For former visitors of Paris who may still have a bad taste in their mouth having spent 7 euro on a coffee, Lyon is the place for you. The city – known to be the antithesis of Paris – is not as recognised as the home of the Eiffel Tower but for anyone wishing to get a real taste of France without remortgaging the gaff, you’re in luck.
Having lived in the city and holidayed twice there, I can safely say it’s one of my favourite cities and positively brimming with some of the coolest things to do – no frog’s tails or smelly cheese included.
What to see
Lyon is something of a hilly city, and while your calves may not thank you on the way there your eyes certainly will (those unable to walk can take the funicular tram). The viewpoints in Lyon are breathtaking, with the crème de la crème being the Basilica of Notre-Dame de Fourvière. The view from the top lets you see across the entire city and is prime Instagram material!
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Loosely translated as ‘Old Lyon’ this area is full of cobbled streets, cosy restaurants and vibrant pubs for the quintessential “demi” (half-pint). The area is so beautiful as you you enter Vieux a romantic violin solo almost starts playing in your head.
Parc de la Tête d’Or
Lyon is one super green city with lots of fields and parks and Parc de la Tête even has a zoo, boating lake and botanical gardens included.
What to eat
La route des pates
The best pasta I’ve ever had in my life, hands down. One of those places you could only WISH was located in your home town.
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For the veggie or vegan in your life, the falafel in YAAFA is impeccable. Wraps, salads, desserts – you name it and you get a full belly for just under a full tenner!
There are two things French people go batshit crazy for – football and Irish pubs. Johnny’s Kitchen is no exception and creamy pints aside, their food is top notch.
Where to drink
Ed’s Eat and Drink’s is the perfect spot for a hot day when you need to take stock and refresh. The Flower Tree sculpture by artist Jeong Hwa Choi is in your exact view if you sit outside and want to pretend to absorb some culture while on the lash.
Sit on the magical cobbled streets of Vieux Lyon and watch the world go by outside one of Lyon’s oldest Irish pubs.
A library cum restaurant, this Latin American vibed bar is so ornately decorated and even has salsa nights every once in a while. Arriba!
Situated overlooking the river Saone, the Wallace is a real hotspot for English, Irish and Scottish drinkers. Sports, cocktails, pints, pub quizzes, you name it and it’s there.
Flights to Lyon Saint Exupéry from Dublin are provided by Aer Lingus and start from €225.