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!
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.