Known as the “culinary capital of France,” Lyon is famous for its gastronomy and is one of the best places to sample French culinary delicacies. As a bonus, Lyon is located between two of the best wine-producing regions in France: Cotes du Rhône and Beaujolais. A weekend getaway to Lyon is perfect for food and wine fanatics, as well as an ideal stopping point between Paris and the South of France.
A Weekend Getaway to Lyon
How to Get to Lyon
Getting to Lyon from either Paris or Provence is quick and easy – from Paris the train takes under three hours and from Provence just around 90 minutes. Because of the simplicity, we recommend taking a train to Lyon. For those who prefer to drive, a stop in Lyon is a great way to break up a trip between Paris and either Provence, the Côte d’Azur, or the Alps.
Day One: Gourmet Tour and Private River Cruise
The best way to get to know Lyon is through a gourmet tour. Your passionate guide and culinary history specialist will take you to sample fabulous foods while also teaching you about Lyon’s medieval heritage. Taste Lyon’s famous pralines: pink sugar-coated almond pastries. You’ll visit the Presqu’île district with its seemingly countless bouchons, traditional bistros found only in Lyon. Next, try the unique Coussin de Lyon: a chocolate and marzipan dessert that is shaped like the cushions used by Lyon’s silk weavers. It’s been a symbol of Lyon since the 1960s. Finish with a visit to the indoor Paul Bocuse Market. This center of gastronomy brings all of the region’s best products together under one roof. Think charcuterie, cheese, quenelles, chocolate, wines, and much more.
Cap off a wonderful day with a private cruise along the Saône river. You’ll see the fabulous views of the city from the water while enjoying Champagne. The cruise is led by a captain and a hostess to make sure the experience is a relaxing one. After the cruise, enjoy dinner in one of the many fabulous restaurants in Lyon.
Where to Stay in Lyon
Cour des Loges
In the heart of Vieux-Lyon, this 5-star hotel resembles a castle. The decor could truly take you back to the Italian Renaissance. There is a seamless blend between historic charm and modern comforts.
In the lounge, the walls are painted with aquatic scenes peacefully guide the guests towards the bar. Murano chandeliers brush against tall Renaissance cabinets for a serene and historic atmosphere.
In a stunningly beautiful setting, topped by a magnificent contemporary steel glass roof, Chef Anthony Bonnet welcomes you to your Michelin-starred table full of flavors in the Restaurant Les Loges. There is also a friendly and authentic upscale bistro, Café-Epicerie, which serves dishes in the purest Lyon tradition.
Enjoy this small corner of paradise hidden from the sight of the bustling metropolis: a unique intimate spot where serenity and relaxation reign.
When booking at this hotel through French Side Travel, will enjoy a special welcome treat by the Michelin-starred chef.
Day Two: Lyon Highlights Walking Tour and Private Wine Tasting
Spend the morning discovering the best of Lyon including its 2,000 years of history, architecture, silk factories and gastronomy. You’ll take the legendary ficelle, a famous cable-car, to reach the top of the hill. There, discover the unusual architecture of the basilica and appreciate the fantastic views the city. Return to Vieux-Lyon and enter the historic neighborhood to discover the charm of its Renaissance architecture. Your guide will point out courtyards and traboules: typical covered passageways through the medieval structures that hide beautiful courtyards. To finish the walk, visit a silk workshop to see the traditional weaving methods that perpetuate centuries-old traditions. By the end of the tour you’ll have an incredible overview of what makes Lyon so special.
In the evening, head to the Institut Paul Bocuse for a private wine tasting. Set in the gourmet cooking school, your oenological expert will lead you through a fascinating wine discovery workshop. You’ll taste four fabulous wines that are accompanied by local cheeses and charcuterie. The evening ends on a sweet note with a special dessert from the pastry chef of the Institut Paul Bocuse.
Where to Stay in Lyon
Grand Hôtel des Terreaux
In the heart of the UNESCO World Heritage Site, this 4-star hotel is one of the oldest in Lyon. It combines the atmosphere of an old-fashioned 19th century town house with a daringly modern, innovative design. Every detail shows the personality of the space, which is brought to life by the passion of its staff and the soul of its guests.
This lovely property has a prime location on the peninsula, not far from the Lyon Opera House and the Théatre des Célestins. It is just on the edge of the historic center of Lyon with its many bistro-style restaurants, and a stone’s throw from the Place des Terreaux and the Musée des Beaux-Arts.
An exceptional lounge, topped by a metal architecture style “Eiffel Tower,” welcomes you for a buffet breakfast. The indoor pool and whirlpool, surrounded by vaulted walls and stone from an old church, are open daily exclusively to hotel guests.
Bonus Excursion: Full-Day Trip to Beaujolais, Bresse and Dombes
If you can extend your weekend getaway to Lyon, consider adding an exceptional day to discover the wonders of Beaujolais, Bresse and Dombes. This special itinerary will give you an excellent overview of the Lyonnaise region.
Begin the day with a tour of a winery where you will be able to test your knowledge of the Beaujolais wines. Continue your trip and head to Chatillon-sur-Chalaronne in the heart of the Bresse region. With its remarkable architecture, and its famous Bresse poultry, this small town is the perfect place for a gourmet lunch stop. Saturdays are market days, and you can wander through the stalls that date back from the 11th century. It is truly an authentic and festive atmosphere.
Next, drive to Pérouges and take in the unique Dombes region with its thousand lakes. The medieval village, listed as one of Plus Beaux Villages de France, is the pefect place to stop for an afternoon snack. Taste the famous galette: the recipe is a closely guarded secret! Enjoy free time to wander the small cobblestone streets before heading back to Lyon.
A weekend getaway to Lyon is a perfect link to a trip that includes Paris and the South of France. French Side Travel would love to help you plan a dream trip to France with a custom, completely tailor-made itinerary. Some of our favorite destinations in France include Paris, the South of France, Normandy, and Paris. Get in touch with a travel designer today to start the planning process.