Travel Itinerary: Day 1 in Lyon, France

Day 1 in Lyon, France

The Basics


Metropolitan city with paved and cobblestone pedestrian/car roads


Summer high of 71°F or 21°C
Winter low of 37°F or 3°C


Lyon–Saint Exupéry Airport or Lyon Part-Dieu Train Station


Getting Around

Taxi or walking. city center is accesible by walking


$120 - $250 per day


Hotels, hostels, airbnb
Recommend: Citadines Presqu'île Lyon


To Do

Walking, historic tours, eating, shopping

To See

Parc de la Tête d'Or, Basilica of Notre-Dame de Fourvière, Place Bellecour, Museum of Fine Arts of Lyon, Vieux Lyon, Gallo-Roman Museum of Lyon-Fourvière, Ancient Theatre of Fourvière, La Croix-Rousse, Musée des Confluences


To Eat

Restaurants:Brasserie Georges, Diplomatico Brasserie, Léon de B, Le Grande Café de négociants

Casual: Paul, la brioche dorée

Specialties: quenelle



bustling metropolitan city with lots of options for nightlife


Day 1

Sometimes referred to as Little Paris, Lyon is a very compact and beautiful city with great transport methods and walkable streets. It's truly a traveler's dream. I had the pleasure of living here for two weeks for a study abroad trip. We stayed in the Citadines at the Presqu'île Lyon location. I've seen anything from $70 to $150 for hotel prices. The term Presqu'ile simply means peninsula. I loved living in this location because the architecture is well preserved and there's a lot of history along with big brand shops in this area. I love antiquity and history with the comforts of modernity. There is also a kitchen in these apartment hotels so you can shop at the Monoprix (best French supermarket) and cook a nice meal in between your rich French multi-course meals. We're in the food capital of France after all!

Food is not cheap but it's not expensive. A coffee can be anywhere from $2 to $4. A good pastry can set you back $3-5, and a casual meal is $7-$15. A dinner at Brasserie Georges, the oldest Brasserie in Lyon (since 1836) costs around $30 without too many frills. The best deal are their set menus which is just around $25-30 after conversion rates, which includes dessert.

Day 1 serves as a  introduction to the city with a nice walk around the most popular areas. I always try to start my days off earlier than the schedule below but feel free to adjust times based on personal preferences. You can follow the itinerary below or just use the map to go at your own leisure. Min time to complete the walk is a little over an hour, but to soak it in, please give yourself at least five hours.

9:00 AM - Start at Place Bellecour and enjoy a nice breakfast. Grab something casual at La Brioche Dorée or wait for a cute sit down cafe at Place des Jacobins. This square features monuments, the gigantic ferris wheel, and the tourism center. The shops surrounding the square are ridiculously cute. Do stop in for a nice chocolate, fresh pastry, or a slice of pate if you are adventurous enough.

10:00 AM - By this time you should either have had breakfast to go in Place Bellecour or be wrapping up your sit down breakfast at Cafe de Jacobins. Take a quick walk through the streets, soak in the luxury shops, and make your way to  the Museum of Fine Arts. Give yourself two hours to explore this museum. It features art and sculptures.

12:00 PM - Lunch time. Have a quick bite at Place des Terraux. There are a lot of restaurants in this square. It's hard to go wrong.

1:00 PM - Make your way over to see the Bartholdi Fountain. Bartholdi is the one who made the Statue of Liberty! This piece really is magnificent and I've seen it during the day time and lit up at night.

1:15 PM - Cross on over to Vieux Lyon or Old Lyon and see Maison Thomassin which is an old estate home. 

1:30 PM - By now, you can either make you way over to the train station to take the funicular up, or just walk up to Fourvière. My preferred option is to take the tram up and wind my way back down through the old streets.

2:00 PM - Welcome to the best view in all of Lyon. The Basilica of Fourvière is magnificent in its own accord. To the left side is a must see view of Old Lyon, the Presqu'ile, and the modern Lyon that has expanded away from the city. To the right side is the same view with a small shop for the cathedral. Do walk in and visit. I like to donate and light a candle but walking through is completely free. You can always get a souvenir at the shop to show your support.

3:00 PM - Walk to the Roman Ruins a few blocks to the right of Fourvière. There is also a tram that leads up here. The museum visit is optional. You can walk right in to explore the ruins during their opening hours.

3:30 PM - Either wind down the streets of Old Lyon by foot, or take the funicular down. 


Notable Places in Lyon, France

Walking Points

  • Start in Place BelleCour

  • Walk by Place des Jacobins

  • Walk by Place des Terraux

  • See the Bartholdi Fountain

  • Visit Lyon Museum of Fine Arts

  • Walk by Maison Thomassin

  • Visit La Basilique Notre Dame de Fourvière

  • Visit Roman Ruins in Fourvière

Estimated time walking: 1 hour

Estimated time exploring: 1 hour place bellecour, 15 min Place des terraux, 15 min bartholdi fountain, 2 hours museum of fine arts, 30 min la basilique notre dame de fourvière, 30 min roman ruins, 30 min extra for leisurely stroll

Total: 5 hours