Plan Your 3 days in Lyon and Make the most out of the City!
So how to plan your trip when you have 3 days in Lyon and how to make the most of out the city? Here you are your Internity! Enjoy & bonne voyage & see you in Lyon!
- Day 1 – Do the FREE Things in Lyon!
On the First Day, do the Free Things available in Lyon. Check the list of the 25 Free activities in Lyon and choose the ones you like the most. For that day, I would recommend either getting all day transport ticket which will cost you 5.10 euro and you will be able to use metro, bus, tram and funiculars for free the whole day. If the weather is nice and you like cycling, you can choose the velo as this is also a great way of exploring the city. You can walk…this is a great solution but at the end of the day I am sure you will be in a need of a transport as your legs can handle few hours and not the whole day…For the first day, start…
- At the Place Tolozan (Hotel De Ville Tube Station)
There is impressive building of the Opéra and at the Place Tolozan you can noticed the bizarre yet interesting impressive sculpture “L’Homme de la Liberté” by César.
- Then walk to the Place des Terreaux which is worth visiting just to see the fountain by F.A. Bartholdi and Lyon’s Hôtel de Ville (Town Hall originally built between 1646 and 1672).
Make sure you enter the garden of the Musée des Beaux Arts. The classical 1200 m² garden was created at the end of the 19th century. The circular pond in the centre is overlooked by an antique sarcophagus and a small statue of Apollo, god of the arts, there is also the truly beautiful Rodin.
- Come back to the famous shopping Rue de la République and admire the impressive building of the Palais de la Bourse et du Commerce (build in the renaissance architectural style, it was constructed in the 19th century)
- Next to it there is Eglise Saint-Bonaventure, a former Franciscan church built-in the 14th-15th centuries.
Leave the Rue de la Republic to visit the Place des Jacobins which is near by. It has a beautiful central fountain from by architect and sculptor by Gaspard André in 1885.
- Make sure you will find the Théâtre des Célestins the stunning building with an Italian-style façade operating since 1877. In the middle of the outside square there is an interesting periscope which displays rotating geometric shapes.This is pretty cool so check it out for a small surprise!
Now you might have arrived to the Presqu’ile district located between the Rhône and Saône Rivers with Lyons’s finest square in the Place Bellecour. Find the impressive statue of Louis XIV, locate the splendid 17th-century building – the current Musée des Hospices Civils –Hôtel-Dieu de Lyon.
- Cross the bridge on the Saône and feel the amazing atmosphere of Vieux Lyon (Old Town) Get lost in Lyon’s atmospheric Quartier Saint-Jean to discover the city’s Old World charm. There are many inviting shops and cafés along the way.
- Quickly visit 2 beautiful churches: Cathedral Saint Jean Baptiste mainly Romanesque and the Church Saint-Georges in neo-Gothic style with the 7-bell electric carillon by Burdin, Morel and Chevalier.
Walk up to the Fourvière Hill or take the funicular Lyon to take you there. Whatever you choose, it will give you great experience, either you had a fun ride up in the old style metro or you will admire amazing views as you walk. But I have to warn you its time-consuming and very exhausting! Have a walk around the Colline de Fourvière and Esplanade de la Basilique de Fourvière, enjoy the views of the city. Visit the Basilique Notre Dame de Fourviere.
Learn about the history of Lyon by visiting the Gallo-Roman theatre To speed up the sightseeing now you should start using the transport properly to get to important places to visit in Lyon such as
- Colline de la Croix-Rousse – the Croix-Rousse hillside is full of the small hidden streets, many charming curves and staircases. There is the famous collection of “traboules” and the special route to follow to discover all of them.
Go to admire the Brotteaux beautiful, historic monument built in the 1900 as a train station, nowadays it hosts clubs, bars and restaurants, including a restaurant of the famous Chef Paul Bocuse L’Est brasserie.
- Get a feel of Lyonnis Best Quality Foods and proof its reputation of the Capital of Gastronomy, visit Les Halles de Lyon Paul Bocus (the covered marketplace with over 50 different shops and restaurants that offer the highest quality regional products: charcuteries, local cheeses, fresh bread, escargots, quenelles, fruits, vegetables, pâtisserie, and chocolates)
Explore the Confluence district, the modern part of Lyon located in between the Saône and Rhône. Thanks to the latest investments, its one of the most sustainable and exemplary districts in Europe. Get to the Confluence shopping centre and at the terrace of the Confluence Museum for a great view of the city and impressive modern buildings.
- Day2 – Use the Lyon City Card
Once you got to know the city a bit and you settled in, I would recommend getting a Lyon City Card for a Day…this will cost you 22 Euro and you will get the free access to 22 museums, other activities etc not to mention the fact that it gives you the free transport and free velo. On top of that the card provides you with discounts on shopping, shows, tours! (those remember to book in advance!) But to make the most of this, you should be well-organized. That is why is good to do it on the second day rather than first, You need to wake up early and know where you want to start. Choose from the main museums and visit as many as you can and want. Take a boat ride and maybe sign up for a guided tour or if times permits go for a show. It’s the best deal available. Because if you consider you want to visit 2 museums and get the transport this will be over 22 euros already! So start your second day with visiting the top ones & recommended ones such as…
Musée des Confluences, (Confluences District, 86 Quai Perrache) The latest and long-awaited museum which cost has been estimated around €300 million. It looks like a spaceship and its huge, definitely it is worth a visit for how it looks and what kind of exhibitions it has!
- Musee Miniature et Cinema; (Vieux Lyon, 60, rue Saint-Jean) Different yet very interesting museum which shows 2 types of collections: over 100 miniature scenes of everyday life as well as the unique in Europe collection of the film special effects techniques and it displays over 300 original film props and arte facts
- Le Petit Musee Fantastique de Guignol (Vieux-Lyon, 6, rue Saint Jean – Lyon 5) The Small Museum of Guignol’s Fantasy World
Musée des Beaux-Arts; (Palais Saint-Pierre, 20 place des Terreaux) a real show-stopper & feast for art lovers. It is considered the next-best fine arts museum in France after the Louvre. One visit is not enough to admire all the exhibitions! You need to be selective!
- Centre d’Histoire de la Résistance et de la Déportation; (14 Avenue Berthelot, 69007 Lyon) A place where you can learn the important for Lyon role of being the centre for the French Resistance during World War II.
- Musée Lumière; (Monplaisir, 25 rue du Premier Film) Very interesting museum which shows you on how the cinematography has been invented by the Lumiere Brothers. It cannot be missed!
- Musée Tony Garnier (Etats Unis District, 4, rue des Serpollières); If you like murals, this is a place for you to visit. It represents over 25 paintings on the walls created by Lyon architect and town planner.
Musée Gadagne; (Vieux Lyon, 1 place du Petit-Collège) Lyon’s history museum which has an impressive collections of puppets
- Musée de la Civilisation Gallo-Romaine; (Fourvieur Hill, 17 rue Cléberg) Learn about the distant past of Lyon, starting from 500,000 years ago, from prehistory to the end of the Roman period. Check the agenda as they usually have very interesting events to take part and new exhibitions launched.
- Planetarium Of Vaulx-En-Velin (aulx Hôtel de Ville – Campus, Place de la Nation; ) Book in advance so you will have a chance to take part in the impressive shows.
Quite few suggestions and this is just a tiny part of all attractions that the City Card offers. You can follow my recommendations about, you can do more, less or choose something completely different, such as: Museum of Textile and Decorative Arts; Modern Art Museum; Contemporary Art Institute; Fourvière Museum of Religious Art; Printing Museum; Museum of Automation; African Museum; Museum of Henri Malartre’s Automobile; Maison du fleuve Rhône in Givors; Ampère Museum; Electricity MuseumLa Sucrière at pôle Confluence (open only for temporary exhibitions); Doctor Mérieux Museum; Marcy l’Étoile; Priority access to the Contemporary Art Biennale 2013. Depending on availibilities, you can also decide to take part in the following: Guided walking tours, Visit to the roof of the basilica of Fourvière , Cruises on the Rhône and Saône Riviers, House of Canuts, Silk Museum or even if you are lucky with the timing you go for to the shows at the: Guignol theatre , Compagnie des Zonzons, House of Guignol, Un Gone de Lyon etc.
Check for the details on Lyon City Card Attractions And Map – this is a very useful brochure which displays for you the whole Lyon City Card deal.
Day 3 – Relaxing Way of Discovering Lyon
At the last day, I am sure you will be very exhausted. After 2 pretty packed with many activities day, on where you have been focused and motivated to do, at the last day of stay and before journey home you need to take it easy and still enjoy! So there are other activities more relaxing that the city will offer you. As this is probably Sunday, you can visit the church for a local mass to experience, in French.
There are many beautiful churches to choose from but I would recommend the Basillique de Notre Dame which has amazing mass performances free to enter! Even if you are not religious this is a new experience and real life performance on where the choir sings beautifully! Anyway if you are really not convinced with the church, you can go for a Sunday Markets which is next to the Rivers Saone and you have actually 2 markets to choose from. The morning Sunday Market is Le Marche de Creation (very impressive and famous Market of Lyon on where over 150 artists are registered and the impressive different style ranges of the paintings, photography, crafts, sculptures and engravings are displayed at the market each Sunday. So don’t miss it!
On the other side of the river – there is the Marche Alimentaire Saint Antoine Celestins which is a regional, fresh & good quality products market! Such a French way of leaving…buying fruits and baguette in the morning Sunday market…Get them as well and go to the park…
Visiting the Parc de la Tete d’Or and you will spend here so much time if not ¾ of the day…why? Cause it is worth it! You can take a small boat at the lake, visit the Botanic Garden, the Garden of Roses, the Free Zoo and you can have a lunch on here. I wont reveal more details as I would like you to be surprised by the park as I had been when I went there for the first time! I enjoyed it a lot!
Cause you discovered a bit the Saône riverside thanks to the Sunday Markets, I would now recommend to take a walk alongside the Rhône riverbanks, especially the left bank of the river which has undergone remarkable development. Once you leave the park and reach the river for a walk, you will pass many boat restaurants and bars…its a good idea to stop for a drink and enjoy the atmosphere! Get energy back and if you still strong enough for walking there is a part of the riverside redesigned over the five kilometres between Raymond Poincaré Bridge and the entrance to Gerland Park. Its nice, refreshing and relaxing walk yet it can be too long and tiring after the whole day of activities.
So how do you like your 3 full days in Lyon? I think you got the best out of this and I am sure you have liked it and come back soon…maybe you visit Lyon in other season to get a bit other experience, maybe you come back for the Fete des Lumieres or maybe you come back to enjoy the City one more time as you missed it a lot….whatever you chooses…Lyon always waits you!
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!