When in Lyon, allez à pied – go on foot, if you can. Sometimes it’s the only way. The narrow streets of Old Lyon don’t take well to taxis and tour buses. Much of the historical area (which is just moments away from our hotel) is for pedestrians only. We’ll explore this part of the city as part of our guided walking tour early in our visit.
The whole of historical Lyon is designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The reason is that so many older buildings have been preserved and restored, and from many different eras. The site was first settled even before Julius Caesar arrived. There are extensive Roman remains at the top of the hill of Fourvière, where the Gallo-Roman museum is located (we will have a guided tour of the museum during our visit).
At the bottom of the hill is mediaeval and Renaissance Lyon; across the river: the locations of the printing and silk-weaving workshops of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries; near the confluence of the Rhône and Saône: the twenty-first century city, with its impressive museums, shops, and contemporary restaurants.
The city manages to retain this feeling of a collection of neighbourhoods, each with its own ambiance. When you’ve some free time, search out a quiet park to sit and watch the locals play boules (the French equivalent of bocce); have a drink or a snack at a corner café – especially if it doesn’t display its menu in English! Wander along the base of the Croix Rousse hill and discover the murals portraying Lyon’s history. Or just amble along the river. Lyon has plenty of pedestrian bridges over the river that make walks very easy.