Things to do in Lyon

Nightlife in Lyon

Nightlife in Lyon seems to center around the Place des Terreaux and the Croix Rousse. The historic streets are full of vibrant clubs, including karaoke at the Trans Europ Express, techno at the Monde à l'Envers and the beats of Afro-Caribbean at Duplex.

The rue Ste-Catherine is also a favorite area amongst students, full of bars that come to life well after midnight.

The Marché Gare can host up to 300 people, and many love its "Berlin feel" and its Indie music scene. Nearby, Le Sucre is packed with electro-dance clubs, with many welcoming in internationally known performers.

Transbordeur is another of Lyon’s large venues, also offering live India music. It has an industrial feel, probably because it is located in a former factory. It also offers a summer concert series called Summer Sessions, along with film screenings.

If you’re looking for some of the best drinks in Lyon, head over to Le Trokson. It also puts on free entertainment a few nights a week, including surf, garage and psychedelic music.

Les Capucins has more of a relaxed scene, making it a great place to have drinks with your new classmates. They also host free concerts.

In Quai Augagneur, along the Rhone, you’ll find many old riverboats that have reopened as nightclubs. The most well-known is Marquise, which always has guest DJs and well-known hip-hop artists.

Vieux Lyon, between Saint-Paul and Saint-Jean, is another diverse area. It is also home to the Smoking Dog, a pub with cheap drinks and an English atmosphere.

Sightseeing in Lyon

  • The Traboules

These famous narrow passages are all throughout Vieux Lyon and Croix Rousse. They were once used to collect water from the river, which was then used by the 18th-century silk weavers. Later, during the Second World War, the traboules were used as places to hide from the Gestapo.

  • The Ancient Theatre of Fourvière

This Roman amphitheatre was built in 15 BC and is the oldest of its kind in the country. The Nuits de Fourvière festival also takes place here every summer, including artists like Arctic Monkeys, Elton John and the Queens of the Stone Age.

  • The Gothic Cathedral of St Jean Baptiste

Among its other gorgeous architectural highlights, is has a 14th-century astronomical clock.

  • Musee des Confluences

This well-known science centre and anthropology museum, which opened in 2014, is located in the 2nd arrondissement of Lyon, called Rhône.

What and where to eat in Lyon

Of course, we have mentioned that, even though Paris is the capital of France, Lyon is most definitely its gastronomic capital. The concentration of restaurants is high, and many boast famous chefs, like Paul Bocuse. Even some of the no-frills bouchons are well-known for their tasty meals.

Some of Lyon’s local specials and drinks include:

  • Quenelles: oval-shaped poached dumplings filled with minced fish in a creamy sauce
  • Cervelle de Canut: curd cheese that is blended with a mixture of herbs and garlic
  • Salade Lyonnais: green leafy salad with a soft-boiled egg, bacon and croutons
  • Grattons: pork rinds
  • Beaujolais nouveau: a newer international wine made just north of Lyon
  • Praline rose: almonds covered in bright pink sugar, usually dusted on brioche buns or used in a dessert called la tarte aux pralines
  • Coussin de Lyon: green cushion-like treats made of chocolate ganache, curacao and marzipan, created by Voisin, a well-known Lyonnais chocolatier, inspired by the Virgin Mary and the cushion used for her offerings

Lyon is very proud of its over 2,000 restaurants, and having a poor meal will come very few and far in between. Many of its restaurants boast Michelin stars, and it even has a reputation for its tasty up-and-coming bistros.

Le Garet has a casual vibe, with wood panelling, a tasty menu option and checked tablecloths. It is a classic bouchon, and this is where you’ll find the locals dining for the friendly service and the tete de veau ravigote, a cald head rolled in ravigote sauce.

Daniel et Denise is a favorite in the old town, and the chef, Joseph Viola, has even won the Meilleur Ouvrier de France award.

Paul Bocuse is the favorite chef in Lyon. With a three-star Michelin restaurant and four brasseries, one of the most popular is Brasserie Le Sud, with a menu filled with Mediterranean specialties.

Brasserie Georges is also well-known in Lyon, probably because it’s one of the oldest brasseries in all of Europe. It boasts a large art-deco dining hall with big mirrors and red-leather seating. It is proud to get its fresh ingredients locally, which is one of the reasons it has the loyalty of the locals. If you only try one dish, make it the choucroute garnie.

Festivals in Lyon

In the summer, the open-air Nuits de Fourvière Festival is held in Lyon’s Roman Theatre. Taking place in June and July, you can see almost 50 performances, including concerts, dance shows, theatres and film screenings.

Each winter, the Festival of Lights takes over Lyon, with the city’s public buildings all beautifully lit. All of the homes place candles in the windows, and some of the best parties of the year take place. This four-day festival also offers street performances, art installations and tasty local delicacies.


With over 550 sports clubs with around 120,000 members, the people in Lyon like to keep fit. Additionally, the city’s parks and the banks of the rivers offer great places to take advantage of outdoor activities.

Vivier Merle Sports Centre is a popular place to play tennis, basketball or volleyball on one of its three courts. There’s also a gym, a climbing wall and group fitness classes.

Additionally, there are numerous places to bowl, and many clubs also offer martial arts, squash, badminton and swimming.

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