How to Spend 48 Hours in Lyon

For foodies and history lovers, Lyon is the place to go. With 48 hours in Lyon, you’ll get just enough time to taste the world-renowned Lyonnaise cuisine made famous by names such as Marie Bourgeois, Eugénie Brazier, and Paul Bocuse, as well as explore a few of its UNESCO heritage sites.

How to get to Lyon

To reach Lyon, hop on a train from Paris or Geneva for about 2 hours. Trains from Barcelona or Milan take 5 to 6 hours.

48 hours in Lyon

8:30 a.m. | Pour over coffee and a pastry at Café Mokxa

Café Mokxa has about every brewing mechanism you can imagine from an Aeropress to a Chemex. Enjoy a coffee of your choosing with a French pastry to jumpstart your 48 hours in Lyon.

Insider tip: Grab a seat outdoors so you can people watch at the corner of this hip neighborhood.

How to get there: Take the metro to Croix Paquet or Hôtel de Ville, then walk 5 minutes to 3 Rue de l’Abbé Rozier.

9:30 a.m. | Culinary food tour on electric bikes with Lyon Bike Tour

Bike tour | 48 hours in Lyon

Hop on a electric bike and easily cruise around while you learn about Lyon’s rich history and explore UNESCO Heritage Sites. Included in this tour is a variety of local Lyonnaise meats and cheeses with wine at Les Halles de Lyon.

Insider tip: Feel free to overpack with a jacket, camera, and more. There are bags on the side of your bike for anything you don’t want to carry while biking.

How to get there: Walk 15 minutes from the coffee shop to the Palais de Justice Historique de Lyon, where the tour begins.

1:30 p.m. | Explore Vieux Lyon

Street view | 48 hours in Lyon

Walk around the cobblestone streets of Vieux Lyon, one of the city’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites, which dates back to the 12th century.

Insider tip: Download the Lyon Traboules app (iPhone only) for €0.79 to discover the hidden passageways that most tourists don’t know about.

How to get there: You’ll already be there! You’ll end up in Vieux Lyon after the bike tour.

2:00 p.m. | View Lyon from La Basilique Notre Dame de Fourvière

Lyon city view from Notre Dame | 48 hours in Lyon

Head to La Basilique Notre Dame de Fourvière to get the best view of the city, then stroll around the gardens surrounding the church.

Insider tip: Save the walking for downhill via Montée des Chazeaux for a view of the buildings’ rooftops.

How to get there: Take the funicular up the hill from Vieux Lyon to Fourvière.

3:30 p.m. | Eat macarons at Sève

Colorful macarons | 48 hours in Lyon

Sève has the best macarons in the city according to a local. Grab a couple and head to the Saône River to enjoy them with a waterfront view.

Insider tip: Be adventurous and try savory flavors like the Foie Gras Macarons. You’ll be pleasantly surprised with how well sweet and savory work together in this pastry.

How to get there: From Montée des Chazeaux, walk 10 minutes and cross the Passerelle du Palais de Justice pedestrian bridge. Then turn left to reach 29 Quai Saint-Antoine.

7:00 p.m. | Eat at a bouchon

A bouchon was historically a restaurant for the silk workers of Lyon. Today, it sticks true to its heritage by serving traditional Lyonnaise cuisine. Try Le Café Des Fédérations and have a four course meal for only €27.

Insider tip: Plates are for sharing. So don’t be surprised if a full plate of cheese comes out after your meal, when you’re too full to eat. Take what you can and leave the rest to be passed around to other tables.

How to get there: Take the metro to Hôtel de Ville, then walk 5 minutes to 9 Rue Major Martin.

10:00 a.m. | Shop at Les Halles de Lyon

Foie gras selection in food hall | 48 hours in Lyon

Even though you went to Les Halles de Lyon with the Lyon Bike Tour, you’ll want to go back to shop. Head to the Golden Circle to buy the best local cheeses, meats, and bread to enjoy a picnic at the park.

Insider tip: Bring a backpack or a reusable bag so you can easily carry your food to the park for your picnic.

How to get there: Take the metro to Palais de Justice – Mairie du 3ème, then walk 5 minutes to Les Halles de Lyon.

11:30 a.m. | Enjoy a picnic at Parc de la Tête d’Or

Park scene with flowers and a couple sitting on a bench overlooking the water | 48 hours in Lyon

The Parc de la Tête d’Or is one of the most beautiful public parks. It’s well-groomed and has a few different landscapes to take in. Enjoy a picnic here, and then spend the afternoon exploring the park. The area also contains a lake and a zoo.

Insider tip: Don’t feed the geese, because they’re quite aggressive and will run after you for more food.

How to get there: Walk 20 minutes to the park from Les Halles de Lyon. You can also rent a city bike for less than €2 a day, and cycle to the park in 10 minutes.

6:00 p.m. | Take a cooking class at a local’s home with VizEat

Cooking class | 48 hours in Lyon

Chef Thierry hosts cooking classes in his home in Vieux Lyon through VizEat. There you get to learn how to cook as if you were in your own home, eat a four course meal, and drink wine.

Insider tip: Be prepared to stay past 11 o’clock, because Chef Thierry will graciously lend his time to give you plenty of local recommendations and insight.

How to get there: Cooking classes and dinner vary by the host’s home, but if going to Thierry’s cooking class, walk to Vieux Lyon, or take the metro to the Vieux Lyon stop.

What to do in Lyon if you have more time

Check out the Musée Miniature & Cinéma if you have more time in Lyon. It has miniature-scale scenes and a collection of movie props. For an artistic fine dining experience, eat at Le Neuvième Art, one of Lyon’s two 2 Michelin star restaurants.

Lyon at sunrise | 48 hours in Lyon

Although Lyon is the gastronomic capital of France and the world, the good food and rich heritage don’t stop there. When your 48 hours in Lyon is over, head to other places in France by train so you can indulge in more sights and traditional cuisine.

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