Lyon, France


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We had the pleasure of visiting Lyon on our World Cup trip to France. Lyon is a very welcoming city with lovely French charm. Although it ranks as the third largest city in France, we enjoyed the more leisurely pace and friendliness of the Lyonnaise people. As the culinary capitol of France, we were delighted by the cuisine. From the buttery croissants at the boulangerie on the corner to an elegant three course meal in the historic Port Vieux, it is fair to say that we ate our way through the city.

This was an unprecedented kid-free trip, so although we did quite a bit, our focus was on relaxing and enjoying, rather than going and doing. We did a lot of walking and only used public transportation to get to and from the magnificent Olympique Lyonnais Stadium for the Women’s World Cup matches see previous post . I love exploring cities by foot. Plus, it was a good way to counterbalance the aforementioned croissants.

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Vieux lyon
My favorite part of the city was wandering the cobblestone streets of Vieux Lyon, the very charming historical district at the base of the Fourvière hill. Lined with quaint cafes, busy boulangeries, and unique shops, Vieux Lyon is packed with culture and history. Step into the past by exploring the Traboules, hidden passageways that wind through historic buildings and inner courtyards. The traboules were used by silk workers in the 19th century to transport silk and textiles more efficiently. During WWII these same passageways were used by the resistance to prevent the Germans from fully occupying Lyon.

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Basilica of Notre-Dame de Fourvière
Positioned on top of Fourvière hill, this impressive Basilica overlooks the city of Lyon. Whether you opt to hike up or take a short funicular ride, the panoramic view is a must see.

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Parc de la Tête d’Or
We were pleasantly surprised to see giraffes at play as we strolled through the Parc de la Tête d’Or. Little did we know, we had walked right into the zoo. As the largest urban park in France, it boasts a free zoo, boating lake, botanical gardens, playgrounds, and plenty of space to run and play.

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Food markets
From large outdoor markets to the famous Les Halles Paul Bocuse gourmet indoor market, Lyon is full of wonderful food markets. I love strolling through stands with fresh food, beautiful flowers, and unique local products. The cuisine is such an integral part of the Lyonnias culture and seems to be interwoven in day to day life.

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There are many other interesting sites, tours, museums, and day trips for a longer stay in Lyon, but I was quite happy with what we saw and did, particularly since we were there for the World Cup. All in all, we really enjoyed this city. For being such a large city, it seemed a very livable city. We delighted in the food and will miss indulging in French wine, cheese, and goodies from the boulangerie. Fortunately, as it turns out, our apartment in Budapest is situated directly above our very own Hungarian bakery (pékség), so we are tempted by the smell of freshly baked bread and my new favorite pastry, mákos kalács, each morning.

Next up: Marseille