In February this year, Agnieszka and I went to Lyon, the third largest city in France, to spend Valentine’s Day there. We had the opportunity to relax and spend more time together after quite intense months.
In this post I will show from our perspective places that are worth visiting and I will try to throw some practical advice. Let’s start with the basics.
Lyon in February is an opportunity for cheap flights to France
As usual, we used one of the opportunities found on the web, because we prefer to visit several places without spending too much, than to go once a year for expensive holidays. This time it was Agnieszka who came across cheap flights with Wizzair from Warsaw on the blog https://podrozezhubertem.pl . In addition, we used the Wizz Discount Club and for PLN 330 we had Warsaw-Lyon round-trip tickets and 20 kg of checked baggage. Sometimes just choosing a card for more expensive tickets returns the cost of WDC, so it is worth checking whether it is worth throwing it into the basket when buying tickets.
With hand luggage alone it would be even cheaper, but according to the new procedures without Priority, you can only have 1 piece of luggage on board or checked in free of charge.
– If you have not purchased the WIZZ Priority service and the dimensions of your hand luggage exceed 40x30x18 cm, you must check it in free at the check-in desk and pick it up at the baggage belt at the destination airport – informs Wizz Air – If your hand luggage is smaller than 40x30x18 cm, you can take it on board the plane, but it must be placed under the seat – the new rules read. (“Wizz Air is also changing its cabin baggage rules! A cumbersome fix, but …”)https://www.fly4free.pl/wizz-air-obowiazkowe-nadanie-bagazu-podrecznego/
Free Revoult multi-currency card
Before traveling to another country, it is also worth thinking about a multi-currency card. The most popular and proven solution is Revolut. You don’t even need to have a physical card if you’re using phone payments. If you want to withdraw cash, it is worth ordering a physical card at least a week in advance, which is often offered free of charge. Its possession does not involve any fees. You can create an account for free by clicking on the button below.
Lyon City Card – cheap museums and transport
On the occasion of reductions in travel costs , it is sometimes worth using special cards for tourists. Already before departure we ordered City Card where for 4 days for 51.9 euros we had at our disposal a package containing public transport (metro, tram, buses, cable car and water tram), access to 23 museums, one guided tour to choose from, admission to puppet shows and many other attractions with a large discount. Sometimes these are discounts, but what is more interesting does not include a surcharge.
Renting a Segway, traveling by special bus, or dinner at a restaurant at the station are often discounted.
It is easy to calculate that the card will quickly return by visiting such a city as:
- Confluence Museum – 9 euros
- Museum of Cinema and Miniatures – 9.5 euros
- (mini) Doll Museum – 5 euros
- Mini World Lyon – 6 euros
- Lumiere Brothers Museum (first filmmakers) – 7 euros
- Gallo-Roman Museum – 4 euros
and using a 3-day ticket for communication for 16 euros.
You can count that it is not difficult to go to zero for 4 days with such a card. And you can buy it even for a day. Although, if someone wants to visit the Confluence Museum or other attractions in great detail and can spend a few good hours there, then maybe it will not come out as a plus.
You can order the card in advance by mail home and use it within 18 months. By the way, it is worth noting that you can activate on it separately tickets to museums and a public transport ticket. We picked up ours at the information point at the airport with a set of guides and maps.
Lyon Airport Transfer
It is also important to get from the airport to the city, because as it happens with cheap flights. Here you can sail a bit like a pseudo-taxi from Modlin to the center of Warsaw and give more for it than for a ticket. Just in the period in which we were going, the bus that goes from the airport did not work, and the two of us did not pay to take a taxi. So we went to the queue.
By train to the center
Here we did not find a better alternative than RhoneXpress , which for two people in both directions counted us 53 euros. We bought tickets late, because you can get better prices a few months in advance.
The plus of this transport is that it is a high-speed tram that runs every 15 minutes and reaches the center in 30 minutes, 7 days a week from 4:25 to midnight. So there should be no surprises, such as that we are stuck in a traffic jam, the driver is late, or we did not have time for the transport, which is every hour. By the way, we got off in the Vaulx-en-Velin district at the metro station and very close to our Airbnb apartment, to which we still had a 10-15 minute walk.
Cheap accommodation in the suburbs of Lyon
Although we wanted to visit Lyon in February Lyon prices in the vicinity of the center for some better place started on Airbnb from 1200 PLN, not to mention Booking, where you could easily spend 1500 PLN in a week for a hostel or hotel. So for 900 zł we rented a piece from the center a very pleasant and nice place with its own bathroom in Vaulx-en-Velin and very good access. We had a very nice host there, which allowed us to settle in earlier than we expected and was there to help if something was wrong – e.g. WiFi got off. He also left funny notes so that we could handle everything.
In the Vaulx-en-Velin district where we stayed, there were a few pluses:
- Métro Vaulx-en-Velin La Soie (A)
- bus terminus
- metro station towards the center
- great pubs in the area
- Carrefour and Mini World Lyon
Only once did we have a problem, returning from a party in La Sucre in the Confluence district, where we already had to order Bolt to return, but on the way at least we ate a delicious pizza.
And besides, we had everywhere close to get there, eat or shop.
Free tour of Lyon with Free Walking Tour
According to our plan, the first point after sleeping off the flight and getting to know the area was to take advantage of the Free Walking Tour . If someone does not know what it is, I already explain.
How does the Free Walking Tour work?
In short, these are trips with a local guide, for which you theoretically do not pay, but if someone liked it, he leaves a tip to the guide. For guides, maybe it’s risky, because he can make a trip for free and lose only time, but if he is good at it, he can also gain a lot. People using this form of sightseeing also do not have the risk that they will pay for a trip that will not take place or will be super boring.
Of course, you have to reckon with the fact that the guide will not provide us with tickets for travel or entrance to local attractions that are paid. However, it can always show us the direction where we can then go on our own.
Visiting Vieux-Lyon with Paul
There can be several sightseeing and guide options depending on the city. With Agnieszka we decided to visit the old city of Lyon – Vieux-Lyon. Looking at the reviews on TripAdvisor, we came across Paul from free Tour Lyon, with whom we met in front of the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist (just like the hero of perfume), where we made a small introduction to get to know each other a little. Interestingly, Paul is not French and has already lived in many different places on earth, but he found Lyon to be the coolest place to live he has ever found himself in. It seems to me that there is a lot of truth in this. If you meet him in Lyon, he will be happy to tell you why.
Visiting with Paul we visited a lot of interesting points on the map of the old town and a few also on its other side. Guided tours allow you to find out a lot of interesting facts about each of the places and get some interesting tips. I will not reveal details, but I assure you that it is worth it if you like unknown corners of cities and the so-called urban-flavour. 😉
Traboules – secret passages
One of the curiosities in this district are the numerous corridors and passages called Traboules, which connect the streets and courtyards. There are a lot of them, but not everyone can be entered, unless someone knows how. Some are more or less popular, but you need to know that local residents of the city still live there. And it may happen that being loud you can hit something in the head – without going into details, but we were close. Visiting Lyon in February, there are not many tourists in these streets, but I guess there may be small wars there in the season.
Lyon was famous for weaving silk and we also learned a little about it, as well as what the local residents ate. Some things are delicacies for them, but they can also look as appetizing as Scottish Hagis. So it is worth checking on the Internet what we want to order, because you can really be surprised.
After all the sightseeing, we received some more nice advice, said goodbye and left a tip for Paul. We immediately went to visit inside a few places that he showed us.
Puppet theatres in Lyon
Lyon will become famous not only for the production of silk but also for puppet theaters. To this day, on the streets of the city in front of the residents there is the famous puppet Guignol who today, as in the past, is the main character of the performances.
We came across one of these puppet theaters at the Lyon Zoo, where a performance was taking place. There are reportedly a lot of them in the whole city, but February may not be the puppet season yet.
You will find the Museum of Puppets and Puppets in Lyon in the old town, but do not expect it to be a few hours of sightseeing. The museum is located at the back of the store. There you can buy a lot of souvenirs, dolls and recently fashionable music boxes that play familiar melodies from movies, etc. (you will find for pennies on Aliexpress). For sightseeing we have the back of the store and its basement, in which the next parts of the exhibition are automatically launched.
It is worth choosing the language of the teacher on a special screen at the beginning of the tour. If you want to hear the story of the dolls from Lyon in the English version (there is no Polish yet). The museum is constructed in such a way that at the right moments we heard a description of what we see.
Museum of Miniatures and Film in Lyon
Probably one of the most interesting places in Lyon. You can see here a lot of costumes and props from many famous films that are really extra (except for the terminator made of plasticine). There is also an exhibition dedicated to miniatures. You will find scenes prepared in such detail that at first glance they can be confused with normal scenes. The museum is walked in a zigzag between two parts of the red building connected by a terrace, which often appears in guidebooks.
In both parts of the exhibition you can discover how much detail is needed to create all this. I was most impressed by the most disgusting fragments of the exhibition, but also the beginning associated with the film Perfume is very impressive .
Looking at the above photos, do you have the impression that these are photos of ordinary rooms? Look at the details, and then imagine that they are the size of 1-4 shoe boxes.
The largest square in Lyon – Bellacour
Bellacour is the largest square in the city, which is 300 by 200 meters long, although there is not much on it. After leaving the subway, a huge Ferris wheel, a monument and several small buildings immediately catch the eye. We will find there primarily a tourist information office (open during the week), an exit from the subway and a monument to a horse guy.
On Bellacour Square we have the possibility of convenient transfers, because two metro lines intersect here and we have a lot of bus stops. You can immediately start exploring the main streets of the center or go to the other side and visit the old town and the Fourvenire hill.
For us, it was a frequent transfer and orientation point. This is the so-called zero kilometer of Lyon, from which the distance in all directions counts. There was also a ride on the Ferris wheel, where Agnieszka almost died of fear instead of admiring the views.
One of the must-see places on the map of Lyon is the Fourviere hill, which is easy to see due to the Basilica otre-Dame de Fourvière visible from afar and, as some call it, the local Eiffel Tower – Tour Metalique.
Kolejka Vieux-Lyon – Cathédrale Saint-Jean
The fastest way to get to the hill is one of the two queues. One of them is to the right of the entrance and goes in the direction of Cathédrale Saint-Jean, it is its only stop to which it runs back and forth. The second queue goes further but passes the top of the hill.
If you have a Lyon City Card , you can get in, and if you don’t, you can buy tickets in front of the gates. From our experience, it is good to have them because during the week-long stay we met the controllers three times.
Basilica of Notre-Dame de Fourvière
From what we learned on the Free Walking Tour, the basilica was created from the collection of hybrids in the years 1872 – 1896 – such crowdfunding of that time. You can go inside without tickets, but there is already a paid museum downstairs. If you are not a big fan of sacred architecture, you can immediately go to the right, from where you can admire the panorama of Lyon.
Panorama of Lyon
The panorama of Lyon is to the right of the basilica. From this place we have a view of the entire center and the other side of the city. Apparently, in good weather, you can see from there the peak of Mont Blanc, which is approx. 200 km away. If anything, there is of course binoculars for small things, so you can check it.
After seeing the panorama of the city, we went deep into the hill, which was, or maybe is, usually calm. Unfortunately, the so-called local Eiffel Tower is not accessible to tourists. So we went towards the Roman theater and the museum. By the way, we passed another viewpoint on the bridge and a beautiful historic cemetery.
Gallo-Roman Museum and Roman Theatre
One of the most interesting places on the Fourviere is the Roman Theatre. Not only is it a historic pile of stones, which was created in 15 AD. BC, but arouses admiration to this day. The theatre is still used for festivals, concerts and performances. It can accommodate up to several thousand spectators.
Roman Theatre in Lyon
The journey through the museum begins very interestingly. As in the Polin Museum in Warsaw, but further, as in most museums, there are mainly exhibits and tablets to read. More or less interesting installations, but rather do not encourage you to spend the whole day there.
We walked through the museum rather superficially, with small stops. If you do not have much time to explore, all you need is a view of the theater itself. You also have to pay for admission to the museum. Unless you have a Lyon City Card, then you have a free entrance and audio guide in English.
Return by train
From the Fourviere hill you can walk down towards the centre. However, there is a second line of the queue, which starts from the same point as the first one towards the cathedral, only this one goes all the way to the suburbs. It is located just below the museum and theater, looking towards the center.
Fourviere at night
It is also worth going to the hill at night and admire from there the night panorama of the city and the great mill that hangs around in Bellecour Square. After such a visit, we went for a walk in the direction of Vieux-Lyon (old town) along the slope just below the Basilica of Notre-Dame de Fourvière and went for dinner at the recommended café du Soleil restaurant.
Café du Soleil
If you want to find local delicacies, if you like to eat strange local delicacies, if you are not afraid of strange dishes then you must visit Café du Soleil. The portions are really huge there, so it’s worth stocking up on an empty belly before coming there.
Confluence > Wilanów District
At the confluence of the Rhône-Saône rivers south of central Lyon is the modern Conflucence district, famous for its futuristic architecture. Previously, it was an industrial area full of factories, but it was urbanized in a very thoughtful way to create a place that is ecological and open to people.
Old factories were turned into fashionable clubs, and the place of factories was replaced by unique residential, service and administrative buildings filled with paths and greenery. If someone is raving about Wilanów in Warsaw, he can stop.
Unfortunately, I didn’t take too many photos, because I felt sorry because of the broken screen in Olympus. 🙁
One of the most fancy buildings in the Confluence district is the museum of the same name. Stety (unfortunately) I will show you only a few photos from the inside, because as you know – what counts is the “middle”. In the Confluence Museum you can spend a total of the whole day or more. To look at them from the outside with delight certainly much shorter.
With the Lyon City Card – entry to all exhibitions is free. Without a card 9 euros.
Aquarium of Lyon
Another place you can visit is the Lyon Aquarium, which is located just across the river. Here you can see not only colorful fish, nemo and sharks. Here we also came across the ugliest and strangest sea creatures we have seen live. And I had the opportunity to stroke the starfish.
Unfortunately, here the Lyon City Card gives you only a few euros discount. It should also be borne in mind that at the beginning of the tour they can invite you for quick photos, which can be picked up at the exit. Unfortunately, as it turns out, you have to give 15 euros for each printed photo, so think about whether you really need it.
I said that we are with Polish and 15 euros is a lot for us. For so much you can eat dinner and we chose probably from 10 photos … So we got a few more variants, but each in terms of zlotys seemed ridiculous, looking at the price of tickets. I think the idea is good, but for locals, Europeans or guests from the States.
Scrolling through the center several times for sure. It is here that the nightlife of the city takes place, you can also eat well, but not necessarily cheaply. There are plenty of chain stores and boutiques of well-known premium brands, but also many interesting places that are worth visiting. One of them was cloitre de l’Hotel-Dieu, which was once a hospital – we visited during the Free Walking Tour with Paul. In addition, it is worth seeing there:
- Bellacour Square, which I have already mentioned
- Opera House
- Terreaux Square close to the Opera House. In the square there is the Bartholdfountain and, which in my opinion is prettier than Di Trevi in Rome
- A great tree consisting of flowers
- Even the main station has an interesting installation that looks like a command center in a Si-Fi movie
If you are looking for a nice place for pizza, we recommend you to visit Italian Trattoria . It may not be French, but it’s definitely worth eating.
Not only the center…
If you have some time to explore, and your assumption is not to make a plan “Lyon in 24 hours”, then it is worth taking a little walk and getting to know other parts of the city. In the center there is something to see. Usually on top will be McDonald’s and all tourism, which, after all, in Lyon you do not feel as much as in the capitals of Europe.
The world of miniatures in Lyon
Spending Valentine’s Day in Lyon , it is definitely worth visiting the Mini World Lyon , which consists of permanent and temporary exhibitions. Its area is over 3000m2 and it is the largest park of this type in France.
The first of them is a real masterpiece. It is literally a mini world in which you can travel through 4 worlds – city, mountains and countryside. Next are the Mini Lyon exhibitions and temporary exhibitions. On the first 4 you can look for a lot of funny references to movies, series, comics, cartoons. Surprises hidden throughout the exhibition among the 70,000 inhabitants of this mini-world. In addition, we have a division into day and night, which can be felt not only by darkening the exhibition, but also by lightingup dozens of thousands of lights!
A large part of the exhibition is interactive and at the barriers you can find buttons that activate its fragments. When there are a lot of people, it’s sometimes hard to figure out what’s going on when you press a button, but it’s a bit of fun. Just like with hidden scenes and colorful creatures on the map. To find all the flavors, you have to spend a lot of time there.
During our Valentine’s Day visit, we still had the opportunity to see a temporary exhibition made of Lego bricks, but it was not as exciting as the permanent exhibition. In addition, still unattended children tinkered with her.
During our Valentine’s Day visit, we still had the opportunity to see a temporary exhibition made of Lego bricks, but it was not as exciting as the permanent exhibition. In addition, still unattended children tinkered with her.
Tickets to Mini World Lyon
It is worth buying tickets in advance on this website . Admission for adults starts from 13 euros, but if we choose the date of the visit, or 16 euros without reservation. There are also family packages and the possibility of renting a guide for a group of more than 4 people.
With the Lyon City Card , entry is free, without reservation. 😎
Valentine’s Day in Lyon
Valentine’s Day was our second anniversary, but we started celebrating before midnight on February 13. I decided to make Agnieszka a small surprise and took her for dinner to a restaurant with a view of the center and the old town. The food was insane and the staff was incredibly polite. We will never forget that day.
By the way, I also had another small surprise for Agnieszka, but maybe you can guess it from the photos.
After all, we walked a large part of the city to burn some calories and get to know some nightlife while drinking beer in local bars. The next day, calmly, we went to the museum of the Lumiere brothers.
Musée of the Lumière brothers in Lyon
No longer in the center, but closer to our accommodation was the museum of the Lumière brothers, who initiated the art of film. The museum is located in a very nicely preserved building, where a lot of interesting equipment that they used has been preserved.
In addition to cameras, there are other different devices that use optics or set images in motion using various techniques. You can try to use a spinning night light in which animations appear, or see the equipment for photographing and projecting 360 images.
It is hard to believe that they had already discovered such techniques at that time.
The beginnings of Street View
And this is what the first 360 photography camera created by the Lumière brothers looks like.
After all, I handed Agnieszka flowers. Look how happy she is. 🙂
Lyon Botanical Garden
If you like nature and spending time outdoors, it is worth visiting the Parc de la Tête d’Or where there is a botanical garden and a zoo. You have free access to all places, because from the cash register they will want to milk you at the stands with waffles, cotton candy and souvenirs for children.
The zoo is quite extensive and we probably haven’t seen much in it, but it’s a great place to walk if the weather is good. Unfortunately, we came across a terrible wind.
The hipster district of Croix-Rousse
If you have to do some hunting, eat kale and drink Prosecco, then you have to go to the north of Lyon to the Croix-Rousse district. You can take a walk there on a special line C, whose line intersects with line A at the Hotel de Ville station. You can also get off at the Hotel de Ville station next to the National Opera building and go for a walk there.
We took the train to the last Cuire station, from where we went down, towards the center. We did a little shopping there for the evening in the Monoprix store and visited one of the local Momento cafes, where we signed up for coffee and ate delicious krułasanty.
Next, we wanted to wander a bit in the streets full of bars and pubs and then visit two famous murals – Fresque des Lyonnais and Mur des Canuts, which is the largest and most interesting in the city. Going down we passed the Amphitheater of the Three Gauls, but it was too dark to admire it.
Mural Mur des Canuts in Lyon
One of the most interesting murals we have seen. A very detailed and detailed picture of the everyday life of the city’s inhabitants. At night, it is additionally enriched by the play of lights that illuminate it so that they add even more realism and space to this work of art, which is this mural. Just like in Mini World, there are also a lot of details that you can look for before moving on.
Mural fresque des Lyonnais in Lyon
If you go down, the next mural will be for you a little smaller, but equally interesting depicting the life of the inhabitants mural Fresque des Lyonnais.
La sucre Nightclub
After the trip to Croix-Rousse , we returned to our place to rest and a little before going to the club La Sucre . The club is located in the Confluence district and as the name suggests, it is located in an old sugar factory. From what I’ve heard, there is a conference and fair center downstairs and a club upstairs.
We bought tickets in advance for the mini club event, where Vladimir Ivkovic was to play. February was not yet the peak of the season, but the club quickly filled up, and we played until 3 am.
Below you have a map where you can see the club La Sucre . Next to it is also Azar Club , which looks very interesting inside, but has a lot of bad reviews. After all, the queue to this club was quite large.
Where in Lyon to eat pizza at night?
Around 3 a.m. we went for pizza to Amigo Pizza , where they serve a night gouge. The place is tiny, because they rather focus on supplies for people who need night calories, but this is not the center, so at least there was a place to sit. I ordered a burger with fries, and Agnieszka a small pizza. Everything was so good that we still had a plan to order for dinner, but they open only between 18:00 and 4:00 at night.
The Phantom of the Opera
Another place worth visiting in the evening is The Phantom of the Opera bar, which is located a bit from the National Opera in Lyon.
Hôtel de Ville de Lyon
In addition to the State Opera, you can also visit terraux Square, where the Hôtel de Ville de Lyon, the Bartholdi fountain and the Museum of Fine Arts are located.
We had a departure from Lyon very early in the morning, but fortunately we mixed up close to the Rhone-Express station, from which we quickly got to the airport a lot ahead of time. Here, compared to Chopin Airport, we noticed that the control takes place a little differently. Everyone gets their own zone where they put their luggage, they also have a great X-ray and random control of bags. Agnieszka was asked by the way to x-ray her shoe in a special machine. She could not quite understand the French airport employee and accidentally the whole thing entered this machine. 🙂
- Instagram Story – bonus materials
- Lyon City Card
- TCL public transport price list
- Transfer Airport-Center – Rhonexpress
- Our Google Map with places
- Free Revolut Card
What to photograph on the go?
You often ask me what I photograph on trips and a lot of people think that I take a SLR camera with me as usual. Well, no! During each trip, I focus on mobility and the possibility of rest. Although I work with a bag of equipment on two cameras with bright stools, lamps and other accessories attached, on trips I usually use one small Opympus mirrorless camera OM-D E-M5 Mark II now replaced by OM-D E-M5 Mark III with lens Olympus M.Zuiko 25mm with 1.8 light or regular phone iPhone X.
I think it’s a great camera because of its size and weight. I bought it in a set with a great zoom, but I sold it and bought in its place a small 25 mm fixed focal length lens which gives approx. 50 mm for full frame. E-M5 Mark II has two knobs – for time and aperture as in a professional SLR, it has great matrix stabilization and sealed body. If you want something simpler, there is a lot of this type of equipment, i.e. for example, E-M10 Mark II or III.
If you have any questions about what to choose, feel free to write .
So that the photos do not differ too much, as far as possible I try to shoot in RAW on Olympus and in the iPhone use the Adobe Lightroom Mobile application, which also gives a lot of possibilities and saving in DNG (such raw Adobe). Thanks to this procedure at home, I can dress up all the photos together and make a coherent processing on the computer.
Recently, I’ve also been experimenting with an iPad card reader, where I’d like to rip photos from Olympus through the reader on the fly and combine them into one collection in Lightroom Mobile, where I save photos from my phone.