I get more and more questions about living in Lyon, moving to Lyon and visiting Lyon. Obviously, I’m not an expert and there is so much I don’t know and still need to learn for myself and therefore I search for information every day exploring the life in France. But having said so I have already experienced a bit here in France and at least I’m in a position to try to find out answers easier.
So, to make it easier for everyone and myself, I put together few top questions about living, moving and visiting Lyon – the famous FAQ I get from You. I tried my best to answer them but as I said I’m not an expert and I am still learning so if you have anything to add, share with me and others I would be very grateful. What is more, if you have other questions about Lyon why not asking here in the comments? And likewise, if you could help answering any question please leave a comment so people can appreciate your contribution and we can all enjoy our living, moving and visiting Lyon better! Thank you very much in advance!
Q: Where are the best places to live in Lyon?
A: It’s very hard to answer for anyone, even locals. I have been looking into this myself to find a good place to live in Lyon. Depending on your preferences you might like my choices or not. I have written about them here. Alternatively, have a look at the overall overview of Lyon districts and advantages of choosing some of them and avoiding others. But please bear in mind, this is mostly based on my personal experience gained while living in France. Do you have other preferences?
Q: I don’t speak French. Is it OK for me to visit/live in Lyon?
A: Yes, yes, yes! There is nothing to worry about if you cannot speak French. More and more people can speak English and what is beautiful is the fact that they like to practice English so they will be happy to help you out and speak English with you. Obviously, speaking English is not as natural as like being in England but comes with a very nice French accent. OK, so for yourself I would recommend learning some basic French phrases (to impress the French or in case you come across some authentic Lyonnais who cannot speak English and also to develop yourself as learning a new language is good for this). Anyway, have a look at my list of useful phrases in French, download it for free here or buy a little book here.
Q: Is it difficult to make friends in Lyon?
A: I don’t think so. There are many opportunities to make friends in Lyon, all depends on who you are and what you do. You will meet people at work or school and Lyonnais people are very nice to get to know them. On top of that, you can get more social and meet people practicing your hobbies like sport. You can also take part in events for Expats, social meetings with international people and English – French-speaking evenings: Franglish and Polyglot Club. Have you heard about MeetUps in Lyon, expats communities in Lyon: Internations, Anglo Info; Lyon International Meetup Association; Lyon International Families Network; English Speaking Families Group etc just to name a few? I wrote more about it here.
Q: What are the Lyonnais people?
A: Very nice! And yes I am too optimistic person. Of course, you can have a different experience but so far I met only kind and helpful people here in Lyon. All of them want to kiss me in cheeks (even my ‘kine’) but they don’t hug…Anyway, I am happy, as, on top of that, they are helpful, always trying to understand when you talk and try to speak English with you. They say a lot ‘Bonjour’, ‘Ça va” and ‘Passez vous une bonne journée” etc… More about what the real French are is here and here where I talk about Stereotypes of French People.
Q: What are the best things to do in Lyon?
A:I would really struggle to answer it shortly here, so just check out few of my previous posts like: List of 25 Things to Do For Free; List of Things to do in a rainy day; Romantic Lyon; Your 3 days in Lyon; 15 Top Tips To Visit Lyon On The Budget; Totally Free Entries in Lyon just to name a few. I hope you find them useful.
Q: When it’s the best time to visit Lyon?
A: I would recommend some time between late spring and early summer – June or July. Try to avoid May as there are many Bank Holidays and things tend to be closed. Also (surprisingly for me) I won’t recommend August as half of the city is on holidays and I can confirm Lyon is pretty dead. I mean many restaurants and bars are closed! Impossible? Well, it is possible in France during August.
Q: Where can I learn French in Lyon?
A: Again I would struggle to answer properly here. So check out more details in the article where I wrote about places to learn French in Lyon here and read my post about tips on learning French for free. Personally, I can recommend Alliance Française de Lyon – teachers, methods, activities are great and efficient yet it’s expensive… Another one I would consider when learning French is Inflexyon School. But mostly I would recommend watching a lot of tv, speaking to locals, trying to read magazines. ..enjoying life in Lyon and getting confused every day.
Q: Where can I do sport in Lyon?
A: Personally, I like the idea of doing sport for free so walking, cycling, and running would be my recommendations. Lyon seems ideal for it because it is a City of the Sport. You can find your gym here (Yelp.com) depending on the area you are interested in. L’Appart has good membership options and many fitness clubs in Lyon. For staying active and fit I would also recommend: running along the Saône; riding around the city on a Velo’v; going for a swim.
Q: Where can I find a doctor in Lyon?
A: I would recommend either asking for a specialist who speaks your language in the Expats FB Groups so you can get some quick responses and recommendations. You can also use this website MonDocteur.com where you can find any doctor and book an appointment with any him anytime you want. Personally, I love it and I use it. Also, something that you might don’t know is that there is one type of doctor – the psychologist, quite difficult to find, no being refunded by the public healthcare so you need to pay yourself for all (and it can be very expensive) yet so needed. That is why I found one – very experienced, very good and affordable (really, just ask) so I can honestly recommend her. It’s Madame Maria Borucka – Bayon – she is Pole who lives in Lyon and speaks Polish, French, and English. Very helpful…
Q: What can I visit around Lyon?
A: Simply check here for the basic and essential list of minimum 20 (!) places around Lyon worth visiting and keep an eye on my section of the blog called From Lyon because I still discover Lyon and places around…I can’t stop now, France is so beautiful and have so much to offer.
Q: How can I open a bank account in Lyon?
A: So I need to disappoint you here – opening a bank account in France is not easy and simple. First of all, you have to be employed and get monthly revenue to be able to have the bank account, so it’s very inconvenient. Yet, I managed to get around this situation and I got my bank card thanks to the Nickel account. It’s very basic online account which you open mostly in the Tobacco shop. It’s not a bank and it exists only online so it’s cheap and convenient. You pay only 20 Euros per year and you get a debit card to use online and in shops etc. So this can be a good option for you. If you are qualified for a bank account in France (you are a student or you have a job) than with my small tips I hope you are going to open your bank account in France without problems. So firstly, prepare yourself well for a visit to the bank. Bring a proof of address – a document called a ‘justificatif de domicile’ which can, for example, be a utility bill (electricity or gas) etc. It cannot be older than three months old. Students should provide a proof of enrollment in a French school, and bank accounts in their home country. Employees need copies of their work contract and possibly a recent pay slip. Secondly, it’s a good idea to choose a bank which is very near you because in practice there are some banking operations which you can perform only at your own branch, through your personal banker. And in order to visit your bank, it’s also not easy. They are closed on Mondays, they have lunch breaks and they open when you go to work and they close when you come back…so the only time you have to visit your bank is Saturday morning (till 1 pm) so the moment when you want to catch up with the sleep…Lastly, remember about very high and unavoidable bank fees. You may pay a small fee for ‘tenue de compte’, or keeping the account open, as well as a monthly fee for your debit card. Personally, I think that La Banque postale and Caisse epargne are the easiest banks to deal with so they are worth checking out.
Q: How can I found accommodation in Lyon?
A: For buying or renting I simply use seLoger. It’s a great database of all smaller and bigger real estate companies in France so you are sure to see all places to buy or rent. I have been using it many times doing my researches for a flat to buy. It’s easy and very efficient yet I haven’t found anything yet…but I guess the problem is me not the agencies. Good Luck with finding your place in France!
Q: Is it expensive in Lyon? What is the cost of living in Lyon?
A: In general, life in France is very expensive and it gets even more expensive as French people like to live high standards and use, eat good quality (expensive) products. So when living in France, you try to blend in and follow the new & better lifestyle. But don’t worry, there are always ways of saving money even in the expensive France, check here for more details. So, how does ‘the cost of living in France’ look in practice? Well, you can always check out the cost of living in any country, compared to the country etc with available tools online like this website I found. But let me just share with you some basic costs/prices from Lyon, France (as it is in 2017).
- Lunchtime menu: €10 – 15
- Fast Food menu: €8
- 500 g of chicken breast: €6
- 1 liter of milk: €6
- 12 eggs: €3,6
- 1kg tomatoes: €2,6
- 1 kg potatoes: €1.54
- Baguette: €1
- Average, good quality red wine: €7
- Beer in the supermarket: €2
- Monthly rent for 85m2 (depending on the area): €1,045 – €1,305
- Monthly rent for 45m2 (depending on the area): €881 – €636
- Monthly utilities for 2 people: €110; for 1 person: €82
- Monthly Internet 8 Mbps: €29
- 1litre of gas: €
- Monthly ticket for public transport: €63.2
- Single bus/tram/metro hour hour ticket: €1.8 – 2
- Daily ticket for buses/ trams/metro: €5.60
- Taxi tariff for 8km: €17
BASIC PERSONAL CARE:
- Medicine for cold: €5
- Painkiller: €1 – 2
- Doctor visit: €30
- Shampoo: €2.6
- 4 rolls of toilet paper: €1.7
- Toothpaste: €2.20
- Dinner for 2: €40 – 50
- Cinema ticket: €11
- Theater movie: €30
- Cocktail in club: €8
- Beer in pub: €4.5
- Coffee: €2.5
- Monthly gym: €50
- 1 package of Malboro cigarettes: €7
I hope this gives you a rough idea. So you can see it can be expensive yet cheaper than Paris for sure!
Q: Is there anyone that can help me out to move and settle in Lyon?
A: How about those companies I found recently? I haven’t used them myself as I didn’t need to but I am sure they are very helpful or Expats and people who come to France and Lyon for the first time and who don’t have time, energy and patience to do their own researchers to start a new life in France! Those companies should help you out to find accommodation, banking, health services, phone contracts etc. Check them out and let me know what do you think!
- Exapt Agency Lyon – the best, most comprehensive company which offer services to both students and expats, helping out with accommodations, banking, health services etc
- My French Lifeguard is a French organization helping out with a bank account, a cell phone plan, a housing solution, and so much more, for students and interns.
- Lyon Expat Services – Consulting – helping out with the family homestay services mainly for foreign students
- AVF-International is the international section of AVF Lyon-Rhône assisting the foreigners moving to Lyon for professional reasons and French returning from abroad to adapt to their new way of life.
So far, I have collected those top questions. As I said, you can ask some more, or help answering some. I would be very grateful!
Lastly, check out my List of Useful Resources and Websites for Lyon here.
Get for FREE Handout about Lyon – My Top Links to Everything Useful for Lyon and be inspired by Your Guide to Living, Moving and Visiting Lyon (Creative Slides packed with photos and useful links and info about Lyon’s life) I made for you. All for FREE and For You!
I hope you found it useful…yet remember thanks to you we can make it better and improve. Thanks!