The city of Lyon became very popular to many travellers from Belfast International Airport during Summer 2016 as it was the base for the Northern Ireland team in the Euros.
However, the city is a fascinating place to visit at any time of the year. From Roman amphitheatres to funicular railways, river walks and great local markets, there are many ways to enjoy what the city has to offer.
The old city has a network of hidden covered walkways called Traboules, which date back to the 4th Century. There are over 400 of these walkways, although only a couple of dozen are open to the public as many pass through and under private houses. The Traboules were used extensively by Silk Merchants in the 19th Century as a way of ensuring they could transport their fine materials to the market, and the river, easily. The walkways connect buildings and courtyards to the river without needing to go out it the open air or use the winding, hilly and crowded streets.
The UNESCO-listed old town has a Romanesque cathedral, Medieval buildings and a number of museums. The nearby “new” city centre is home to the city Opera House, City Hall and popular Silk Museum. There are numerous guided tours available on foot, by bus, by Segway and by water.
Lyon is at a crossroads of some famous French wine regions. The Burgundy, Rhone and Provence wine routes are all within easy reach, and of course, if you aren’t able to travel to the vineyards, there are plenty of opportunities to sample the local wines within the city. One such place is “Les Halles de Lyon”, which houses over 50 specialty food shops and restaurants in the largest covered market in the country. Visitors are often advised to arrive on an empty stomach as there are many opportunities to sample local produce and they won’t leave hungry.
If wine if not to your taste, the city is becoming famous for its beer. One bar offers over 300 varieites. There are a number of breweries in the city and most have a bar/restaurant attached which offer samplers of their product.
In a city of over 2000 restaurants, a number of which are Michelin-starred, the gastronomic heart beats in is many “bouchons”. These are particular to Lyon and serve traditional Lyonnaise cuisine like Sausages, duck pate and roast pork. Make sure you research beforehand to ensure you visit a certified bouchon to ensure a truly traditional meal.
The Lyon City Card is a useful asset to acquire. The card, available for 1, 2 or 3 days, includes access to 22 museums, boat trips, unlimited access to public transport and discounts in many shops.
easyjet flies from Belfast International Airport to Lyon on Saturdays from December– April. Visit the Easyjet site for more information and to book your flights!