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javawater Jul 27th, 2003 09:29 PM

Is Lyon or nearby vicinity worth going to?
My original plan is to spend 2 weeks in Paris next summer. Now I am thinking about adding a side trip to Lyon to visit some friends before or after Paris. I will be traveling solo and my friends there may not have time during the day. Should I just make it a really short visit, or is there anything I can do around that region by myself? How long? Train/bus or car rental? Thanks!

cigalechanta Jul 27th, 2003 09:55 PM

Lyon, is one of the best places for French food, A car is desirble to visit nearby in small villages like Perouges.
I like Leon de Lyon for tasting a great Lyonnais fare. Be sure to taste a Bresse chicken, you'll never feel the same about our(assuming you live in the states)tastless bbirds.

hanl Jul 27th, 2003 11:48 PM

I may be biased (I live in Lyon!) but I think it's one of the most beautiful cities in France, and often underrated. The surrounding area is also gorgeous - Ardeche and Provence to the south, the Alps to the east, the Massif Central to the West, the Beaujolais and Burgundy regions to the north/northwest

The city itself has a lot to offer, and one of the nicest things about it is that it is not thronging with tourists.

Highlights: the Roman amphitheatres at Minimes, the Basilica at Fourvière, the Cathedral, the Place des Terreaux with its cafés and its gorgeous fountain by Bartholdi (Statue of Liberty guy), the well preserved old town with its beautiful renaissance buildings (Unesco World Heritage site), the secret passageways (traboules) linking houses and streets together, the winding streets up the slopes to the Croix-Rousse district where the silk workers used to live and practice their trade, the many stunning murals painted on buildings around the city, the Parc de la Tête d'Or with its boating lake, zoo, puppet shows and botanical gardens...

And then there's the markets - the art and crafts market on quayside by the old town on Sundays, the fruit and vegetable market on the other side of the river, the market at Place Carnot, the excellent Croix-Rousse market...

And as for the food - well, don't even get me started! There are restaurants all over the town, and with minimum research you can easily eat very well - and inexpensively - every night of the week.

Lyon is a city that reveals itself little by little as you take the time to explore. It is full of pedestrian streets, large squares full of cafés, or flower stalls, or fountains. The centre of the city is compact enough that you can easily walk from place to place, but not so small that you'll have seen everything in an afternoon.

As Cigalechanta says, a car is great if you want to visit the surrounding area. Perouges is fun for a day trip, or you can drive into the Beaujolais region visiting each of the Beaujolais villages and stopping off for dinner in the pretty medieval village of Oingt, its houses of "golden stone" (pierres dorées) perched high up overlooking the valley.

Another beautiful part of Lyon and its surrounds that many tourists don't see is the area along the banks of the Saône, as you travel north from the city. There's the Ile Barbe, a tiny wooded island in the River, where if you're feeling spiffy you can eat at Paul Bocuse's Auberge de l'Ile. Or drive a little further up river and catch a boat over to the Ile Roy where you can eat dinner in a lovely setting by the water. Or stop at any of the restaurants on the banks with their gardens and terraces, many of them offering traditional menus of frogs legs, crayfish, Bresse chicken...

Annecy is also an easy day trip from Lyon, as is Chambéry, or travelling south, the city of Vienne and St Romain en Gal, with its Roman remains. You can even take a boat trip down the Rhone to Vienne, have lunch and see a few sites, and then return by boat to Lyon.

As regards transport in general, I would suggest you take the TGV to Lyon from Paris (it's only 2 hours). If you're only going to stay for a couple of days, then don't bother hiring a car - there's enough to keep you interested in the city. However, if you plan on staying a little longer, then hire a car for one or two days. It's not particularly easy to drive in the city centre, but there are many secure parking garages around the city where you could safely leave a hire car for the night.

There. Think I covered everything. Have I convinced you?? :-D

ira Jul 28th, 2003 12:03 AM

Hi cigalechanta

How much should I expect to pay for Chicken Bresse with truffles at Leon de Lyon?

indytravel Jul 28th, 2003 07:28 AM

I was in Lyon this May for three nights and hardly scratched the surface. I could have easily spent a week there.

I stayed in a nice two star near the Perrache train station for about 45euro per night. There was a stay one week-end night get one free deal.

Lyon is the center of haute cuisine for France. I thought overall the food was better than Paris and it was easier to find a place that had excellent food than it is in Paris.

I took the train to Le Puy-en-Velay as my next destination. It could be done as a day trip. It is built on old volcanic stumps. One steep stump has a 13th century church on its top.

grandmere Jul 28th, 2003 08:04 AM

A good, reasonably priced restaurant in Lyon is La Voute, (or Chez Lea, as its commonly called, for its owner), which is known for its poulet au vinaigre.

RobynFrance Jul 28th, 2003 01:26 PM

We enjoyed Lyon very much--the above descriptions are a great start. We had a great and very reasonable meal at Le Jardin de Sylvie--put in a search for it--I posted all the info.

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