Lyon, more than any other city in France, embodies that illusive French "art of living" – the joyful synthesis of all that makes life worthwhile: food, wine, culture, friends and family. The Musée des Beaux-Arts is a stunning museum that showcases some of France’s finest art collection including works by Monet, Matisse and Picasso. For a breathtaking view, head to Vieux-Lyon and take a rooftop tour on the stone-sculpted roof of the Basilique Notre Dame de Fourvière, whose interior is equally worth the visit. While in Vieux-Lyon, the old town, wander around the cobbled streets and over 200 traboules, narrow Renaissance alleyways, hidden away in the city. A highlight of Lyon is its newest neighbourhood: the Confluence. This formal industrial wasteland has recently been brought back to life by a multimillion-euro urban renewal project, recognized for its cutting-edge and environmentally sustainable design. The crowning glory of the Confluence is the Musée des Confluences. This science and humanities museum is housed in a futuristic steel and glass transparent crystal-shaped building, that has become one of the city’s landmarks.
The centrepiece of the city is the Place des Terreaux, a beautiful central square with a 19th century fountain, the magnificently ornate Hôtel de Ville and the 69 granite fountain “forest” embedded in the ground by Daniel Buren. Parc de la Tête D’Or is a wonderful place to go boating on the lake, cycle along the winding pathways or have a picnic in the shade. Things don’t get much more refined in Lyon than the two-Michelin star La Mère Brazier, whose signature poached Bresse chicken with black truffles has been ever-present on the menu since Eugénie Brazier – the first woman to attain three stars – opened the restaurant back in 1921.
Lyon is also home to the bouchon, homely, idiosyncratic establishments that tend to specialize in the type of grub that your grandmother might prepare, and some she might not, like andouillette (hot cooked tripe sausage) and lambs feet. Two of the most enjoyable bouchons are Daniel et Denise, known for its sensational paté en croute (crusty foie gras and sweetbread paté), and the all-female run Les Bouchons des Filles, whose house speciality is a mouth-watering Croustille de Bodin aux Pommes (black pudding with apple and herbs wrapped in pastry). With Lyon’s smorgasbord of quality restaurants, the recommendations are endless. With outstanding museums, a dynamic cultural life, fantastic shopping and world-renowned gastronomic experiences, you will never be bored!