Lyon is known as France’s second city, but for so many reasons, I believe it is a far superior destination than France’s capital city. Wandering through the tree-lined streets, visiting the beautiful cathedrals, sitting in an outdoor cafe with a coffee or a glass of wine, and strolling through the market stalls along the river, will make you feel as though you are in Paris. However, Lyon is so much more inviting, and surpasses Paris in so many ways.
Lyon located in the central-eastern part of France, sits at the confluence of the Saone and Rhone rivers. Parts of the city are registered as a UNESCO Heritage Site.
The Romans settled here in 43 BC, and the ruins throughout the city are astonishing to witness. The Roman theater in the Fourvière district is an amazing place to visit; climbing around on the ancient steps is surreal. You will find some expansive views of the city from here. I find it completely amazing that the theater was modified over the years to include 10,000 seats!
You will find many other Roman ruins as you wander through the city.
Cathedral Saint-Jean-Baptiste, located in Vieux-Lyon, is a beautiful place to visit. We attended a service here and were blown away by the acoustics.
La Basilique Notre Dame de Fourviere is another beautiful church to see. Construction began in 1872 with private funds, and was finished in 1884. It is situated at the top of Fourviére hill, and appears to be keeping a watchful eye over the city.
The Gallo-Roman Museum of Lyon-Fourviere is another interesting place to visit, and has a good collection of Roman items, including currency, jewelry, ceramics and much more.
On February 18, 1944. Bernard Guy, a sergeant with the FFI (an independent group working to free France from the Nazis) was killed by the enemy. This remaining building is a tribute to his bravery.
Et, bien sur, the food is amazing. Lyon is a top destination for foodies. There are many fabulous restaurants, cafes and bars. Check out a food tour for a helpful introduction to the food scene in Lyon.
This was the dessert I had at one of the many restaurants we visited while in Lyon.
With all of this swooning about Lyon, I hope you now believe, as I do, that it is a far superior city to Paris; however, the piece de resistance comes down to the people. The people of Lyon make it a wonderful place to visit. They are friendly, welcoming and helpful. The city feels so much more welcoming than Paris.
On our last day, as our train pulled out of Lyon Part Dieu heading for Paris, and the long trip back home, I promised myself that I would return one day, and stay for a much longer time.