Lyon, France : The Highlights
Hello friends! Today’s post is going to be a super quick glimpse at our time spent in Lyon, France. This was one of those rare trips where I had decided in advance that there wouldn’t be a blog post to follow, so I wasn’t pushing myself to take creative photos or to really research every single thing. Basically: we went there to relax, and it was rather nice not to put any blog-type pressure on myself.
Of course, all this went to pot as soon as we got home & I shared these thoughts with Boyfriend, who was horrified that I wasn’t going to share some of the gems we discovered.
In fairness, I found it incredibly frustrating when I was planning our trip to Lyon that many of the blogs I normally hit up for foodie recommendations had zero posts about the so-called French capital of food. I hope this guide helps you from feeling the same.
We visited the week before Christmas and loved our time in the city. It was welcoming and beautifully quaint. We visited the Christmas markets, where we drank gluhwein while eating Nutella smeared waffles, and went sightseeing in the mildest meaning of the word. It was perfect.
Recommendations on where to stay / to have pastries / to eat dinner / to drink / and what to do are listed below. Enjoy!
WHERE TO STAY IN LYON
Mercure Beaux-Art Hotel Lyon // we found that this hotel was just a 5-minute walk to nearly everywhere we wanted to visit in the city. The location was perfect, our room was lovely, the staff were friendly. Would stay again.
WHERE TO GET PASTRIES & SNACKS IN LYON
Le Pain des Jacobins // run, don’t walk to this bakery: they make the best pastries going. We tried out loads of places for croissants etc & these guys wiped everyone else off the list. I repeat: run, don’t walk! A must visit.
Maison Pozzoli // a close second to the pastries at Le Pain des Jacobins, and that’s saying a lot. Also a very good place for a sandwich – we grabbed one to go before heading to the airport.
WHERE TO EAT DINNER IN LYON
Daniel et Denise St. Jean // our introduction into the world of the ‘bouchons’ began at this traditional restaurant tucked into Lyon’s charming old town. We loved everything, of course, but the creme brulee we shared for dessert is what I remember most.
Bouchon des Cordeliers // the most inventive menu of the trip! A particular highlight was an amazing beef cheek pumpkin risotto that was so melt-in-your-mouth good that it was probably worth going there for that alone. Added bonus: the house wine in the bouchon’s is generally quite cheap and the one we sampled here was wonderful.
Cafe Comptoir Abel // the best dinner of our trip. The traditional style of the restaurant, the authentic air to the place, the simplicity of the menu, everything. We had steak frites with potato gratin, and a portion of saint-marcellin for dessert and loved every. single. bite. Oh – the steak frites comes with a big plate of fried rice! Boyfriend was mystified and enthralled. A must visit.
WHERE TO DRINK IN LYON
Les Fleurs du Malt // an excellent place for beer! Boyfriend discovered this on our first night in Lyon and we went back every night after. Added bonus: they play heads or tails for a 2for1 pint deal, so you might spend less than you’d planned!
Bar Le Florian // wonderful cocktails. From the outside, I would agree: not very appealing. From the inside: it’s like a totally different building! Dark, romantic, intimate, cozy. The Old Fashioned was so good we asked the lovely bartender for his recipe. A must visit.
WHAT TO DO IN LYON
Musée Cinema & Miniature // the museum that just kept on giving. We loved every single aspect of it – the set designs, the movie props (Gizmo! Jurassic Park! Poe from Wonder Boys!), and the miniatures on the top floors. Honestly, this is unlike any other museum I’ve ever heard of. A must visit.
Basilica of Notre-Dame de Fourvière // a very beautiful way to spend an hour. Take the funicular up the hillside – which in itself is always a fun experience – and be awed by the beauty of the basilica, outside & in. If you’re lucky, you’ll get to sit in the back admiring the interior while the church choir sing. Don’t miss: the spectacular view over the city from behind the church!
Explore Croix-Rousse // the more bohemian side of the city. Worth a wander around just because it’s so different from the typical french boulevards – winding streets, quirky artwork dotted around, steps upon steps, and another amazing view over the city.