Visit Lyon: France's Gateway to Provence

Posted by Jocelyne on 03/11/2016

Discovering France on a cruise is a great way to sample beautiful landscapes along the river, and fully appreciate untouched nature on the banks. This week, we are taking you on a visit to Lyon.

Lyon is a rich and welcoming city at the crossroads between the Rhone and Saone Rivers, at the northern Edge of Provence. This charming South-Eastern French metropolis is unique and immediately recognisable: its red rooftops, winding cobbled streets, bridges built in various architectural styles, and many hidden squares make Lyon a surprising and enchanting place. Some visitors may think that a tour of Lyon would only take a few hours. On the contrary: Lyon's many secrets and hidden gems could take a lifetime to be discovered! In fact, Lyon's 2,000 years of history will delight true lovers of European heritage – the medieval old town was built on the banks of the Saone river. Visitors take their time to discover what this city and it surroudings have in store, and a river cruise is an ideal way to do  just that. 

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The top of the Fourvière Basilica, which can be reached on a funicular railway, offers breathtaking views of Lyon. When visiting Old Lyon, you can discover the city through the 'traboules' - traditional passages allowing Lyon's inhabitants to reach the banks of the Saone river easily. The traboules connecting buildings in historical areas of Lyon offer a trip back in time in the very heart of the city. Amongst the must-see parts of Lyon are Saint-Georges with its famous church, Saint-Jean with its cathedral renowned for its pink tower, and Saint-Pierre and the Temple du Change .

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As Lyon is full of secrets, it is no surprise that its beauty is truly revealed under the lights of the spectacular show the city puts on during its Fete des Lumieres, which traditionally takes place in December. By far Lyon's most popular attraction, it is a feast of colours, lights and art, with more than 8 million candles sold for people to display in their windows. It is also an opportunity for  Lyon to display its monuments under the spotlight of unique artistic beauty. Lyon's fete des lumieres puts on a magical display on the banks of the Saone and is truly not to be missed.

Make Lyon your next holiday destination! Find out more about CroisiEurope’s Lyon River Cruises and France River cruises.