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Lyon in France, is it worth visiting?

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Jan 19th, 2013, 01:07 PM
  #1
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Lyon in France, is it worth visiting?

My husband and I are doing a self drive tour of France, and this is our first time in Europe. I was planning a drive from Beaune to Lyon for a 1 day/1night stopover in Lyon before we drive on to Annecy. After doing some reading, I have noticed that Lyon is a very large city, and not easy to get in and out of.
I was just wondering if there is anything in Lyon that is really a must see, or are we better avoiding it and finding other places or having the extra day in Annecy?
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Jan 19th, 2013, 01:11 PM
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You might ant to by-pass Lyon, and see some of the area between Lyon and Geneva

The pcitures are geo-tagged so that they can be located on a map.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/mksfca/...th/4861339700/
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Jan 19th, 2013, 01:16 PM
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ira
 
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Hi sq,

Driving into the city wasn't at all bad. We did it without a GPS.

Here's what I wrote about our visit to Lyon.

We stayed at the *Axotel Perache*
(http://www.hotel-lyon.fr/axotel/axotel_perrache_acc.htm ) - less than a 10-min walk from the Train/Metro/Tram station.

Using a conveniently located open space on the street, we checked in, unloaded the car, and took our things up to our Prestige room. This turned out to be a very nice place to stay. Our room was large, with a living room section with a coach easy chair, desk and chair. Beds were comfy. Facilities were new. The hotel has "parking available", but not its own garage.

Using directions from one of the very helpful ladies at the reception desk, I drove SB through the truck depot area to a gas station (very reasonable rates) and back up to the Eurocar office at Gare Perache. The depot area is a sort of dreary place, but is populated by a fairly large number of very friendly presentable young women (some of them very young). All of them took time from their busy schedules to smile and wave at me. Who says that the French are standoffish and formal?

Having unloaded the car, my Lady Wife and I wandered the immediate neighborhood until it was time to get ready for dinner.

*George's* (http://www.brasseriegeorges.com/ ) is several minutes walk from the hotel. It is a very large room, dating from far back enough to have been renovated in Empire, Art Nouveau and Art Deco styles. The staff is very well trained. Watching them navigate among the tables is like being at a stage show. Not one dropped dish all night.

Roberta had the "The Traditional" seafood plateau - 25E - 2 ea of 3 kinds of oysters, 3 mussels, 4 snails, 3 red shrimp, 3 grey shrimp, a bowl of periwinkles, a bowl of teeny, weeny shrimpies (sort of like popcorn), lots of bread, butter and the usual condiments. The oysters were particularly good.

I had the "Menu Lyonnais" - 25E - A salad with herring, lentils, greens, beans and calf's foot (XLNT), Choucroute of smoked fish (Yes, you can mix fish with sauerkraut), cheese, Rhum Baba for dessert. With aperitifs and a bottle of dry Muscadet fuisse -100E.

The hotel's buffet breakfast was quite pleasant. We then visited the outdoor market on rue Charlemagne and then on to the metro.

At the Perache Metro, we bought day passes - 4.5 pp - and headed up to the Old Town. We arrived at the Cathedral St. Jean le Baptiste in time to watch the clock strike 12:00. Very interesting. After that, we had a snack in the square and went on to Le Fourviere. Very impressive. We had a very nice walk down from the hilltop.

Dinner was at the hotel. At the time, the kitchen was still a work in progress. If it gets itself squared away, it will be a very nice, reasonably priced resto.

>this is our first time in Europe.<

What's the rest of your itinerary?

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Jan 19th, 2013, 01:36 PM
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Michael - thanks for your reply - your photos are amazing - and I would love to see some of those sights. ( I am not sure what geo tagging is so am not sure where the photos were taken).

Ira - thanks also for your reply, and that is a great trip report.
Our itenary is the following - fly into Charles De Gaulle, pick up car, drive to Rouen - 1 night. Drive on to Honfleur for 1 night. Bayeaux for 1 night. Dinan for 1 night. Vannes for 2 nights. Loire Valley 2 nights. Beaune for 2 nights. Then the plan was Lyon for 1 night, onto Annecy for 2 nights.
Then onto Clermont Ferrand 1 night, Sarlat for 2 nights.
We then have 1 week with friends in Minerve, during which time we will be based in 1 place and explore the South of France. From there we drive to Avignon, leave the car, next morning AVG train to Arras for 5 day tour of the Somme. Last 4 nights will be in Paris.
I know we will be on the road a lot and pushing it, but we will adjust if necessary, only the first 3 nights accomodation is booked as we are arriving over the Easter weekend. The week at Minerve, the tour and Paris also booked.
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Jan 19th, 2013, 01:42 PM
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I think it's up to you as to whether anything in Lyon is a "must see", that's just subjective. It's a large enough city that a decent guidebook to France will list the main tourist sites of interest. I like it, it's a very nice city and has an interesting old town plus cathedral on a hill, and several good museums and a river. There is one must see in the city, actually, but if you have to ask, it won't be a must-see to you or you'd know about it. That is their textile museum (Musee des Tissues), which is one of the best in the world IMO. They actually have one of Charles de Blois' pourpoints in there!!! And the city has a strong history in the textile trade and silk industry, there is also a silk museum. As I said, if you don't know about these, I'm sure they aren't a particular interest of yours (they are mine so I had to go).

And the Lyon Opera is very well-known, of course, and they have a fountain with a sculpture by Bartholdi in the main square outside City Hall, which is quite impressive (all of that, the square and city hall). Of course they are known for their cuisine, but I'll admit, it's not my favorite type.

it is a large city, but is easy to get in and out of by public transportation, of course.
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Jan 19th, 2013, 01:47 PM
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Thanks for that information Christina, I had read of the textile museum, but I doubt that we would be interested in that.
I had read that Lyon was the gastronomic capital of France, but coming from Australia, I think that any of the French cuisine, in any of the regions, is going to be different for us and be enough to enjoy.
We will have a car, so that is our concern about driving into a large city, that we may not be able to find our way around so easily.
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Jan 19th, 2013, 01:48 PM
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Well, you're all over the map already, so why not stop in Lyon, too? It's a major destination in the area, with hundreds of attractions. Not any harder to get into and out of than Rouen or Clermont-Ferrand.
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Jan 19th, 2013, 01:53 PM
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Do you think our itenary is too packed and too unrealistic? It is hard to know when sitting down looking at a map, a book and the internet only, not having any experience of travelling in Europe before.
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Jan 19th, 2013, 02:08 PM
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Yes, I do think it's packed and unrealistic. You're going to be stuck in a car watching all of France out the window for most of each day, then checking into hotels, unpacking, and trying to get your bearings, and then it will be time to move on...over and over and over again. Certainly not my idea of a fun time in France.
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Jan 19th, 2013, 02:09 PM
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What would you take out of it?
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Jan 19th, 2013, 02:12 PM
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Lyon is to me one of the most underrated large cities in Europe - a spectacular setting where two large rivers gush together - a stellar old town known for its maze of intimate alleys - just a very pleasant city - the best to me outside of Paris for a large city.

There are few must sees at least in terms of blockbuster sights but the Old Town itself IMO is a must see - also nice parks and a very famous pilgrimage church you can take a funicular up to from the Old Town.

I stayed in Lyon for a few weeks once and never got bored.
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Jan 19th, 2013, 02:16 PM
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Yes, I think you are moving around way too much and trying to pack too much into the beginning of your trip. For starters you fly into CDG and pick up a car and drive to Rouen. Will this have been an overnight flight where you may arrive at CDG not very rested? It's certainly doable, but then you do a series of one or two night stands which will not allow you to really see or enjoy any of the cities you rush thru. Plus how to adjust to the time change moving that quickly? I don't know the area you are traveling in during the beginning of your trip so I will leave to others to guide you on specific changes to make, but I would definitely change the first 10-12 days of your trip. Pick a couple places and stay put - perhaps do day trips, but don't move around every day.
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Jan 19th, 2013, 02:56 PM
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The way I read your itinerary, you are heading to 11 places in 16 days (before you head to Minerve). Even if that is physically possible, it's going to be totally unpleasant.

Personally, I'd completely revise the entire plan, but if I had to stick with your general outline, I'd drop Brittany, stay in Bayeux for 3 nights instead of roaming all over Normandy for one-night stands, drop Clermont-Ferrand and Sarlat, spend at least two nights each in Lyon and Beaune...and just generally speaking, plan to spend at least three nights in one place.
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Jan 19th, 2013, 03:23 PM
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Yes our flight into CDG is an overnight, and we figured that if we do the drive to Rouen this would not be too far to go when we are tired, hence our choice here.
Is Brittany not worth the drive? We could adjust this part of the trip, and not go to Vannes.
We do have 2 nights in Beaune already.
Sarlat was on my list of places I really wanted to see, or is that over-rated?
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Jan 19th, 2013, 03:27 PM
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Brittany is worth the drive if you plan to stay a week or more.

No, Sarlat isn't over-rated (ha!)...it's just that you're trying to cram all of France into one trip, and the Dordogne deserves at least a week. You're not going to have a minute to actually experience anything other than scenery flying by a car window. Instead of hopping from one place to the next, take a few long drives, settle in somewhere, get to know it a bit, and branch out from there for day trips if inclined.
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Jan 19th, 2013, 03:48 PM
  #16
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Do you think there is any other way of including both the Dordogne and Annecy in our plans, to then get to Minerve. Unfortunately, that week is set and cannot be changed. Our must see is also the Loire Valley.
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Jan 19th, 2013, 04:11 PM
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I am not sure what geo tagging is so am not sure where the photos were taken).

When you look at an individual photo, but not full-screen, you can see on the right side information on where the photo was taken. Click on the pink dot and you'll get a map that can be enlarged or reduced as necessary.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/mksfca/...57624529919999
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Jan 19th, 2013, 04:22 PM
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Hi
I am planning to take my family (including two teenagers) to Europe this summer. We'll need to go to Barcelona for an event. After that, we want to visit France. We are thinking about flying to Nice then make our way toward Paris via TGV. We are thinking about visiting Lyon or Avignon, but are flexible. Any recommendation for places to visit would be greatly appreciated. Would it be better to rent a car and drive from Nice to Avignon/Lyon or take the train.

Thanks in advance.
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Jan 19th, 2013, 04:30 PM
  #19
ira
 
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Hey P,

You will do better if you start your own thread.

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Jan 19th, 2013, 04:31 PM
  #20
ira
 
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Hi SQ,

I suggest that you take StC's advice and rethink your itinerary.

What you have now is a trek, not a visit.

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