- Care-free traboules
- City life
- France’s gastronomic capital
Often described, even by the Parisians, as being like Paris but without the crowds, France’s second city, Lyon, is a chic metropolis but with a style and frenetic pace all of its own.
Built on the confluence of the Rhône and the Saône rivers, the city has been an important centre since Roman times, clustered around the ancient Vieux Lyon district and the baffling warren of traboules (alleyways), the former heart of the silk industry. Beyond the city limits lie the rich heartlands of French gastronomy and the winelands of Beaujolais, Burgundy and Côtes du Rhône, providing Lyon with some of the finest of fine dining. When it comes to food, Lyon is second to none.
Literally LyonLa Croix-Rousse in Vieux Lyon was the centre of Lyon’s silk industry, criss-crossed by narrow traboules (alleyways) once used by the silk workers to transport their precious cargo down to the river barges. Lyon is still a good place to buy silk scarves.
- It’s possible to pick up a cab from one of the many taxi ranks, or hail one in the street.
- Tipping culture
- Restaurant and café bills usually include a service charge (service compris) but it’s customary to leave a tip of a few euros. For taxi drivers, add ten per cent to the metered charge.
- Siesta and fiesta
- Many restaurants close after 14h and reopen around 16h. Restaurants may also be closed on Mondays or Tuesdays so it’s best to check ahead. Small shops also break for lunch, even in the city centre, and most are closed on Sunday.
- Packing tips
- France’s second city is as chic and stylish as Paris; dress to impress.
- Recommended reads
- Bocuse’s Regional French Cooking by Paul Bocuse is a magisterial work by Lyon’s, if not France’s, foremost chef.
- Lyon’s proximity to Burgundy and Beaujolais means the city is bursting with fine wines, haute cuisine and regional delicacies. Specialities include St-Marcellin cheese and saucisson sec (salami) as well as quenelles (fish or meat dumplings) and boudin noir (black pudding). All these and more can be found in the city's well stocked food markets (see shopping). Local Côtes du Rhône wines are also an excellent accompaniment.
- Euro (€).
- Time zone
- Dialling codes
- Country code for France: 33. Lyon: (0)4.
- Do go/don't go
- The crowds in Lyon never seem to be overwhelming, even in high summer when the temperature and humidity climb. Spring is pleasantly warm while autumn sees the surrounding countryside at its best and is the time for the grape harvest. Winter in the city is often cold and crisp.