Straddling the mighty Rhône and Saône rivers between Burgundy and Provence, Lyon has been among France's leading cities since Roman times. In spite of its workaday, business-first facade, Lyon is France's most historic and culturally important city after Paris. You'll experience two different-as-night-and-day cities: the Old World cobbled alleys, pastel Renaissance mansions, and colorful shops of Vieux Lyon; and the more staid but classy, Paris-like buildings and shopping streets of the Presqu'île. Once you're settled, this big city feels relaxed, welcoming, and surprisingly untouristy. It seems everyone's enjoying the place — and that they're all French.
At a Glance
▲▲ Lugdunum Gallo-Roman Museum and Roman Theaters Fine museum covering Roman Lyon.
▲▲ Vieux Lyon The city's fascinating but touristy traffic-free historic core, with intriguing covered traboules (passageways).
▲ Notre-Dame Basilica Lyon's ornate version of Paris' Sacré-Cœur.
▲ Museum of Fine Arts One of France's most important fine-arts museums.
▲ Resistance and Deportation History Center Displays telling the inspirational story of the French Resistance and a powerful film about the trial of Klaus Barbie (local Gestapo leader).
▲ Lumière Museum Museum of film, dedicated to the Lumière brothers' pivotal contribution.