We know that many of us have been making lists of places to explore once travel restrictions ease, or we’re able to work out how to manage potential self-isolation on our return home. Europe is a popular option for those of us who do want to get away, because of the shorter flight times and ease of travel, compared to other parts of the world.
If you have been considering a trip to France in the coming year, but aren’t sure where to base yourself, Lyon should go straight to the top of the list.
This is because it was voted as one of the world’s top cities in this year’s Conde Nast Traveller Readers’ Choice Awards.
In fact, Lyon was named in fifth place on the list of ten cities, as the highest placed of the two European cities to feature. Monte Carlo in Monaco came in at sixth place in the poll.
So, why Lyon? According to the publication the city is the “gastronomic epicentre of France”. This means it’s a great choice for any foodies who want to tempt their taste buds during a getaway.
The city itself is packed full of historical and architectural gems, including its basilica, which is well worth stepping inside to see the gold mosaics and stunning stone carvings. Lyon also boasts two semi-circular amphitheatres that date from the Roman era over 2,000 years ago, but which were only uncovered less than 100 years ago.
As you might expect, Lyon is also home to some excellent restaurants, as well as food markets where you can pick up all manner of fresh produce and delightful treats that you could enjoy back at your holiday apartments in France.
Lyon is also known for its thriving arts scene, with La Croix-Rousse the place to head to if you want to experience this side of the city.
It’s also known for being the birthplace of cinema, so you can expect plenty of references to the brothers Louis and Auguste Lumiere, who invented the cinematograph here. You’ll find the barn of the original Lumiere factory still standing, although these days it’s enclosed in glass.
Earlier this year, National Geographic reported on the launch of the Cite Internationale de la Gastronomie in Lyon, with the publication describing the new attraction as “a digital wonderland of a visitor centre that celebrates the foodie credentials of this corner of France, while also exploring broader culinary themes”.
This new attraction is located in the Hotel-Dieu, which has recently undergone a €20 million renovation, bringing not only the new visitor centre to life but also introducing new bars and restaurants to the historic building.
The magazine also highlighted some of Lyon’s other attractions, including its charming traboules, which are secret passageways, staircases and routes that crisscross the city. Many date back as far as the Middle Ages, with others having been added more recently in the 18th and 19th centuries.
Traboules are covered walkways and passages that are believed to have been created to allow silk workers to carry their precious fabric across the city without it being ruined by rain or the dirty streets.