Lyon is perhaps the culture and cuisine capital of France with its history linked to the beginnings of cinema and the beauty of sites like the Basilica of Notre-Dame de Fourvière.
They say if you have to see what France is like, spot the kind of French art the world frenzies over, and indulge in the best of Gallic cuisine, head to Lyon, a city south of Paris.
France’s gastronomic capital, Lyon is home to Eugene Brazier, the first woman to earn three Michelin stars, and the one to put the city on the culinary world’s map. The city now has about 20 Michelin-starred restaurants and aplenty eateries serving the best of traditional Lyonnaise food.
A UNESCO designated site, Lyon , besides food, is known for being the birthplace of cinema, for its history of silk trading, and the land of one of Europe’s oldest and most expansive Renaissance district – Vieux Lyon or Old Lyon – a recommended place to go for a walk. It also has France’s largest urban park, Parc de la Tête d’Or, where renting rowboats at the lake is a norm.
When not strolling around the town, lazing on a boat or savouring the best of French food, these are the other five things a tourist can enjoy in this city.
Museum of Fine Arts of Lyon
Regarded as one of the most important museums in Europe, the Museum of Fine Arts is a magnificent building dating from the 17th century. Its collections of antique and contemporary art span 70 rooms and include Egyptian antiquities, the second largest collection of coins and medals in France, and a variety of paintings from the 14th to 20th century, some of which are by Matisse, Picasso, and Rouault.
Basilica of Notre-Dame de Fourvière
Mounted on the hill of Fourvière – the praying hill- the centre of the spiritual and cultural life in Lyon, is the imposing Basilica of Notre-Dame de Fourvière. An important structure in the lives of locals, it also attracts tourists in great numbers, who come to witness its Romanesque and Byzantine architecture, and the mosaics and stained glass inside. Honouring the Virgin Mary, it is also visible from any vantage point in the city.
L’Atelier de Soierie
Tucked away in a street near the Museum of Fine Arts, this family owned silk workshop is the only one remaining in France that does silk screen printing by hand. It also has incredibly intricate block prints, the oldest being around 150 years old. It also works with one of the firms of French luxury brand Hermes, helping it set and treat colour on the silk used. Famous for the fine scarves it sells, it also allows customers to look at the process.
This one is for film lovers. Institut Lumière is a museum dedicated to the Lumière brothers- the inventors of the cinematograph – a motion picture film camera. During their visit here, tourists can learn about the unique device and also enjoy a classic. The museum has special events going on ever so often; one such show which pairs silent films with live music, is a recommended one.