15 reasons to visit Lyon, my new home in France

One year after moving back to France, It was time to sum up my experience in Lyon and count my blessings.  I found 15 reasons why I really love Lyon and I would like to share with you my discoveries and would like your feedback.

To be honest, I am surprised by myself! I did not think I would enjoy so much to be back in homeland. After almost 20 years wandering Europe and the world, tasting the best food everywhere, enjoying different cultures, languages, being in the heart of high-tech, e-business, culture, etc., I was quite skeptical to root in Lyon.

It was even more challenging, as I came from a small village 60 km East from Lyon, where people usually had a negative opinion from Lyon’s people. And to be true, I did not have so much good memory about the city 20 years ago.

My opinion slowly changed as the city renewed itself, opened beautiful urban spaces and my friends brought me to delicious restaurants.
I had been surprised, and discovered a very different city I remembered. And against all expectations, especially when you arrive as an in-pat, I have to say that I succeed in landing, and I feel pretty comfortable in my new home city!

Why did I totally fall in love with this city and did feel totally accomplished as a food lover?
There is 15 main reasons why I love to live here, and that make this city unique and worth more than a weekend visit!
These reasons turn around 4 topics: transports, city planning, arts and food!

Besides the fact that Lyon is getting a more and more connected city with Europe, with the Eurostar, the development of the Saint-Exupery Airport, the close by train station Part-Dieu or even the tramway and the direct line to the airport with Rhone-Express, what strikes me the most this year is:
1/ Metro
Usually, I am not a big fan of metro, I totally hate it in Paris! But Lyon is different! The metro is spacious, clean, modern, it smells good! A pity the network is not more extended.
2/ Velov’
Nowadays, all the biggest cities in Europe have a bike rental service available. Call it Velib in Paris, Bicing in Barcelona or the Boris Bikes in London, the system is almost the same. But, did you know that the first city to implement this service was Lyon 20 years ago??!! I am not going to say we are ahead of our time, but…
3/ Scooter
This a very funny and surprising fact, but Lyon is full of people moving with scooters! Yes! I am not talking about kids going to school… I am talking about a large amount of adults, some of them with their suit on, cutting through the sidewalks with their trottinettes as we say in French! I find it funny, and it is definitely a great and eco-friendly way to move in Lyon.

4/ Light Festival
I am not sure I need to really explain or say a lot about the most famous and ancient light festival! From the old tradition of candles to the magnificent light show, Lyon became the city of light! You probably know Paris with this tagline as well. 
Tough, remember that Lumières brothers played a major role in the creation of the cinema here in Lyon in 1895. But beside their amazing work, you can discover at their museum, since 1852, Lyonnais (Lyon's people) put some candle in front of their window to thank the virgin Mary on the 8th of December for her protection against wars and plague.
Today, Lyon offers to the visitors, every 8th of December and during 4 days, the most amazing and high-tech light show that is a kind of mix of the original work from Lumières brothers and all their innovations about photography, image and movement, and the gratitude of a whole city for their holy protector. No need to be catholic, the tradition breaks through all kind of religions, and is definitely one of a kind celebration of gratitude, you should see once in your lifetime!

5/ Confluences Museum
Address: 86, quai Perrache, 69002 Lyon
This is the biggest and latest urban project that had a big impact on Lyon skyline. I will not include the new football stadium, just inaugurated, as it is located quite out of the center.
Confluences Museum is located at the end of the Presqu'île, exactly where Rhône and Saône rivers meet. Confluence means literally, where 2 things meet. And besides the rivers, the museum is indeed the meet up of several sciences where the common denominator is the Human Being. It really blow my mind and I love the perspective of the human being through archeology, natural sciences, industry, death, etc.

6/ The docks
One of the most important change the city did during the past 20 years, had been to renovate most of the Rhône and Saône docks, and turn ugly parking lots into beautiful walking areas, where boats are now restaurants and bars. Now, you will find people walking, sun bathing, cycling, meeting up and enjoying the amazing view on the city.
7/ The Tête d’Or park
Sometimes, I miss some green areas in Lyon,... When this happens, I know it is time to walk or run through the biggest and the most amazing park of Lyon: Parc de la Tête d'Or! This is the lung of the city, the run track of the Lyonnais (Lyon's people), the zoo, the botanic garden, the playground, the everything! It is our Hyde Park! One of my favorite spot, is the small bar on the lake shore. Protected by the luxuriant canopy, this is the perfect place to cool down during the summer. I also love to wander through the majestic old fashioned greenhouses gathering some amazing flowers collections! The roses garden is especially famous and appreciated by the Lyonnais.

8/ Traboules
Traboule is other of my favorite thing in Lyon. It is a passageway through the old city used by the silk manufacturers to transport their product. Lyon became famous and wealthy thanks to the silk industry. It is really fascinating to see how this industry, totally vanished nowadays, forged the city and the whole culture. Today, you still can cut through the Saint Jean district following the traboules. It is such a strange feeling to sneak into the buildings, and discover Renaissance architecture in hidden patios. You really feel special and like unveiling some secrets of the city, that make every tourist truly part of Lyon.

9/ Biennales d’art contemporain and dance
 Lyon hosts some nice festivals all over the year around art, music and dance. Once every 2 years, there is a contemporary art and dance festival. You can find several amazing music festivals like Nuits Sonores in May every year around techno music, or Festival de Fourvière during the summer. There is always something going on, and this makes the city more vibrant, opened and spiritually growing!

Lyon is surrounded by some of the best 3 Michelin stars restaurants and counts more than 4 000 restaurants. You can also find everywhere the track from the most famous chef of all times, the one who invented the modern cuisine and whom every single chef in the world deserve their recognition: Paul Bocuse.
But away from the star system and the glitter, I found myself even deeper seduced by the daily gastronomy panorama in Lyon. Actually, I never found a city so deeply in love with food, so attached to taste and so involved in its promotion! It could only be my place, don’t you think?
10/ Local producers, high quality and organic products
Everywhere!!! Even at the supermarket! You know that I am not a big fan of the large retailers, but I have to admit, this is the only place in the world, besides Tokyo, where I can find delicatessen, organic, locally produced products at supermarkets.
Furthermore, Lyon is at a crossroad of the richest regions of France: wines and Charolais beef from Burgundy up North. Beaujolais wines, cheese and fruits West side. Bresse world famous for its poultry, Dombes lakes with it fishes and frogs as well as rich dairy product going East. Savoy and all the wines and cheese further East. Ardèche and Isère famous for the chestnuts, nuts going South. And do not forget as soon as you leave Lyon going to the South you drive through the garden of France famous for all the fruits and more wines from the Rhône valley!
With such surroundings, it is easy to understand how the Lyon's cuisine became so refined and delicious.  Did you notice? Wines everywhere around!!!
11/ AMAP and markets
Local producers also find their way out thanks to the daily markets everywhere in the city and the AMAP associations who are in charge to shorten the way between producers and consumers. I finally found a replacement from my Dutch Beebox with La Ruche Qui Dit Oui, a community platform that allows consumers and producers to meet, share and create a fair trade! I just love it!

Address: 102, Cours Lafayette, 69003 Lyon
This is The Temple. This is the temple of the finest food in Lyon, 13.500 square meters dedicated to the best terroir, food and region specialties. 
Do you know this anxiety when you go to Ikea? Before entering the store, you already know that you will not only buy the candles or the lamp you pretended you came for, but will fill up your blue bag will all kind of small items, that will surprisingly became a long and expensive bill at the cashier. I am sure you know what I am talking about! Well, this is what happened to me, every single time I step in Les Halles!!!! Plus the smile at the exit!
Among the large restaurants offer in Lyon, one kind of bistrot should strike your attention and deserve to be tested. Indeed, Lyon has its own tradition restaurant: Bouchon.
I wrote a quite detailed post a couple of years ago about the Bouchon, to give some information about this institution. I really encourage you to read it and discover the typical dishes you can try in Lyon. It will definitely help you to prepare your gastronomic trip. Lyon's gastronomy is quite different from Paris.

14/ The “Planche”
I am with a group of girlfriends and get into a bar on a Saturday evening and one of my friends throws at the waiter, we just want to "planche". I am a little startled, but yes, this is how to have a trendy apero in Lyon! Planche is no more than a  platter where you will usually find either a cheese or a cold meat cuts assortment or a mix of both. The bars usually serve some bread and butter to go with, and most of the time planches are quite generous and can be your only dinner, sipping some nice wine from Beaujolais or the Rhone valley. But, only in Lyon, you even use the word as a verb! To planche is to order a planche of cheese or cold cuts and share it with your friends! So, next time you visit Lyon, just planche!

Address: 1, Place de l'Hôpital, 69002 Lyon
Since 2010, French Gastronomic meal had been protected by UNESCO and France created several projects to present and sublime the Gastronomy. This exciting news will become concrete in 2018 through the Cité de la Gastronomie, located in the heart of Lyon. Among the several cities throughout France (Rungis, Dijon, Beaune, Tours), Lyon will focus on Nutrition and Health. What else? How could I ever imagine a better scenery for my research in the Yummy, Fun and Healthy Living that we build with nutritionist Cecilia Gotherstrom?

So, what do you think? Isn't it time to pin Lyon on the road map of your next trips! I will be happy to welcome you here, show you the city and guide you! Feel free to contact me for more tips and info.

Perhaps, you already know Lyon, in this case, I would really like to hear what are your favorite activities or places that make you like it. Perhaps, you did not like it at all, and I would also love to have your feedback about it! Let’s share good tips and practices about Lyon.

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