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Why your next European vacation should include Lyon, France

Nestled between Burgundy and Provence, the French city of Lyon is bursting with refined epicurean pleasures, while remaining surprisingly untouristy. France’s third largest city is the country’s renowned culinary capital, and it’s the perfect place for travellers to get an authentic taste of what French life is really like.

Lyon rarely gets the attention that Nice, Bordeaux and Paris do, yet the city is the gastronomical gem of France. Wander Lyon’s cobbled streets and sample fine French flavours proffered everywhere from street stalls to Michelin-starred restaurants.

Lyon, France

Lyon boasts timeless French cuisine as well as a burgeoning beer scene. Pull up a seat at a red-and-white table-clothed Bouchon (traditional Lyonnais restaurant), and feast on hearty specialties like black pudding, quenelles (dumplings) and plenty of pork sausages. The city’s refined flavours come to life in its signature dishes such as Lyonnaise salads (topped with poached eggs, bacon, and a Dijon dressing), quenelles (fish dumplings) and decadent praline tarts. Don’t forget the local Beaujolais wine!

Take a trip on L’Hermes lunch/dinner river cruise boat or visit the famous food halls of Les Halles. Here you can buy from the best suppliers in France or eat at one of the restaurants. Relax in one of Lyon’s stylish wine bars and sample by-the-glass selections curated from the country’s best wineries.

Musée des Confluences

Credit: Musée des Confluences

Any trip to Lyon should include a visit to the sleek new Musée des Confluences, a stunning science centre and anthropology museum. Wander around Vieux-Lyon, with its narrow streets and magnificent Renaissance-inspired architecture. Traverse the city’s quirky traboules, medieval covered passageways and spiral staircases that once allowed residents to cross the city without being seen. Hop on the funicular to Fourvière and the Basilica Notre-Dame to see some of Lyon’s most beautiful scenes.

Despite being France’s third-largest city, and home to several UNESCO World Heritage Sites, Lyon tends to fly under the tourist radar. Visit this sophisticated riverside now to savour authentic French tastes without the crowds.

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