum, it aims to tell the story of the world from origins to visions of eternity, from the viewpoint of many different cultures and even animals with the help of more than 2 million artifacts.

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  • Plum Lyon Teaching Kitchen
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    Tours
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Tours
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND

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  • Les Bateaux Lyonnais
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    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND

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  • Lyon Winetours
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    Tours, Wineries/Breweries
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Tours, Wineries/Breweries
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND

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