France’s second city may not have the romance or glamour of Paris but what it lacks in photo opportunities, it more than makes up for with its cosmopolitan and forward-thinking spirit, world-class museums and gastronomic reputation to rival – some would say outstrip – the capital. The opening this month of the Musée des Confluences (museedesconfluences.fr), a science centre and anthropology museum in a futuristic steel-and-glass building, is the latest stage in an ambitious regeneration project which is creating a new neighbourhood on the peninsula where the Rhône and the Saône rivers meet.
What to do?
Take a walking tour of the city’s “traboules” – a network of covered corridors built by silk weavers in the 19th century (en.lyon-france.com). Stock up on cheese, charcuterie and praline tarts at the weekend food market on Boulevard de la Croix-Rousse. This historic neighbourhood is also home to some of the best shops and cafés in the city. The extraordinary collection of art and sculpture at the Musée des Beaux-Arts (mba-lyon.fr) is second only to the Louvre, while architecture lovers will enjoy the adventurous new buildings springing up in the new Confluence district (lyon-confluence.fr).
Where to stay?
Hip budget hotel chain Mama Shelter chose Lyon for the opening of its fourth Philippe Starck-designed property last year (from €69, mamashelter.com/lyon).
Where to eat?
Lyon is famous for its “bouchons” – cosy dining rooms serving hearty regional fare such as tripe, roast pork and quenelles. Bouchon des Filles is one of the most creative, putting a modern spin on classic Lyonnaise dishes (20, rue Sergent Blandan).
“Walk up the Montée de la Grande Côte, home to artisans and independent shops,” says Lucy Vanel, owner of cookery school Plum Lyon (plumlyon.com). “Get a panoramic view of the city at the top, then head to Sébastien Bouillet’s shop on rue d’Austerlitz to see the ‘chocolate wall’”.
Source: The Guardian