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Flight and hotel Lyon

Introducing Lyon

Sitting on the banks of the Rhone and Saone rivers, the historic city of Lyon is located in eastern France, about 70 miles west of Geneva. While package holidays in Lyon often include visits to the Alps, there is plenty to see in the city itself, which was established in 43 BC by the Romans and is now the third-largest city in France.

What to know before visiting Lyon

Although French is the main language in Lyon, many people will speak at least a few words of English. Lyon is one hour ahead of the UK, and the currency is the euro.

Although not a traditional destination for city breaks, Lyon is a major business centre, which means there are plenty of flight options. Flights from the UK to Lyon depart from several regional airports, including Manchester and London's Heathrow and London City.

When is the best time to visit Lyon?

Summers in Lyon are warm, sometimes reaching 30°C. However, being in the foothills of the Alps, the city also experiences more rain then you might expect, even during July and August. Whereas winters in Lyon are wet and cool, there are plenty ways to enjoy a weekend in Lyon at this time of year.

Each year, in early December, the city hosts the fête des lumières (Festival of Lights), a religious celebration that sees residents place a candle outside their homes. The festival has now expanded to include light-based art installations and performances.

What to do in Lyon

Explore Lyon and the surrounding area on foot, or by other forms of transport:

  • One of the best ways to get your bearings on city breaks in Lyon is to take a relaxing boat trip down one of the city's two rivers, the Rhone and the Saône.
  • If you prefer to get about on your own two feet, take a stroll around the Vieux Quartier (Old Quarter) to see some of the oldest buildings in Lyon.
  • The 19th-century Parc de la Tete d'Or is another great place to explore by foot. This large park has a boating lake open in the summer, a small zoo, mini-golf course and horseriding facilities.
  • The Rhone Valley is well known for its scenery, along with plenty of hiking routes and cycling trails. It's also home to dozens of vineyards and wineries that produce famous vallée du Rhône wine. A visit to a winery is a must on package holidays in Lyon.

What places should you visit in Lyon?

The impressive 12th-century Lyon Cathedral, which took over four centuries to build, is well worth a visit, though its exterior is much more impressive than its interior. The area of Fourvière, one of the city's oldest, is home to the Basilica of Notre-Dame de Fourvière. The structure, which boasts a golden statue of the Virgin Mary, is where the Festival of Lights begins each December. You can also visit the ruins of Roman baths and a Roman theatre, and ride along the world's oldest and active funicular lines.

Pay homage to the Lumière brothers, the inventors of the cinematograph and fathers of modern cinema, at the Institut Lumière. The institute houses a museum dedicated to the brothers, who lived in Lyon for most of their adult lives, and hosts regular cinema screenings. If you're a fan of movies, package holidays in Lyon should also include a visit to the intriguing Musée Miniature et Cinéma, which features exhibits on cinema props and special effects.

What to eat in Lyon

Lyon is well known for its food, with pâté, potatoes and pork among the many ingredients for you to try on a weekend in Lyon. The city even has a salad named after it, salade Lyonnaise, which is served warm with lardons (pieces of bacon), poached eggs and fried potatoes. For dessert, try bugnes, thin crispy doughnuts traditionally eaten on Mardi Gras (Shrove Tuesday), or matefaim, a cross between a cake and a crêpe, served with fruit and sugar.

Souvenirs from Lyon

As well as a bottle of local wine, you might also want to take home some typical Lyonnais sweets, such as Coussin de Lyon marzipan. Antoine de Saint-Exupéry's Le Petit Prince is another Lyonnais creation, and many shops sell souvenirs related to the beloved book. Lyon is also the home of Guignol puppets, the French version of Punch and Judy. The puppets make perfect souvenirs.