Wish we had booked more days - three was not enough ! We didn't know what to expect, but I can only tell you we were so pleasantly surprised what an interesting city Lyon is, with a good 'vibe' - it is so often by-passed. I wanted to post a brief run-down on how we spent the 3 days there, so if anyone is 'thinking' about going there, an idea on what can be done - and there was plenty we didn't get to do.
Day 1 - Arrived mid afternoon by train from Paris. Stayed next to the train station (there was a reason behind this). Settled into hotel, then got the metro into Place Bellecour and picked up maps and brochures from the Tourist Office there. Decided to stick to exploring the Presquille due to the time. Walked the narrow streets lined with cafes, visited Place Terreaux with the Fontaine Bartholdi, saw Hotel-Dieu, walked to the Frescos by the river, then stopped for a drink in a narrow street side bar before finding our restaurant for dinner.
Day 2 - Got the train to Annecy (2 hours) - a really nice journey. It was market day and luckily a lovely day, had time to explore the market, walk around, stop for coffee - the old town is not that big, but you want to wander at a leisurely pace. Very picturesque with the lovely canals, hanging flowers, not forgetting the Lake itself! We had pre-booked a 'splurge' lunch out in Annecy le Vieux, so enjoyed a few hours there, before getting a bus back to the town, and taking a short Lake Cruise. Took the 6pm train back to Lyon. (The reason we stayed next to the train station) - it was worth the full day trip, still relaxed, and so beautiful, especially on a nice day.
Day 3 - So much to see today ! Started at Les Halles, Paul Bocuse indoor market, since it was a short walk from our hotel - small, but amazing, expensive but quality. Took the metro to Bellecour again, as wanted to walk over the pedestrian bridge to Lyon Vieux, there was a market by the bridge. We had a map and walking plan, to visit the Traboules, Cathedrale St Jean, and end up at the top of the hill and the Basilica of Notre Dame de Fourviere that we had seen looking down imposingly from above since we arrived. Have to admit, either couldn't quite find some of the Traboules or some of the doors were locked, we got a little 'lost' but did see some, and ducked in to others when we saw people going in - sort of ditched our walking tour, and just meandered around the heavily cobbled old streets. Decided to get the Cable way up the hill - at the top happened upon a concert at the Roman Ruins, so stopped for a while and watched. Of course you are rewarded with great views over Lyon from the top at the Basilica, you can really see the layout of the city in front of you, the two rivers cutting through, dividing it into 3 distinct sections. It was a neat walk down the hill (much less taxing) -have some great photos, especially as we got closer, of the very narrow alleyways, stepped and heavily cobbled streets. In the old town, so many cafes, bars places to sit and watch and chill, and some great restaurants, you do have some great choices, not just bouchons. Had another excellent dinner out.
We could easily have spent another day there - I guess because we took the day trip to Annecy, it was to the compromise of seeing more of Lyon. Next time we will visit the museums, we are sorry we didn't get into La Croix Rousse district, where the silk was made.
Maybe it's not for everyone - after Paris, it feels more 'gritty' - but it also feels 'different' so you shouldn't be comparing it. I'd love to go back - some day.