Lyon is France's gastronomic capital, with endless piggy-driven dishes and delicacies to savor, and a bounty of eateries in which to do so. Throw two mighty rivers, a couple of Roman amphitheaters and a generous dose of Renaissance architecture into the pot and the city is a sure-fire winner.
Day 1: A Silky History
Lyon was once a city of silk weavers, and its landscape is still woven with their history: you can start your day by wandering the traboules, covered medieval alleys once used by the silk workers to transport their wares – you’ll find them mainly in Vieux Lyon. Visit the Atelier Passementerie to see where the weavers once worked (and maybe pick up some modern examples of the craft), then move on to the Maison des Canuts to learn more about the weavers’ history, including the violent 1830s uprisings over bad pay and conditions. Swing by the Musée des Tissus to see a whole host of silky treats, including pieces woven for Marie Antoinette and Queen Victoria. Smooth!
Day 2: Roman Lyon
Lyon was once Lugdunum, a Roman colony begun in 43BC. The most significant ruins can be found near the Fourvière Basilica. Roam over two ancient theaters and the Amphitheatre of the Three Gauls. Wander around and get a feel for the old glory days, then visit the Gallo-Roman museum to make sense of it all. If you pick up a Lyon City Card, it will give you free admission to the museum, as well as unlimited use of public transport and a host of other discounts.
Day 3: The Wind in Your Hair
It would be easy to spend all your time in Lyon indoors, fingering silks and chewing on pigs’ trotters, but on day three it’s time to blow the cobwebs away. Spend the morning in the Parc de la Tête d'Or, drifting around the lake on the boat or smelling the roses. Take a funicular up to the top of Fourvière Hill and exult in the view. And to finish, why not take your very own tour of the city in a Citroen 2CV?