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A day in Lyon on my own...... what to do and see?

A day in Lyon on my own...... what to do and see?

Oct 11th, 2003, 02:54 PM
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A day in Lyon on my own...... what to do and see?

I'm visiting a friend in Geneva and while she is at work one day I plan on taking the train to Lyon. Since I will only have one day I'd love a few must do's. Also a fabulous place to have a long lunch by myself (married woman, early 30's, speaks only the basic of French).

Looking to you, the knowledgable Fodorites, to guide me with fantastic suggestions!

By the way, this is for the week of Oct. 27th.
Wendy is offline  
Oct 12th, 2003, 01:18 AM
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We were in Lyon in October last year and loved it. We had some really warm, sunny weather and although it was a couple of weeks earlier than you're going to be there, I hope you'll be as lucky as we were.

Just my personal opinion, but if I had only one day, I think I'd take the funicular up Fourviere Hill - worth it for the fabulous views of Lyon alone. Take a look around the ornately decorated Basilique Notre Dame and then walk back down via the Roman Amphitheatre. After reading rave reviews of this, I have to admit that we were actually a bit disappointed with the amphitheatre, but maybe that's just us!

You'll end up in Vieux Lyon (the old town), where there are an abundance of restaurants - just take your pick. After lunch you can spend a couple of hours wandering around the Old Town, popping in and out of the "traboules", which are ancient passageways and courtyards between the buildings and admiring the old churches and other buildings.

Finally, if time and your feet will allow, cross over the Saone River and make your way back to Perrache Sation via the shopping district around Place Bellecour and Rue Victor Hugo - I could have spent hours here if I'd been on my own, but retail therapy doesn't seem as much fun with a bored husband in tow
Xenos is offline  
Oct 12th, 2003, 08:55 AM
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There's also a silk museum in Lyon which is worth a visit.
Michael is online now  
Oct 12th, 2003, 09:26 AM
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Xenos has given you great advice for a day-trip to Lyon. With Fourvière, the Amphitheatres, the Old Town and then a saunter through the shopping district on the Presqu'ile you'll have a full but enjoyable day!!! As an antidote to the extravagant decor in the Basilica, make sure you look around the Cathedral St Jean, which is somber and magnificent in comparison.

One comment about the restaurants in the Old Town (mainly along the rue St Jean which is the pedestrian street running parallel to the river): there are many "touristy" restaurants along this street, some are decent, some good, some dreadful. Many are really only charming when the weather is fine and you can eat on the terrasse. There are a couple of places I've been to a few times and enjoyed: l'Auberge Rabelais, not far from the cathedral, nice and cosy on a cold day, especially the tables towards the back; and Les Ventres Jaunes on Place Neuve St Jean. Both do a good range of set menus from 15 to 30 euros, with a good choice of local dishes. Bresse chicken is one local favourite that's worth tasting.
hanl is offline  
Oct 12th, 2003, 11:21 AM
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I second the silk industry. Lyon was the center of the European silk industry for centuries, and they invented cut velvet. Lyon silk velvet has absolutely no peer. If you go to lyon-france.com, there is information there on touring workshops.

I haven't been in decades, but one of my aunts took me once when I was a girl, and I have treasured the small piece of velvet that she bought for me that day. I've never sewn it, it's too beautiful just the way it is.
Ryn2691 is offline  
Oct 12th, 2003, 12:46 PM
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If yor are interested in museums,besides the silk museum(Musee Historique des Tissus) mentioned above,don't miss the Find Art Museum- excellent collestions and lovely garden.
JudyC is offline  
Oct 14th, 2003, 09:00 AM
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Thank you so much for the great advice! I'm thinking that I will most likely drive to Lyon as the train schedules from Geneva don't look so good. I've never driven in another country (unless you count French Polynesia but there was only one road around the island! haha!) Anything I should be careful or aware of?
Wendy is offline  
Oct 14th, 2003, 01:53 PM
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If you are going to drive, it might be better to choose a destination like Annecy which is only 40 minutes from Geneva and probably easier to maneuver than Lyon. Parking in Lyon is difficult and the larger the city, the more difficult the driving.
Michael is online now  
Oct 14th, 2003, 02:13 PM
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Driving to Lyon is very easy and usually takes less than 90 min to reach on A40, then A42 (although there could be some construction along the way which would slow you down). Just follow the green "Lyon" signs from Geneva - the only confusing twist is that the "autoroute" (superhighway) signs are GREEN in SWITZELRAND but BLUE in FRANCE. Following blue signs in Switzerland or green ones in France will lead you to local roads.

When in Lyon, follow signs for "Centre-Ville" - you will end up on the quay along the Rhone. There are several large parking garages in town - the "Bellecour" is probably the most convenient location for exploring. Just
continue along the quay till you see signs for it.

Annecy is even closer to Geneva (about 40 min.), so you may want to try that on your first day if you're a bit apprehensive about driving in Switzerland and France.

Personally, I find the french autoroutes to be the best roads anywhere, but the tolls are quite high.

Hope this helps,
Andre is offline  
Oct 14th, 2003, 02:31 PM
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I found Lyon very enjoyable, but I particularly like museums and have an undergraduate degree in textiles and historic costumes. So, I particularly liked the basilica, def. check out hotel de Ville and square as there is a famous sculputre by Bartholdi, and wandering the Old Lyon on the way between the two.

I really enjoyed the textile museum which is what the Musée Historique des Tissus is, probably because of my background, although I don't think it would appeal to everyone). This is NOT the silk museum and these are not the same thing. It is one of the best historic textile museums in the world, and of course has some silk specimens among its other holdings. It also has some historic costumes, for example, one of which is extraordinary, as they have one of the few existing pourpoints (from Charles of Blois) of the Middle Ages in the world. The curating is all in French, however, at least when I was there a few years ago, which will make it less enjoyable to many.

There is a special tour/visit to a silk factory where they have a showroom, talk about silkmaking, and have what I think they call a silk museum, but that's in another area. I did not have time for that, unfortunately. That is a little away from the main center where all these other things are. It is in the area called Croix Rouge and is on a hill to the north. The silk workers were called Canuts and that is in what is called the Maison de Canuts on rue d'Ivry. You can get there by metro and I've read it is fun because the it is on a steep hill, but the metro kind of goes up it like a funicular somehow.

the Lyon Decorative Arts Museum is very good, as well as the Fine Arts Museum. I think they have a puppet museum also, as that is a Lyon specialty, but I didn't go to that.
Christina is online now  
Oct 17th, 2003, 08:05 AM
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Excellent, I think I will take the car as it will give me more time to poke around! Thanks all, I'm so excited! I leave on Tuesday!
Wendy is offline  
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