Enjoy a fun-packed stay in Lyon

Place des Terreaux in Lyon © jasckal / Fotolia

Place des Terreaux in Lyon © jasckal / Fotolia - Credit: jasckal - Fotolia

Families and couples are spoilt for choice in the historic and gastronomic hot spot of Lyon ADVERTORIAL FEATURE

Straddling the Rhône and Saône rivers in east-central France, Lyon was founded by the Romans more than 2,000 years ago. Nowadays it is considered to be the gourmet capital of France and is famous for its bouchons– small restaurants serving the hearty lyonnais cuisine. Other attractions include well-preserved Roman remains, medieval and Renaissance architecture and the Fête des Lumières light show held every December.

Visitors should begin with a walking tour of Vieux-Lyon, which is part of a Unesco World Heritage site that includes the Fourvière, Croix-Rousse and Presqu’île districts. A wander through the maze of narrow streets will take you past the city’s neo-classical 19th-century opera house, which had a striking semi-cylindrical glass-domed roof added in the 1990s. Nearby is the beautiful Place des terreaux, home to the ornately decorated Hôtel de Ville, which dates from 1655, as well as a fountain sculpted by Frédéric-Auguste Bartholdi, who designed the Statue of Liberty. Art buffs will find plenty of interest at the Musée des Beaux-Arts, one of the largest art galleries in France, with collections of works by Matisse, Cézanne, Picasso and Van gogh, as well as Roman, greek and egyptian antiquities.

Head to the silk-weaving district of Croix-Rousse and discover the narrow passageways known as traboules, which passed through buildings and allowed workers to move from their workshops up the hill to textile merchants at the bottom.

For breathtaking views over Lyon, cross the River Saône and take the funicular railway up to the 19th-century Basilique Notre-Dame de Fourvière. Other star attractions in this district include the ruins of three Roman theatres, now used for concerts and festivals. Visitors can delve further into this historical era at the adjoining gallo-Roman museum, which houses art, pottery and coins.

Families can keep the children entertained at the 117-hectare Parc de la tête d’Or, the largest urban park in France. Regarded as the green lungs of the city, it has a large lake where you can rent a boat in the summer, botanic gardens with greenhouses and a zoo.

To see how the old sits harmoniously with the new, visitors should not miss the Musée des Confluences in the former docks area in Presqu’île, at the meeting of the Rhône and Saône rivers. This spaceship-like, steel-and-glass building houses a vast array of anthropology and natural history collections.

For more information on what to visit and details of hotels and restaurants, visit www.en.lyon-france.com

Eight out of ten customers would recommend Eurotunnel Le Shuttle to their friends and family. With up to 85 departures a day, it is the fastest, most frequent way to the continent by car, which means that Lyon is closer than you think. Book early and get the best fares. Visit www.eurotunnel.com or call 0970 850 8133 to book your crossing

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