Driving In Lyon – Things To Do & See

If you’re thinking of hitting the hexagon (that’s France by the way!)  in the near future then you might well want to think about checking out the city of Lyon and it’s superb surroundings.

Located in the south of France, this enormous city combines a crisp culture of typically French gastronomy, an array of beautiful architecture and a cool, cosmopolitan nightlife. Check out our guide to Lyon by car…



Ideally located for a road trip, the city sits neatly just off the Alps, and within reasonable distance from many of Southern France’s attractions.



It makes sense to check out what the city itself has got to offer before investigating its surroundings… aside from a strong culinary tradition and an excellent range of French, Arabic and Italian restaurants, the city is also an excellent shopping location. Just hit the centre of town to take it all in.

Meanwhile, lovers of the aesthetic should make sure they investigate the fascinating sights of the old town (that’s Vieux Lyon in French!). Ornately garnished with Medieval and Renaissance architecture, Vieux Lyon boast numerous world heritage sights such as the Croix-Rousse, Saint Jean and the Basilica of Notre-Dame de Fourvière, a late 19th century cathedral full of many interesting mosaics and stained glass designs, aswell as the crypt of St Joseph.

Another excellent cathedral in the area is the Basilica of St-Martin-d’Ainay. This 10th century monument is a typical example of the Romanesque architecture of Medieval Lyon. Other sights in the city worth checking out include the Cathedrale Saint-Jean Baptiste de Lyon, a 15th century monument with a curious astronomical clock, the unique Tour métallique de Fourvière (a metal monstrosity in the mould of the Eiffel Tower) and the Opera Nouvel, host to many a riveting opera show over the years.



There’s plenty more to do in and around the Lyon area, which is where you really get your money’s worth with a car at hand. For nearby trips check out the town of Sainte Marie de La Tourette, this small settlement is the home of a curious Dominican Priory, built in an arresting modernist style. Check it out, it’s only a short journey out of town.

Other local attractions in the surrounding area include the Henri Malartre Automobile Museum, home to of Adolf Hitler’s armoured cars, and the Perouges commune, an idyllic rural town oozing typically Gallic charm.

Further afield, the adventurers among you can hit the French Alps for some skiing, snow boarding and hiking. The ski base of Grenoble is located within the Alps, where you can hit one of 20 odd ski resorts in the nearby vicinity.

Within Grenoble itself there are a number of attractions worth looking at, but the most popular by far is the Bastille Fortress which overlooks the city. This is reached by a funicular telepherique system that involves ascending to the top via transparent spheres – quite the experience, but not for the faint hearted!

Another place well worth a visit is Vienne. This lively town has a good natured zest for life and is the host to an annual Jazz festival every year between June and July (click on the official Vienne site to find out more.)

All this is just a sample of the many things you can do in and around Lyon, but the seasoned travellers amongst you will know that the best way to take it all in is to get over there yourself. Check out our Car Hire Lyon if you fancy a road trip, and have a look at our sister site PlacesToStay if you need good, reliable accommodation at the right price.



It’s important to remember that driving can be more than a little difficult in some French villages – just be patient, stay cool, and remember to drive on the right!

Lyon is a big city with good public transport and decent roads so you shouldn’t have any problems, but bear in mind it’s proximity to the Alps when heading out of town. Check the weather forecasts for snowfall and rough conditions, and if your not sure, err on the side of caution! Last but not least, have a look at our French language blog for some tips on the lingo of the road. 

Bon voyage… and don’t forget to give us a shout in the comment box below if you have any questions, opinions or things you want clarified. Happy holidays!