Head up to La Basilique Notre Dame de Fourvière
This Sacre-Couer-alike 19th century white basilica dominates the Lyon skyline and is the best way to navigate the city; it’s hard to get lost if you keep what locals call ‘the upside-down elephant’ in sight. Its ornate insides are worthy of admiration but it is the views of the city below that reward the many stairs climbed to reach it. If your legs are sore from all that cycling, a funicular runs up and down the hill.
Take centre stage in a Roman amphitheatre
Next door to Fourvière, go further back in time while visiting the remarkably well preserved Roman amphitheatre. Exploring is encouraged, so sit like an emperor and judge those below, then wander to centre stage and feel the faces of the 10,000 people who once sat here stare back. To see the arena in contemporary use, visit Lyon while Les Nuits de Fourvière is on. A music, dance and theatre festival, it takes place in the amphitheatre and this year’s line-up features Bjork and Iggy Pop.
Hang out in Croix Rousse
If you are getting flat white or bike shop withdrawals, head to Croix Rousse, the hippest area in Lyon. Ponder some street art, browse the second hand shops and head to Crock N Roll for a croque monsieur with edge. If you’re lucky you may stumble across one of Croix Rousse’s seemingly impromptu flea markets so get ready to haggle in French.
Get your groceries at Paul Bocuse Les Halles
Chef Paul Bocuse is Lyon’s grand fromage but if your budget doesn’t stretch to one of his five restaurants, stock up on supplies at this food market like no other. All of Lyon’s top chefs buy their ingredients here and you can too: from patisseries to poissons. Try as many free samples as you can and buy your cheese at Mons, from a former London city accountant-turned-cheesemonger, living the Lyon dream.
Have a glass on the riverbank
The joke goes that Lyon was built on three rivers: the Rhone, the Saone and the Beaujolais. All year round the Lyonnais enjoy combining the three and lounge on the riverbanks with a bottle. Bring your own and soak up the atmosphere or enjoy the high life aboard by posing on the deck of one of the many docked peniches – barges with bars.