Day trip to Lyon from Annecy?

Old Mar 18th, 2006, 07:41 PM
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Day trip to Lyon from Annecy?

We will be spending a week near Annecy in mid-June. I was considering a day trip to Lyon, but am now not sure it would be worth the time and the hassle. How difficult would it be to drive into Lyon? I normally don't drive in large cities. If we did that we would drive in, park the cars (there will be 8 of us, so two cars) and use public transportation to get around the city. According to viamichelin it would take about 1h40 to get to Lyon, so we could possibly be there by about 10:00 am. I suppose we would need to leave by about 4:00 to avoid rush-hour traffic. Would it be easier if we went on Sunday?

I also thought about taking the train but that would cost about 20 euros per person, take about 2 hrs and the early trains all seem to go to Part-Dieu rather than Perrache so we would still need to get to the city center from there.

I have never been to Lyon (have driven by but not into the city) and would love to see it. But I certainly don't want to be caught in Paris-like traffic.

If you were in my place what would you do - drive in, take the train or forget it?

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Old Mar 19th, 2006, 06:59 AM
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Lyon is a beautiful, interesting city and I would definitely go. I was in Lyon 5 years ago for work and stayed near the Part-Dieu train station and as I reacall there were connections to the old town part - however this was a while ago so my memory may be rusty. I went to the old town several times and I believe I took the train. If you are only saving 20 minutes of transportation time it doesn't seem worth it to drive but that is just my opinion and I always prefer to take the train when possible. The old town of Lyon is very walkable and I don't think you will have a need for public transportation once you get there.
 
Old Mar 19th, 2006, 07:58 AM
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Hi,
When we lived in Lyon we used to go to Annecy for the day regularly, so by the same token there's no reason why it shouldn't be feasible to visit Lyon on a day trip. Although the city can get congested, traffic is nowhere near as bad as Paris (take it from someone who has lived in both cities). There are two routes you can take from Annecy - the slightly quicker route is on the motorway via Chambéry, which brings you in to the south-east of Lyon, or you can take the road north out of Annecy and join onto the Lyon-Geneva motorway, which brings you into the city from the north-east. The second route is more scenic but slightly longer (2 hours as opposed to 1h45).

Car parks are plentiful in the centre of Lyon and aren't usually too expensive. The best option would probably be to head for Place Bellecour which is easy to find on any map (it's huge) and well signposted, and has a massive underground car park underneath it.

For info, if you did decide to take the train, Part-Dieu station has lots of transport connections with the city centre and it would only take 15 minutes or so to get to the old town, for example (metro line B to Saxe Gambetta (2 stops), change to line D and get off at Vieux Lyon (two stops)).

Lyon is pretty compact and the Presqu'ile (the narrow strip of land between the Rhône and Saône rivers) and the old town can be visited on foot in a day.

Going on a Sunday would be fun as you could visit the food market in the morning on the banks of the river Saône (or, if you are serious foodies, head to the best market in Lyon up on the Croix-Rousse hill - every day except Mon) and then you could visit Fourvière hill and the old town, which is one of the only areas in Lyon where shops are open on a Sunday. You could also do what the locals do and take a Sunday stroll around the lovely Parc de la Tête d'Or.

However, if you like shopping then I'd visit during the week, as the presqu'ile is criss-crossed with pedestrian-friendly shopping streets, along with plenty of restaurants and bars. (Don't miss Place des Terreaux and its beautiful fountain)
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Old Mar 19th, 2006, 09:21 AM
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Thanks, kmflondon and hanl. Very helpful.

It sounds like doing Lyon on a Sunday would be pleasant. I assume traffic would be much lighter and I could drive in to Place Bellecour fairly easily. This would be June 11. The Sunday market sounds good. I guess it would pack up by about noon? I don't think my group would be much interested in any other sort of shopping so stores being closed would not matter much to us. I assume museums and other sites we would want to visit in Vieux Lyon would be open?

And I'm sure we could find a good restaurant open for lunch. Any suggestions around 30 euro or so? We'll probably make this our main meal of the day and have a light supper at home.

As for the route I'm thinking that we might take the more southerly one to go in. It looks like the D506 turns into the Cours Gambetta and it's a straight shot to Place Bellecour. Any one-way streets to worry about there? Then upon leaving we could take the more northerly route and, if we have time, make a quick stop in Perouges and still make it home by dinnertime.

If it turns out that we need to go on a weekday, I was considering leaving the car at the Parc Relais at the eastern end of metro line A (Laurent Bonnevay) and taking the metro in from there.

I appreciate your point of view, kmflondon, but I really would like to have our cars if they would not be too much of a nuisance, especially since I'd like to go to Perouges on the way home.

How does this sound? Does anyone see any disadvantage to going on Sunday?
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Old Mar 19th, 2006, 10:30 AM
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Some of the restaurants I usually recommend in Lyon are, unfortunately, closed on Sundays. If there are going to be 8 of you it would definitely be a good idea to book a table somewhere, as people love to eat out in Lyon so most restaurants in the centre fill up quickly at the weekend. You could do a lot worse than a pavement table at one of the Bistrots des Cuisiniers, a group of restaurants (not a chain) that operate under the sponsorship of top Lyon chef Jean-Paul Lacombe. Le Bouchon aux Vins, Le Bistrot de Lyon and Le Comptoir des Marronniers are all decent, located on pedestrian streets (great for people watching) and offering reliable 3 course menus for around 25 euros. Lots of great wines by the glass at the Bouchon aux Vins. See http://www.leondelyon.com/uk/bistrots.htm

You could also try one of the three restaurants operated by the Chabert family on rue des Maronniers (http://www.chabertrestaurant.fr/) - the Cabane des Pecheurs (fish and seafood), the Bouchon des Carnivores (meat, meat and more meat) and Chabert et Fils (traditional Lyonnais cuisine).

It's probably best to avoid the restaurants in the old town area as they are not wonderful (though they are cheap!). There used to be a couple of places that stood out from the rest, but the last couple of times we've eaten there, we've been disappointed.

As regards market closing time, stallholders usually start packing up at around 1pm, though there are always a few stragglers that are there until 2.

All the museums, sites, etc. should be open on a Sunday, though if you want to visit St Jean cathedral or the Basilica at Fourvière then obviously bear in mind that services will be held at certain times during the day. If you have time, I do recommend visiting the Roman theatres (take the funicular from Vieux Lyon metro station up to Fourvière hill, see the basilica, then walk down to the Roman theatres, then walk or funicular back down to the old town).

You're right that traffic will be fairly light in Lyon on a Sunday, except for the market areas which get quite congested. Also, in the evening the roads into the city can be quite busy with people returning from weekend trips, but as you'll be heading in the opposite direction (i.e. out of the city) it shouldn't be a problem.

The route into the centre via Cours Gambetta is the best one - as you say, it's a straight line to Place Bellecour. Note that you have to go to the far side of the Place (i.e. the western side, nearest the river saône) to access the car park.
Lyon is absolutely full of one way streets so arm yourself with a good map if you can!

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Old Mar 19th, 2006, 11:19 AM
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A big ditto to hanl's advise here:

<<You could also try one of the three restaurants operated by the Chabert family on rue des Maronniers (http://www.chabertrestaurant.fr/) - the Cabane des Pecheurs (fish and seafood), the Bouchon des Carnivores (meat, meat and more meat) and Chabert et Fils (traditional Lyonnais cuisine).

It's probably best to avoid the restaurants in the old town area as they are not wonderful (though they are cheap!). There used to be a couple of places that stood out from the rest, but the last couple of times we've eaten there, we've been disappointed. >>

I tried her suggestions of Bouchon des Carnivores and loved, loved, loved it. Like her, I was sorely disappointed in the meals I ate in the old town. And too bad because the setting is so beautiful.

Don't know how you'll do it in a day - I stayed there for 4 days and didn't get it all in, but I was doing it at a very leisurely pace.
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Old Mar 19th, 2006, 02:43 PM
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Thanks again, hanl and crepes, too. I'll check those websites. I'm sure I would love the Bouchon des Carnivores but one of our group is vegetarian, so I guess I need to find another option! I know we won't be able to do justice to Lyon in just a few hours but I reckon a taste is better than nothing.

Anyone else?
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Old Mar 20th, 2006, 06:44 AM
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TTT for the Monday morning crowd.
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Old Mar 20th, 2006, 08:04 AM
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We've eaten at both Chabert et Fils and Bouchon des Carnivores, and both are excellent. I recall that the latter had more than just meat dishes on the menu, so it may work out for your vegetarian traveler. The menus are all posted anyway, so you can decide before you go in. Also on rue des Maronniers is La Mere Jean, one of the few designated "authentic" bouchons in the city and my favorite in that area. It's more-or-less across the street (more of an alley, actually) from Carnivores.
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