The car trip from Avignon to Lyon was virtually all motorway so it wasn’t a particularly interesting road trip – albeit it was quick! They have these large service centres every 25km or so you don’t have to exit the motorway if you need a comfort / fuel / lunch stop. This saves travel time but it does mean you may miss an interesting town en route and instead end up eating at some over-priced, mediocre and crowded pit stop. Still, it does the job …
The obvious highlight was the ornate Basilique Notre Dame sited atop of Fourvière hill with its majestic views of the city. On a clear day, Mont Blanc, the highest point in Europe, can be seen in the distance. We then took the funicular down to Vieux Lyon (the old city) and spend a few hours exploring the interesting winding alleys, restaurants and shops.
Once we arrived in the city it took us a good 40 minutes to return the rental due to the traffic congestion so it wasn’t a great introduction to the city. However our hotel was located in the heart of Lyon, a stone’s throw from Place Bellecour. As we usually do when we first arrive in a new city we purchased a hop-on, hop-off bus tour. These are inexpensive and a great way to quickly orientate yourself as well as having great views from the double-decker. They also serve as great transport to getting around the city especially if you have the time.
Geoffrey, fresh from his London Marathon a couple of weeks earlier, also explored the city by running along the banks of the Rhône and Saône rivers while I explored the premium shops around Rue de la République. There are also a number of interesting markets around the city and Geoffrey mentioned the utterly modern, cool Confluences Mall situated near Lyon’s revamped docks area that he ran past.
Although Lyon is the 3rd largest city in France you can easily cover its main attractions over a few days and it is only 2 hours by fast train from Paris and even less from Marseille.
Definitely worth a visit.
If you would like more information about this destination please do not hesitate to contact me.