Lyon, often regarded as France's culinary capital, is a city where the Rhône and Saône rivers meet, creating a rich tapestry of cultural, historical and gastronomical experiences. This vibrant city, known for its UNESCO World Heritage Sites, world-class cuisine and dynamic cultural scene, offers a multitude of activities for visitors.
One of the most intriguing areas in Lyon is Vieux Lyon, the city's old town. This district, one of Europe’s largest Renaissance neighbourhoods, is a labyrinth of narrow passageways (traboules), hidden courtyards and colourful buildings. These traboules, initially used by silk manufacturers and merchants to transport their products, are now a unique feature of the city's architecture. A stroll through Vieux Lyon offers a journey back in time, with highlights including the Saint-Jean Cathedral with its stunning astronomical clock and the Maison des Canuts, which delves into the history of Lyon's silk industry. The area is also home to several “bouchons” – traditional Lyonnais restaurants – where visitors can indulge in local specialities like quenelles, Lyonnaise salad and coq au vin.
Another must-visit destination in Lyon is the Confluence district, located at the southern tip of the Presqu'île, where the Rhône and Saône rivers merge. This area, formerly an industrial wasteland, has been transformed into a cutting-edge district showcasing contemporary architecture, shopping and entertainment. The centrepiece of this transformation is the Musée des Confluences, a futuristic museum that explores the intersection of science and humanity. The museum's permanent and temporary exhibitions cover a wide range of topics, from natural history and anthropology to technology and societal issues. The district around the museum is also worth exploring, with its modern buildings, green spaces and panoramic views of the rivers.
No cruise to Lyon would be complete without experiencing its renowned gastronomic scene. The city is the birthplace of Paul Bocuse, the legendary chef who revolutionised French cuisine. Visitors can dine at one of the many Michelin-starred restaurants or visit Les Halles de Lyon Paul Bocuse, a covered market that offers a variety of high-quality local produce, cheeses, meats, pastries and more. This market is a food lover's paradise, providing a taste of the finest ingredients that define French cuisine. For a more casual dining experience, the city's bouchons offer a cosy and authentic atmosphere, serving hearty, traditional Lyonnaise dishes.
Which cruise lines sail to Lyon?