Top 25 things to do for free in Lyon
So as I promised I am going to share with you The Things You Can Do for Free In Lyon. If you are really tight on the budget but still love to travel and explore new places, why not checking this list, packing a bag and coming over to experience France and Lyon (almost) completely for FREE. Almost …as I do realize you need to pay for the transport and accommodation, but this also can be well organized when you search for the best deals on the newly launch Eurostar service or cheap flights and here Easyjet seems to have the most European connections and good deals…For accommodation I always use booking.com but I am just about to explore the Night swapping offers for a cheaper and completely different experience. Anyway… coming back to Lyon and exploring this amazing city for Free. Check out the list below and get inspired…
25 FREE Things to Do In Lyon
- Go for a walk and chill out in the Parc de la Tete d’Or – the 105 hectares green area in the centre of Lyon. Its beautiful and unique each season of the year and you will be coming back to discover it again and again and you will not get bored.Its ideal for a date, family time together and socializing with friends…not to mention, it’s a great spot for a picnic.
- Admire the flowers and pants collection in the impressive Botanic Garden of theParc de laTete d’Or. There is a special part of the park with flowers gardens and indoors botanic spaces to admire local and exotic plants. All for Free.
- Go to the Free Lyon Zoon which is surprisingly located also in theParc de laTete d’Or. Yes, this park is huge! The zoo is pretty impressive. It has lions, giraffes, monkeys, crocodiles, pelicans, flamingos. The deers, ducks and emus are walking just next to you when you rest on one of the benches.
- Walk up to the Fourvière Hill for the amazing view. The climbing is a bit tiring and you can use the very famous Funicular and have other fun experience with the old style metro going up but you will pay the ticket fare for it. Anyway the climbing is worth doing as it takes you through the sensational views of Lyon’s cityscape and surrounding areas.
- Pray and appreciate the beauty of the Basilique Notre Dame de Fourviere. The Basilique is an impressive church which reaches to a height of 130 meters above the Saone River. It has been built in between 1872 to 1884 and it represents the Gothic and Byzantine styles. The services are impressive to attend, the richly decorated interior is impressive to admire.
Feel the amazing atmosphere of Old Lyon by visiting the Vieux Lyon district and getting to know the history of the silk production. Lyon witnessed strong development in textiles and was manufacturing it. Especially theVieux-Lyon district conserves the memory of this prosperous epoch. The boutiques displayed the silk textiles to be bought, theTraboules show the way people transported the precious material, the sellers will share with you some details of the production process if you ask kindly…
- Carry on exploring the silk history of Lyon by discovering the famous Traboules of Lyon. Once you started in the Old Lyon, you will continue in the CroixRousse. Colline de laCroix-Rousse was an important centre of weaving in the early19th-century. Followthe collection of ‘traboules’.There is a Special Route you can take to discover all yourself and without the need to pay the guide.
- Explore the Confluence district, the modern part of Lyonlocated in between theSaône and Rhône. Thanks to the latest investments, the Confluence is becoming one of the most sustainable and exemplary districts in Europe. It has impressive new buildings which you can admire and great view of the city which you can get in the Confluence shopping centre and at the terrace of the Confluence Museum.Its all for free as well
- Have a packed lunch in one of the best FREE picnic spots in Lyon. I would recommend the Parc de la Tete d’Or, lovely riversides of Saône and Rhône; the Fourvier Hill sitting on the benches next to the Basilique admiring the Lyon panorama or in the Gallo-Roman amphitheatre which you can access for free. You can also enjoy your lunch in the newly opened park of the Confluence Museum, in the Croix Rousse parks & its benches also display for you the Lyons panoramas, and so on…
Walk alongside the Rhône riverbanks, especially the left bank of the river which has undergone remarkable development. It has been redesigned over the five kilometres between Raymond Poincaré Bridge and the entrance to Gerland Park. Its nice, refreshing and relaxing walk which helps you feel the idea of the Lyon’s rivers which merger at the Confluence area.
- Learn about the history of Lyon by visiting the Gallo-Roman theatre. The city is believed to be founded on October 9, 43 B.C., by a Roman legate, on the Fourvière Hill. Therefore the Gallo-Roman theatre is the most visible remains of this historical heritage. You can access it for free, you can visit the museum and the good news is that on Thursdays it is Free for everyone!
- Visit the impressive churches of Lyon. Starting with the Basilique Notre-Dame de Fourvière, continue with Cathedral Saint Jean Baptiste which has an interesting astronomical clock and a remarkable “Anne-Marie de la Primatiale” bell – the largest ever made; the Abbaye Saint-Martin d’Ainay (the oldest church in Lyon) beautiful Saint-Georges withthe the 7-bell electric carillon, just to name main few important churches of Lyon.
- Do the FREE sightseeing and tick off all the most important monuments of Lyon! So here you are:
- The Place des Terreauxwith its stunning fountain by F.A. Bartholdi, Hôtel de Ville and Musée des Beaux Arts with its beautiful garden
- Place des Jacobins with its central impressive fountainby architect Gaspard André.
- Théâtre des Célestins the truly beautiful building with an Italian-style façade operating since 1877. Check out the interesting periscope located in the middle of the centre
- The famous shopping Rue de la République and impressive building of the Palais de la Bourse et du Commerce (build in the renaissance architectural style, in the 19th century)
- Eglise Saint-Bonaventure, a former Franciscan church
- The Presqu’ile district located between the Rhône and Saône Rivers with Lyons’s finest square – the Place Bellecour. Find the impressive statue of Louis XIV, admire the elegant 19th-century buildings lined around and have a look at the Hôtel-Dieu de Lyon
- The Place Carnot, the square located at the end of the Presqu’île, near the Perrache railway station, with the immense monument Allegory of the Republic
- The impressive building of the Opéra and the Place Tolozan with its bizarre yet interesting sculpture “L’Homme de la Liberté” by César.
- Go to admire the Brotteaux former train station , beautiful, historic monumentbuilt in the 1900
- Admire the FREE Street Art! I don’t think you will be able to see all, but make sure you find and admire the most famous fresques of Lyon. My favourite is the Fresque des Lyonnais ( Mural of Famous People from Lyon At the Quai Saint Vincen) and Le Mur Des Canuts.
- If you liked the Lyon’s frescoes you can carry on with discovering more of those in the Etats-Unis district. There are over 25 unique murals celebrating the works of this Lyon architect and town planner – Tony Garnier Urban. You can visit his open-air museum museum but there is a fee, you can stay in the neighbourhood’s 4,000 inhabitants which are also part of the exhibit in a way and display murals for free.
- Get a feel of Lyonnis Best Quality Foods and proof its reputation of the Capital of Gastronomy, visit Les Halles de Lyon Paul Bocuse (the covered marketplace with over 50 different shops and restaurants that offer the highest quality regionalproducts-charcuteries, local cheeses, fresh bread,escargots,quenelles, fruits, vegetables, pâtisserie, and chocolates)
- Discover food markets of Lyon with its top quality, fresh regional products. The most famous is the Saint-Antoine one located alongside the banks of the Saône near Place Bellecour. The Largest Food Market is located at Place de la Croix Rousse.
- Visit the ‘Outdoor Art Gallery’ for FREE. Go to the Marche de Creation; the Sunday market which attracts art lovers since 1979. There are over 150 artists registered who represent different ranges of the paintings, photography, crafts, sculptures and engravings.
- Have a walk down the Soane banks this time. In 2000 Lyon started huge urban projects to convert the banks of the two Lyon rivers from the parking and industry areas into long pedestrian/bikes and runners spaces with grass, trees and flowers. So now it’s the best place to chill out, have a beer and make barbecues or outdoor parties.
- Explore more Lyonnais Parcs with the most famous ones:
- Parc de Gerland,at the end of the Rhône banks promenade
- Parc des Hauteurs, place de Fourvière , located between the metal tower of Fourvière and the Loyasse cemetery
- St Jean archaeological garden, next to the St Jean cathedral
- Jardin Rosa Mir,in the Croix-Rousse
- Jardin des Curiositésat the Passage des Hauts de St Just; a small hidden garden in the bottom of a street/car park, behind a metallic door
- Confluence Museum Park, the green space which offers a unique view of the confluence.
- Garden of theMusée des Beaux Arts
- Take part in the FREE events in Lyon. You can find useful suggestions on the Lyon Crunch City website as well as MonWeekend a Lyon
- Take a Walk In the Dark Lyon is the Capital of Lights and it is simply gorgeous when night falls. The Light bounces off the rivers and illuminates 325 of the city’s monuments and sites.
- There are FREE to access and highly recommended to visit places outside the Lyon: the Parc Miribel (less than ten km outside the city and an easy bike ride) The ideal spot for the barbecue, cool off by the lake. And the amazing medieval village Perouges which is “Les Plus Beaux Villages de France” (The Most Beautiful Villages of France). The cheapest way to get there is to take 132 bus . The fare as little as 2 Euro.
- This is useful & important! Don’t pay for toilets! Find places where you can use them for FREE. This is a useful website if you want investigate beforehand. Otherwise, you will find the Free WC inBellecour andVieux Lyon by ONLYLYON!
- Have fun spotting the ODD ones:
- Le crayon: the tower of Part-Dieu which has 40 floors and measure 164,9m (129 Rue Servient, 69003 Lyon)
- Flower tree : an impressive sculpture with 85 flowers (place antonin poncet lyon)
- Cube vert : the headquarter of Euronews TV (Quai Rambaud, 69002 Lyon)
- Cité internationale: the mix of culture and tourism with offices, conference rooms, hotels, a casino, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Lyon, a cinema and an auditorium. There are six huge sculptures of 2.80m to 8m high, bright color (Quai Charles de Gaulle Lyon)
- Cube orange: the headquarters of the Cardinal group (46 Quai Rambaud)
Cool, isn’t it? Would you think you can get so much out of the wonderful Lyon and not spending a cent/penny? Well, this is how I started to fell in love with Lyon, for FREE …by taking the camera and walking through the city without map…getting lost on some occasion and ending up in the places which I liked a lot; asking Lyonnais people in English for directions and trying to understand their body language as I haven’t speak any French at all, getting exhausted as I lost my way back and resting for a picnic lunch in the beautiful and charming Lyon’s spots…Enjoy Lyon & France yourself For Free! It is possible and highly recommend…
By the way, did you know you can read, safe and use on the go this article and others when visiting different places? Well, there is such an application called with GPSCityMap which you can get for free here with my article. Happy travelling!