There was a time when flights to Lyon were only taken by those in the know; this was very much one of France’s best-kept secrets, overlooked by the masses for Paris, the south of France, or the Alps. Turns out the Lyonnais were keeping the city, with its amazing food, fantastic culture, beautiful climate, and exceptional history, all to themselves. One short stroll around the Unesco World Heritage Site that is the Old Town confirms why: it’s picturesque, vibrant, and fascinating without being overly touristy. Lyon is a city to live in, as well as visit.
One of the biggest draws of this beautiful French city is its dining scene, which some will argue is the best in France—and that’s saying something. Celebrity chefs and Michelin-starred restaurants seem to be around every corner; you could easily spend most of your vacation budget just on dining out. For those who want somewhere more modest but equally pleasing to eat, the city has scores of bouchons (taverns) that host locals who are not averse to chipping in with the cooking and general service.
When you’re not enjoying Lyon’s restaurants, cafes, or lounges, there’s a lot of sightseeing to be done. The city’s museums and festivals reflect its status as a place of genuine culture and innovation; this, after all, is where cinema was born (and the Musée Lumière is a must-see attraction for all moviegoers). Lyon is also where you’ll find the largest collection of Impressionist art outside Paris, at Musée des Beaux Arts.
Even its soccer team, Olympique Lyonnais, moved to a spectacular new stadium after winning its only first league title in 2002. Once it’s on the rise, there’s no stopping this place.