The most popular neighbourhoods in Lyon provide a multitude of different experiences. Staying in any of these areas puts you within a short distance of the city’s architectural landmarks. For example, the Roman ruins of the Fourvière, the 19th-century gems of the Presqu'île, and the narrow medieval streets in Old Lyon will impress you with their photo-worthy setting.

    Lyon has many modern and young neighbourhoods with cutting-edge architecture, great museums, diverse shopping, and local art galleries. Here, we’ve compiled a list of the city’s best neighbourhoods – we’ve also included must-sees in each area to help you decide where to stay in Lyon.



    Ancient ruins and splendid views in Lyon's 5th arrondissement

    Fourvière is a great place to explore the remains of the Gallo-Roman past of Lyon. You’ll see the oldest theatre in Roman Gaul and the ruins of Roman Baths. Check out Lugdunum (formerly the Museum of Gallo-Roman Civilisation) to browse a great collection of priceless objects.

    The hilltop neighbourhood is known for its iconic Basilica of Notre Dame de Fourvière, which overlooks the entire city – with views as far as Mont Blanc on a clear day. You can get to the top of Fourvière by funicular. Alternatively, you can get there on foot. Start your journey from the steep medieval streets in Vieux Lyon, before climbing a set of stairs through Parc des Hauteurs.

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    Vieux Lyon

    Medieval and Renaissance gems in Lyon’s 5th arrondissement

    Vieux Lyon is the medieval centre of Lyon. Located at the foot of Fourvière, this neighbourhood is known for its traboules (covered secret passageways). You can follow signs to discover the curves, galleries, spiral staircases, arches, and vaulted ceilings of the famous passages.

    Take your time to stroll the pedestrianised streets, including the popular Rue Saint-Jean. You’ll see Italian buildings in pastel colours, a Gothic/Romanesque cathedral, and the famous La Tour Rose (Pink Tower). There’s also the Musée Miniature et Cinéma, which displays over 1,000 scaled-down sites. While exploring Vieux Lyon, make sure to try some local specialities at a bouchon (traditional Lyon bistro).



    A cultural and commercial hub in Lyon

    Presqu’île is a UNESCO-listed neighbourhood centrally situated between the Rhône and Saône rivers. It has excellent transport links so you can easily reach it from any part of Lyon. A must-visit is Bellecour Square, Europe’s largest open square with an impressive Louis XIV equestrian statue as its centrepiece.

    The Terreaux Square with its 19th-century Bartholdi Fountain is another must-see in Presqu’île. The neighbourhood’s many galleries, such as the Museum of Fine Arts of Lyon and Musée de l'Imprimerie, offer insights into the city's history. You’ll also appreciate Presqu’île for its lively atmosphere, along with dozens of shops, restaurants, and bars. 


    La Croix Rousse

    A vibrant cultural scene covering Lyon’s 1st and 4th arrondissements

    La Croix Rousse is a hill once populated by canuts (silk weavers) in the 19th century. Their influence in Lyon’s history is so important that in 1987, a huge fresco was created to represent a day of a canuts’ life. Take your time to explore the distinctive architecture of the area. If you wish to walk through traboules (covered secret passageways), head to Rue Imbert Colomès and Rue René Leynaud.

    La Croix Rousse has plenty of art galleries, workshops, and boutiques, especially in the Village des Créateurs and at Montée de la Grande-Côte. You can also find a great variety of restaurants, alternative music venues, cool bars, and nightclubs.


    photo by Pline (CC BY-SA 3.0) modified


    La Part-Dieu

    High-rise architecture and gastronomical delights

    La Part-Dieu is a modern neighbourhood on the left bank of the Rhône. It’s known for its sleek skyscrapers, especially the 164.9-metre-tall Tour Part-Dieu. You can take a lift to reach a bar at the top to enjoy drinks with a panoramic view of Lyon.

    A must-visit in La Part-Dieu is Les Halles de Lyon – Paul Bocus, an indoor gourmet food market that contributed to the gastronomical fame of the city. If you wish to take a break from busy city streets, head towards La Part-Dieu's west part. Facing the Rhône are many green areas with bike paths. After sunset, you can enjoy live music at several bars in the neighbourhood.


    La Confluence

    A gentrified neighbourhood in Lyon’s 2nd arrondissement

    La Confluence is a former industrial district in Lyon. Today, it’s converted into a contemporary eco-district with a striking design. The main highlight is the futuristic Musée des Confluences. Impressive inside and outside, the museum has several exhibits dedicated to anthropology and science.

    On the banks of the Saône, you can discover the offbeat architecture of the Cube Orange and the Green Cube buildings. La Confluence has also a huge shopping complex with its own boat service. You can find many fashion and decor shops, restaurants with panoramic views, as well as an activity centre for all ages.



    Check out impressive architecture and high-end restaurants

    Brotteaux is an elegant neighbourhood in Lyon’s 6th arrondissement. The architectural look of the area is mostly Art Deco, which dates back to the 1930s. Here, many buildings were the work of famous 18th-century architect, Jean-Antoine Morand Jouffrey.

    Brotteaux is a great place for fine dining in Lyon. You can find restaurants owned by world-renowned chefs like Paul Bocuse and Georges Blanc, along with a variety of mid-range eateries serving French and international specialities. You can also find great bars that open until late.


    photo by Xavier Caré (CC BY-SA 4.0) modified


    Cité Internationale

    Where the city and nature meet in Lyon

    Cité Internationale is relatively modern, with many sites built between 1996 and 2006. There’s the enormous Palais des Congrès de Lyon, which has a congress hall that regularly showcases musicals and exhibitions. It also hosts a casino, UGC Ciné Cité cinema, and an auditorium. A must-see is the Museum of Contemporary Art, which holds 3 floors of artwork and art installations by international names.

    Another highlight of Cité Internationale is the picturesque Parc de la Tête d'Or. The park is very popular with sports enthusiasts and families with children. You can enjoy a long walk past rose gardens, visit an impressive greenhouse with tropical plants, and rent a boat to cruise a large lake.



    A dynamic neighbourhood popular with students

    Guillotière is a dynamic neighbourhood within a short walk of Lyon city centre. It hosts several universities and schools, resulting in a youthful vibe. This is a great area for going out at night, especially if you’re planning to hit up the city’s trendiest bars and clubs. Guillotière is also known for its multicultural restaurants and good-quality street food.

    The Centre Nautique Tony Bertrand is popular on a hot summer day, thanks to its many outdoor pools and waterslides. Parks with long walking and cycling paths are plentiful in Guillotière.



    A historic island in Lyon’s 9th arrondissement

    l'Île-Barbe is an island in the middle of the Saone. Listed as a French historical monument, this hidden gem has a very remarkable history. An abbey was founded on the island during the 5th century. Today, the remains of the abbey are part of the Romanesque Eglise Notre Dame, built in the 12th century.

    You can reach l'Île-Barbe by foot, bike, or car from Lyon. The island walking and cycling paths for you to enjoy the picturesque scenery. There are pétanque courts, a children’s playground, and picnic areas. Don’t miss Jocteur le Boulanger de l'Île Barbe, a local bakery with excellent reputation.

    Elmira Alieva | Contributing Writer

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