Hotels in Lyon, France
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Lyon: History Meets the Contemporary
Founded more than 2,000 years ago by the Romans, Lyon is a historical hub that boasts a wealth of outstanding museums and awe-inspiring landmarks. Mixed together with features such as a vibrant nightlife scene, fantastic shopping opportunities, sophisticated hotels, major festivals, and an international airport, and it is no surprise that France’s third biggest city is a popular destination for all kinds of travellers across the world. So from exploring the architectural wonder of the Hotel de Ville to climbing Fourviere Hill for glorious views of the city, there are many enticements when in Lyon!
The Districts of Lyon
Lyon is split up into nine districts – known locally as ‘arrondissements’ – which are distinct in what they offer. The fist arrondissement is known for its lively bars and pubs, along with attractions such as the Opera National de Lyon and Eglise Saint Nizier. The second district is in the heart of the city, and supplies many shops and things to do. The third area houses Europe’s largest downtown shopping centre, while the fourth district is well-known for its market, alleyways and silk history. Speaking of history, the fifth arrondissement contains the areas that come under the ‘Old Lyon’ tagline, and this historic centre of the city also boasts traces of its Roman past. The sixth area is known as the ‘chic’ district of Lyon, and the seventh is the largest and known for its universities, live shows and pleasant walking spaces. The eighth and ninth arrondissements are residential and business districts for the most part.
With a great mix of historical sites and activities, you will never be short of things to do when visiting Lyon. One of the most famous is the Basilique Notre Dame de Fourviere. Sitting atop Fourviere Hill – a highly rated attraction by itself – this 19th century basilica has stunning interior and exterior design that needs to be admired if travelling to the city. Museums like the Musee Miniature et Cinema, Musee des Beaux-Arts and Musee des Confluences are all highly recommended, while the Vieux Lyon district – with its traditional French atmosphere and old-fashioned buildings – is another top pick with history enthusiasts. Oh, and don’t forget the Theatres Romains de Fourviere – a remnant of Lyon’s Roman past and dating back to over 2,000 years ago. For a change of pace, the Parc de la Tete d'Or is arguably the best family-friendly attraction in the city. This expansive park not only has a lake, scenic walking paths and beautiful rose garden, but it also comprises the Zoo de Lyon – a charming zoo where you can discover an array of animals and endangered species.
With an abundance of boutique retailers and large shopping centres, it is little wonder that Lyon is regarded as a shopping wonderland. The upmarket Rue du Président Herriot has a large selection of independent stores situated within stylish 19th century buildings, while well-known high street establishments can be found in the popular area of Presqu'île. As far as a centralised place for shopping goes, Lyon features La Part Dieu. With approximately 300 shops and bringing in over 50 million visitors a year, the La Part Dieu is known as the biggest downtown shopping centre that Europe has to offer. If you are fortunate enough to be staying when it’s on, the Les Puces du Canal is a market that is well worth checking out. Recognised as France’s second largest flea market, more than 400 exhibitors sell everything from antiques to gourmet food. And with regards to food, the Les Halles de Lyon Paul Bocuse – a famous indoor food market with dozens of stalls – is the place to go for some local, gourmet delights.
Before you book your hotel and plan a trip to Lyon, you should to see which festivals that are taking place. This is because the city is home to a number of major events that are an annual fixture on the calendar. One of the most famous is the Festival of Lights. Traditionally beginning on December 8 and spread across a number of days, this festival – which origins date back to 1643 – is a spectacular celebration that is based around thousands of illuminations that adorn the streets and winter sky. Another well-known event is the Les Nuits de Fourvière, which is an extended summer celebration that sees an assortment of musical and theatre acts take to the city’s Roman stages. Speaking of music, May’s Nuits Sonores is a popular festival amongst electronic music enthusiasts. And a staple of Lyon, the family-friendly Biennial Dance Festival in September, is an event that sees the area transformed into a dancing mecca.