Just two hours by TGV from Paris, at the crossroads of the Rhône and the Saône Rivers lies Lyon. The city is in the heart of the Rhône-Alpes region, which today is the link between the north and south of France.
Visit the “Vieux Lyon” the old town and discover one of France's largest Renaissance neighborhoods. From almost any vantage point, marvel at the Basilica of Fourvière. Perched on top of Fourvière hill, the basilica looms impressively over Lyon, With four main towers, a belltower and topped with a gilded statue of the Virgin Mary, the church has become a towering symbol of the city.
You can also ride one of the oldest active Funiculars in the world or just stroll around the traboules– passageways between old buildings, which were used as shortcuts during the silk era to link the canuts (silk weaver’s) houses and the Saône River. For a glimpse into the city’s Roman history, visit the Théâtre de Fourvière. Built around 15 BC, today, the theater hosts the Nuits de Fourvière, a summer festival featuring theater, dance, music and movies.
Lyon is considered the Culinary Capital of France – which is pretty impressive when you think of all of this country’s epicure epicenters. This is mostly due to Paul Bocuse, one of the finest chefs in the world who’s based in Lyon. His food is most associated with nouvelle cuisine, which is less opulent (read: creamy) than traditional cuisine classique. His luxurious restaurant, ‘Auberge du Pont de Collonges has received the coveted three star rating from Michelin. For a less luxe (read: expensive) taste, Bocuse runs a chain of brasseries in Lyon, each focusing on different aspects of French food.
Using your France Rail Pass you can see so much more of the Rhône-Alpes region. Enjoy a quick day trip to Aix les Bains, a peaceful little town along the sparkling Lac du Bourget. Home to the Faure Museum, see an extensive collection of Rodin sculptures and Impressionist art. In less than three hours by TGV, be in the papal city of Avignon in the heart of Provence. You can also reach the Cote d’Azur in a little over four hours.
To learn more about preparing your trip to France, visit Atout France by clicking here if you’re a US resident or here if you’re a Canadian resident
Contributed by: Mariza, Group Consultant, who lived 10 years in France, can make the best Bouillabaisse Soup, typical dish of Provence.