Lyon: make the most of the culinary capital of France

Whether in the noisy throng of its food markets or in the quiet calm of its bouchons, you'll experience the full gamut of French gastronomy in Lyon.

Our top picks at a glance

  • Le Halles Paul Bocuse
    • Nearly 60 top-class food stalls selling countless gourmet delights. Sit down and get a snack or lunch, or just fill your picnic basket.
  • La Garet
    • The three-course lunch for €19.50 is a great introduction to the regional specialties.
  • Les traboules
    • Explore the city's 19th-century secret passageways for pastries, chocolates or a bottle of wine to take home.

What's so special about food in Lyon?

To put it simply, Lyon is where chefs go for inspiration. Its covered food markets are legendary: a swarm of delicious smells, noise and waving arms. It has more than 2,000 restaurants, including its characteristic bouchons – little traditional bistros that offer the perfect place to hole up for an afternoon. And if you know your food history, you'll have heard of the city's most famous resident, Paul Bocuse. The godfather of modern French cooking, Bocuse invented nouvelle cuisine in the late 1960s, has a string of Michelin-studded restaurants and has a food market, Le Halles Paul Bocuse, named after him. Lyon is his turf of choice.

The markets

On entering, the first thing that hits you is the smell. Fresh seafood, pungent cheeses and dry-aged charcuterie fill the air, as does the lively chatter of friends and family, catching up over a table of steaming lobsters, mussels and white wine. This is a wonderful place to see those founding French values of friendship and family, plus a love of good food and drink, played out in person. Fruit and vegetable displays are works of art, with gleaming piles of red peppers and black aubergines piled up next to fluffy green carrot tops and yellow sweetcorn. Saucisson hangs down in white nets from meat counters, with endless varieties of pies and patés stacked underneath. Rounds of waxy yellow cheeses, rustic baskets of fresh bread and strategically placed bottles of red wine create a bustling foodie atmosphere that you will want to take home with you.

Good for: Cheese, charcuterie, seafood, wine.

Don’t miss: Le Halles Paul Bocuse. Buy a small round of the country's finest Saint Marcellin cheese from specialist Mère Richard, taste artisan chocolate from Maison Sève and regional saucisson Jèsus de Lyon from charcuterie Maison Cellerier.

The shops

Intro: The narrow, winding lanes of Lyon’s old town are filled with promising little cafes, bakeries, chocolate shops, delicatessens and bars that are made for people-watching. Wander down some of the city's famous traboules – secret passageways used in the 19th century by silk traders, particularly around the Croix-Rousse district – to get a sense of how history enlivens and enriches this city. Then sit and ponder it over a coffee and a macaron.

Good for: Hand-crafted confectionery, flavoured liquers, edible souvenirs.

Don’t miss: On Rue de la Bombarde, artisan pastries and meringues dazzle from the windows of A La Marquise. Round the corner, Le Comptoir de Mathilde offers handcrafted chocolates and outlandishly flavoured rum drinks. Want to pair that charcuterie with a nice bottle of something? Head to Antic Wine on Rue du Boeuf to consult with an expert sommelier.

Discover Lyon for yourself on a river cruise in France

Burgundy and Provence - Paris to Côte d'Azur

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Most popular

from £2,378 per person

  • 11 days
  • Price based on 07 Apr 19
  • 9 dates available

Take a wonderous river cruise through beautiful France along the Rhône and Saône Rivers with guided sightseeing in the well-known French treasures and some hidden gems too! This France river cruise adventure begins in style with two overnights in Paris—one of the world’s most romantic and vibrant cities! The City of Light has Notre Dame Cathedral, the Eiffel Tower, and the Louvre Museum with its elegant glass pyramid contrasting its ancient architecture. A guided city tour will show you all the must-see sights. You’ll visit Lyon, a showcase of medieval and Renaissance architecture, as well as France’s gastronomic capital! Situated at the junction of the Rhône and Saône Rivers, Lyon offers wonderful sights, including the popular Place des Terreaux with its famous fountain seen on postcards. Beautifully nestled among vineyards, you’ll find the twin cities of Tournon and Tain l’Hermitage, where you’ll go on a guided walk of Tournon, a medieval treasure with plenty of Roman ruins and a fascinating 16th-century castle. Continue your river cruise to historical Avignon and see the 14th-century Palace of the Popes—the largest gothic fortress in the world. On the Rhône River sits Arles, France—famous for inspiring the paintings of Van Gogh and its 1st-century Roman Amphitheater, which hosts plays and concerts to this day. You’ll conclude your historical and delightful French river cruise with an overnight stay on the picturesque Côte d’Azur. Explore this captivating area and relax along the remarkably blue water of the Mediterranean Sea. You’ll revel in the relaxing and inspiring sights and culinary delights during your French river cruise and Mediterranean holiday!

Burgundy and Provence - Côte d'Azur to Paris

Offer

Most popular

from £2,422 per person

  • 11 days
  • Price based on 15 Apr 19
  • 12 dates available

Take a wondrous journey through beautiful France along the Rhône and Saône Rivers with guided sightseeing in the well-known French treasures and some hidden gems too! Begin with an overnight on the captivating Côte d’Azur. Explore this elegant area and relax along the remarkably blue water of the Mediterranean Sea. On the Rhône River sits Arles, France—famous for inspiring the paintings of Van Gogh and its 1st-century Roman Amphitheatre. On a guided tour of historical Avignon, see the 14th-century Palace of the Popes—the largest gothic fortress in the world. The twin cities of Tournon and Tain l’Hermitage are beautifully nestled among vineyards and you’ll go on a guided walk of Tournon, a medieval treasure with plenty of Roman ruins and a fascinating 16th-century castle. Lyon, France’s gastronomic capital, sits at the junction of the Rhône and Saône Rivers and is a showcase of medieval and Renaissance architecture. Visit the popular Place des Terreaux and stand in front of the famous fountain you’ve seen on postcards. This river cruise vacation across France would not be complete without a stay in Paris—one of the world’s most romantic and vibrant cities! The City of Lights has Notre Dame Cathedral, the Eiffel Tower, and the Louvre Museum with its elegant glass pyramid contrasting its ancient architecture. A city tour will show you all the must-see sights and you’ll have free time to bask in the lavish cafés and enjoy the city at your own pace. Take time to leisurely take in the graceful lifestyle in Burgundy and Provence, enjoy the specialities of the region and the warmth of its residents while sailing through France’s exquisite shores.

Grand France - Paris to Côte d'Azur

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from £4,658 per person

  • 16 days
  • Price based on 29 Oct 19
  • 3 dates available

Enjoy wine, cheese, and stunning scenery on your France river cruise on the Seine and Rhône Rivers. You’ll have a choice of historical excursions in Normandy, including the famed landing beaches, Point du Hoc monument, and the American Cemetery. Visit Joan of Arc’s Rouen, and choose from Claude Monet’s Giverny or Bizy Castle; Vincent Van Gogh’s Auver-sur-Oise or Napoleon and Josephine’s Malmaison. Before you embark on the beautiful Seine River, you’ll spend time in Paris—one of the world’s most romantic cities! The “City of Lights” is home to Notre Dame Cathedral, the Eiffel Tower, and the Louvre Museum, and you can take a guided walk to see the Île St. Louis and ascend the Eiffel Tower. Taste some of Burgundy wines on board your ship, and visit the Chardonnay wine region. Cruise to France’s culinary capital of Lyon, and visit the Place des Terreaux fountain of famous postcards, then visit the Beaujolais region to taste famous wines. Beautifully nestled among vineyards, you’ll find the twin cities of Tournon and Tain l’Hermitage, where you’ll go on a guided walk of 16th-century sites in Tournon, followed by a wine and chocolate tasting. Cruise to historical Avignon and see the 14th-century Palace of the Popes and enjoy a wine tasting on a visit to the Châteauneuf du Pape wine country. Sail on the Rhône River to Arles, France—famous for inspiring the paintings of Van Gogh. In the second portion of your cruise, a Master of Wine will travel with you and share lectures, tastings and food and wine pairing expertise. As a perfect finale to your river cruise holiday, spend time in the captivating French Riviera, also known as the Côte d’Azur. Explore this elegant area and relax along the remarkably blue water of the Mediterranean Sea.

Rhine & Rhône Revealed - Amsterdam to Côte d'Azur

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from £3,917 per person

  • 16 days
  • Price based on 29 Oct 19
  • 6 dates available

This fabulous European river cruise along the Rhine, Saône, and Rhône Rivers combines the best of Holland, France, and Germany. Begin in Holland’s vibrant capital of Amsterdam, with a canal cruise through the 700-year-old city. Visit Cologne, Germany, a 2,000-year-old city known for its gothic architecture and famous twin-spired cathedral, and sail through the dramatic Rhine Gorge. Strasbourg, France, located on the French-German border, perfectly blends the cultures of both countries, and Breisach, Germany, is the gateway to the unrivalled natural beauty of the Black Forest. Taste Burgundy wines on board your ship, take an excursion to the Chardonnay wine country and sail to Lyon, the culinary capital of France. Visit the picture-postcard Place des Terreaux fountain, choose to visit the Beaujolais region for a tasting of its famous wines. Also, visit the twin cities of Tournon and Tain l’Hermitage, and take a guided walk of Tournon, with its Roman ruins and a fascinating 16th-century castle, followed by wine and chocolate tasting. Cruise to historical Avignon and see the 14th-century Palace of the Popes. Sample wine in the Châteauneuf du Pape wine region, and cruise on the Rhône River to visit Arles, France—famous for inspiring the paintings of Van Gogh. A Master of Wine will join you for the second part of your European river Cruise for wine lectures, tastings, and food and wine pairing. Enjoy your last night in France on the captivating Côte d’Azur. Relax along the remarkably blue water of the Mediterranean Sea—a perfect ending to this once-in-a-lifetime European river cruise!

Grand France - Côte d'Azur to Paris

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from £5,665 per person

  • 16 days
  • Price based on 01 Apr 19
  • 2 dates available

This river cruise highlighting the best of France is certainly grand! Begin your adventure on the captivating French Riviera, also known as the Côte d’Azur. On the Rhône River sits Arles, France—famous for inspiring the paintings of Van Gogh—and its 1st-century Roman Amphitheater. On a guided tour of historical Avignon, see the 14th-century Palace of the Popes—the largest gothic fortress in the world. The twin cities of Tournon and Tain l’Hermitage are beautifully nestled among vineyards, and you’ll go on a guided walk of Tournon—a medieval treasure with plenty of Roman ruins and a fascinating 16th-century castle. Lyon, France’s gastronomic capital, is a showcase of medieval and Renaissance architecture. On the Seine River, you’ll have the choice of seeing the historic Normandy Landing Beaches, including Omaha Beach, the Point du Hoc monument, and the American Cemetery; the delightful Les Andelys, Joan of Arc’s Rouen, Vincent Van Gogh’s Auvers-sur-Oise, or Napoleon and Josephine’s Malmaison. On this French river cruise, you’ll enjoy wine, cheese, beautiful scenery, and stops in the most charming parts of France. And your adventure would not be complete without a stay in Paris—one of the world’s most romantic and vibrant cities! The “City of Light” has Notre Dame Cathedral, the Eiffel Tower, and the Louvre Museum with its elegant glass pyramid contrasting its ancient architecture. Enjoy a guided walk through historic Île St. Louis with its narrow streets and Île de la Cité where medieval Paris was founded. Walk in the footsteps of the great master artists, enjoy the delectable cuisine of France, and stand where heroes fought for freedom on the beaches of Normandy. This and so much more is waiting for you on your French cruise on the Seine!

Rhine & Rhône Revealed - Côte d'Azur to Amsterdam

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from £4,551 per person

  • 15 days
  • Price based on 28 Oct 19
  • 5 dates available

Immerse yourself in French and German culture on this fabulous European river cruise vacation along the Rhône, Saône, and Rhine Rivers. The views will be spectacular so be sure to pack your camera so you can capture the romance and splendor of this magical journey. Begin your adventure on the captivating French Riviera, also known as the Côte d’Azur, to relax beside the deep blue water of the Mediterranean Sea. On the Rhône River sits Arles, France—famous for inspiring the paintings of Van Gogh. On a guided tour of historical Avignon, see the 14th-century Palace of the Popes, and join an excursion to the wine region of Châteauneuf du Pape. The twin cities of Tournon and Tain l’Hermitage are beautifully nestled among vineyards, where you’ll take a guided walking tour of 16th-century Tournon. Lyon, France’s gastronomic capital, sits at the junction of the Rhône and Saône Rivers, and you’ll next take a guided tour to Beaujolais and the following day to Chardonnay for wine tasting. A Master of Wine will travel with you on this first portion of the cruise and will hold lectures, tastings and will introduce you to food and wine pairing. Your next stop is Breisach, the gateway to Germany’s Black Forest. In Strasbourg, France, stroll through the waterfront promenade of quaint shops and bistros of the picturesque La Petite France district. Sail through the dramatic Rhine Gorge, the most beautiful stretch of the Rhine River dotted every mile with ancient castles standing majestically on cliffs 400 feet above the water. A stay in Holland’s popular, modern capital of Amsterdam is the perfect way to end this sensational European river cruise. The best way to see the treasures of this 700-year-old city is on a canal cruise along the elegant grachten lined with homes dating back to the city’s “Golden Age.”