Laid-back Lyon is France’s third-largest city and renowned as the country’s culinary capital. Head to one the city’s celebrated bouchons – restaurants serving typical Lyonnais cuisine – and feast upon roast pork or duck pâté. Once you’ve had your fill, explore the nooks and crannies of the narrow alleyways of Vieux Lyon that form one of the most extensive Renaissance quarters in Europe. Seek out a traboule (covered passageway) in the historic Croix-Rousse area and see if you can discover where it leads. And the best part is that non-stop flights to Lyon operate regularly from across Britain, so all of its ooh là là is more accessible than ever.
The chilled-out vibe of the French gastro-capital makes it a cool city getaway throughout the year, and the best months to get your hands on cheap tickets to Lyon are January and February when the swarms of tourists have thinned out. In summer the city really comes into its own. The celebrated Les Nuits de Fourvière festival of music, dance and theatre takes place in June and July, so if you fly at this time you might get the chance to take in a spellbinding performance under the stars at Lyon’s show-stopping ancient Roman amphitheatre. Try booking ahead to bag a bargain on return flights to Lyon during the summer season.
You have a variety of choices for direct flights to Lyon from many UK airports. British Airways jets south from London Heathrow several times a day, while EasyJet regularly zips down from London Gatwick and London Luton, as well as twice a week from Edinburgh. Flybe departs every day from Birmingham and Manchester and three times a week from Southampton too. The non-stop flight time from London is just under two hours.
Take the stress out of the 11-mile journey from Lyon Saint Exupéry airport to the city centre by catching a taxi into town. One-way fares range from €40-€50 during daytime hours and you can sink back in your seat and soak up the first views of Lyon en route. Satobus, the airport shuttle service, leaves every 20 minutes and will get you to the city centre in around 45 minutes. A single-trip ticket costs €9. The airport is also connected to central Lyon by the speedy Rhônexpress train. It runs roughly every 15 minutes and will zip you to Lyon’s Part-Dieu station in 25 minutes at a cost of €14 one way.
For a fun and fascinating way to explore Lyon, hire a bike. The first city in Europe with a public bike-rental service, Lyon is perfectly set up for cycling, with an ideally flat landscape and bicycle lanes criss-crossing the city. You can coast along the picturesque banks of the city’s two rivers, the Rhone and the Saone, at your own pace. Stop off to nibble on a Nutella-filled crepe to keep your energy levels up, and enjoy a well-deserved glass of Beaujolais after your two-wheeled tour.
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