As you might have seen, we’ve been surprising WeSwappers with hand-delivered gifts all around the world this summer. Something that’s only possible because our community is growing.
Connecting us travellers makes everything easier: Our travel money gets cheaper, our holiday experiences get richer, and our travels more relaxed. Simple really.
Our People Powered Surprises campaign arrived in beautiful Lyon recently, and it was WeSwapper Liam (me) who met fellow traveller Phil armed with a note from us and some great travel tips…
— WeSwap (@WeAreWeSwap) July 1, 2016
Straight after our meeting, Phil headed north for Paris in his camper van, so this Lyon account comes exclusively from yours truly. Although I should say, I got lots of great tips and insights from my colleague Jeremy before heading off.
These are five easy things everyone should remember – and do – in Lyon…
Use Boris Bikes
A really easy way to get around the place is by hiring a Velo’v (the original Boris Bike) which is free for the first 30 minutes and available from 105 different stations around Leon 24 hours-a-day. The Lyon bike tour (pictured) is rumoured to be excellent.
Visit Place Bellecour
The equestrian statue of King Louis XIV in the middle of Place Bellecour in Lyon, appears to be looking at the distant Basilica of Notre-Dame de Fourvière. This was shot during a gloomy winter morning last January. #lyon #onlylyon #lyoncity #placebellecour #bellecour #fourviere #wanderlust #wanderer #igerslyon #instafrance #traveltheworld #seetheworld #exploretheworld #exploreeverything #mytravelgram #travelfrance #visitfrance #exploretheworld #worldtraveler #globetrotter #instapassport #mycapture #fodorsonthego #france_vacations #traversefrance #instalyon #ilovelyon #villedelyon #topfrancephoto #monlyon #visitlafrance
The town’s main square is vast and surrounded by stunning architecture. The square’s main attraction is the giant statue of Louis XIV. I spent a Saturday morning here and it was eerily quiet pre 9am. Lyon wakes up late so if you prefer to wander around in solitude get up early.
Check out Rue Merciere and grab a bite somewhere that offers ‘Boucon’, the traditional Lyonnaise cuisine. It’s touristy but the food makes up for it! Lyon is allegedly the birthplace of gastronomy. If you’re into more unusual dishes this is also the place to come. Don’t ask too many questions, just do it!
Visit the Old Town
The Old City Centre is home to some fantastic architecture – have an afternoon walk in this chilled out area and check out the beautiful buildings. Get lost in amongst the winding cobbled streets. Stop for coffee, or have a beer. Great people watching. Relaxing.
Look out for Traboules
While you’re in the Old City, particularly in the Vieux-Lyon and Croix-Rousse areas, make sure you look out for ‘Traboules’ – secret passageways of the old silk workers of Lyonn that can now be explored by the public!
Take the funicular, visit the Basilica!
Basilique Notre Dame Fourvière, Lyon, France. Friday 14 October 2005. #basiliquenotredame #basiliquenotredamedefourviere #basilicaofnotredamedefourvière #basilicaofnotredame #lyon #lyonfrance #france #basilica #basilique #romanesque #byzantine #architecturephotography #architecture #pierrebossan #fourviere #fourvierehill
Take the funicular (Line 2) up Fourvière Hill. You get a fantastic view over the city and there is both the Basilica of Notre-Dame de Fourvière and Cathedral to check out…although if you were to pick one, definitely visit the Basilica…absolutely stunning inside!
Go to one of Europe’s only free zoos. It’s got lions and everything.
To get back in touch with nature, head to the Parc de la Tête d’Or – it’s one of the only free park/zoo/botanical gardens in Europe…and bring some lunch – it’s a great place to have a picnic in the sunshine!
My verdict: An excellent city break destination – any longer than two-three days you might struggle. Unless you’re happy just lazing around in cafe bars down beautiful cobbled side-roads that is!
Value for money: It’s good value as many of the attractions are free and the prices are generally not extortionate. Cheaper than say Paris, London, Amsterdam or Madrid, more expensive than Marseille and most places in Eastern Europe.
Top tip: This is a boring one but careful getting a cab from the airport into Lyon. Mine – straight into the city centre, no traffic – cost €76. Ouch, should have got the bus.