24 hours in Lyon – a travel guide

Ahh, Lyon. What a city! In 2011 I’ve spent 3 months here. My main activities in Lyon were going to school, studying and dancing my ass off. Seven years later I finally came back to visit the city once again and damn, Lyon is cooler than ever before. Young, hip and loads of cool people. Those 24 hours in Lyon were one of my favorite days ever.

So if you’re passing by the culinary capital of France after a vacation in the South of France and you’re wondering if you’d stay in Lyon for the night… Just do it! Try this tour and BAM, best 24 hours ever. I promise.

1/ Republik Hotel.

For a hotel, I would suggest Republik Hotel. Not expensive, and right in the city center. The nearest parking lot is Parc République. You pay €30 for 24 hours and it’s safe, near the hotel, very accessible and very pretty (alright, that’s not really relevant but it’s really pretty)!

2/ Place Bellecour.

Beautiful square. A big tourist information point (or whatever you choose to call it) is located right in the middle, so perfect as a first stop.

24 hours in Lyon - I really need my space - travel blog

3/ Rue de la République.

Hello, shopping. This is where you do it, everything you need is right here. If you don’t want to shop (you know, only 24 hours in Lyon), you can just walk through, it’s a pretty street. At the end of the street, you’ll find the Hôtel de Ville.

4/ Hôtel de Ville.

If you keep walking down the shopping street you’ll bump into the Opéra (peculiarly gorgeous building) and then you are very near the Hôtel de Ville, or as we say it in plain English, city hall. You’ll see a big plaza surrounded by loads of bars. 

24 hours in Lyon - I really need my space - travel blog

5/ Vieux-Lyon.

The Montmartre of Lyon. A delight to stroll around and have a bite or a drink. This is the place to inhale and exhale the authenticity of Lyon. You can take the funicular to the Notre-Dame de Fouvrière where you’ll have a view over the entire city. I recommend you’d visit the Notre-Dame while you are there. The ride on the funicular is a joyous experience – it’s like a cableway but more subway-ish. Even if you’re just 24 hours in Lyon, definitely go to Vieux-Lyon. You won’t regret it. 

24 hours in Lyon - I really need my space - travel blog

6/ Rue Mercière.

The restaurant district. A broad variety of hip and trendy restaurants, but also lovers of authentic French cuisine can find a great dining experience here. I’d say, don’t waste your time looking for dinner and go to the Rue Mercière. Good atmosphere because plenty of tourists and locals come here.

24 hours in Lyon - I really need my space - travel blog

7/ It’s wine o’clock!

If you’d like to go for a drink at night, go and have one near de Hôtel de Ville. This is the center of Lyon’s nightlife. I suggest Pouppées Russes, a cool cocktail bar, but right next to it you’ll find a great wine bar, if that is more your glass of wine. You really want to go out and dance? Go to Ayers Rock, an Australian dance-café where I have spent multiple nights during my stay as a student here. It’s got a great alternative vibe. It’s only a ten-minute walk home from Hôtel de Ville to the hotel. Since you’re just 24 hours in Lyon, you gotta put your dancing shoes on and enjoy the night. 

Good to know: You can rent a vélo (bike) and do everything by bike. This is not a must. Everything in this guide is manageable by foot. Hurray! Except for the funiculaire of course.

That’s it for Lyon! I hope this guide helps you a bit. Interested in more France-articles? Check out our analog photography in the South of France. Or all the ingredients for an amazing trip in Lac de Sainte-Croix (only the prettiest piece of the South of France, I swear).