Worldwide icon-chevron-right Europe icon-chevron-right France icon-chevron-right Paris icon-chevron-right The Best Things To Do in Lyon This Summer
Lyon
© Shutterstock

The Best Things To Do in Lyon This Summer

Restaurants, excursions, hidden gems… Our picks for 13 things to do this summer in Lyon.

Written by Time Out. In partnership with ONLYLYON Tourism
Advertising

Now that it's possible to knock about France again, Time Out is playing travel agent and cooking up a selection from the best spots in the country. Step one: head for one of the coolest and most vibrant cities in the Hexagon: Lyon. For this road trip chez les Gones, as the Lyonnais are fondly called, our editors (who visited the city themselves) will have you wandering between the Rhône and the Saône rivers in search of the crème de la crème of good times. From Hebrew restaurants in the Croix-Rousse district and cocktails bars on the peninsula (Presqu'île), to architectural wonders that defy superlatives and surrounding landscapes that offer a post-confinement bucolic break… For the duration of this special edition (and of a round-trip TGV ride), Time Out Paris becomes Time Out Lyon. And believe us: it wasn't easy to leave…

During your trip to Lyon, consider a Lyon City Card and benefit from unlimited access to the metro, tram and bus, free museums, and a basketful of good deals.

THE BEST BARS AND RESTAURANTS

Les Apothicaires
Les Apothicaires
© Les Apothicaires

Discover the best rejuvenated gastronomy in town

With a reputation that reaches Paris and a star in the famed tire guide, Les Apothicaires was the restaurant we were most excited to try in Lyon. We were not disappointed. In a space designed by Bérengère Mey (cosy benches, robin egg blue, and light wooden furniture), Tabata and Ludovic Mey, partners in the kitchen as in life, boast an impressive CV (from Bocuse to René Redzepi) and orchestrate an equally impressive culinary concerto. This evening, on a well-priced menu (€59) in eight acts, these two lovebirds with the Midas touch have transformed each dish into pure gold. Highlights: delicate, crunchy peas with green strawberries and verbena kombucha; a beautiful bass tartare, umeboshi plums, and sage that pops in your mouth; ultra-gourmet buttered zucchini, fermented berries, and herbaceous hollandaise; and crispy, melt-in-your-mouth sweetbreads, grilled cucumber, nasturtium, and green pepper. To wash it all down, a fine selection of wines that tend towards biodynamic and regional, served by the gregarious, laid-back team. Voilà, the rejuvenated gastronomy of Lyon!

Les Apothicaires - 23 Rue de Sèze, Lyon 69006. Mon-Fri noon-2pm and 7:30pm-9:30pm.

Bijouterie
Bijouterie
© Nicolas Villion

Share tapas with friends at the coolest restaurant in Lyon

In this lair of Lyonnais cool, Arnaud Laverdin (also at the helm of the brilliant Sapnà) reigns as undisputed king of the neighbourhood. In his smartly dressed Bijouterie (brushed walls, leather benches, and an oversized tableau of contemporary art) set to house music beats, the chef offers an Asian-fusion menu that seriously rocks. During our visit, on a €27 set lunch menu, our rowdy band played over tapas with a rock-and-roll spirit. Highlights: an explosive Japanese-style fried chicken with harissa mayonnaise; already-legendary vegetable dim sum with sweet chilli sauce and Thai basil; and fried wontons with smoked herring made spicy by caliente kimchi sauce. In the evening, this restaurant goes full bistronomy with a five-course tasting menu for €45, always with the same spirit: relaxed service, original cuisine, and a trendy natural wine list. In short, a staff favourite!

La Bijouterie - 16 Rue Hippolyte-Flandrin, Lyon 69001. Tues-Sat noon-1:30pm (2pm Sat) and 8pm-9pm.

 

Advertising
L'Antiquaire
L'Antiquaire
© L'Antiquaire

Channel Don Draper chez l'Antiquaire

On Rue Hippolyte-Flandrin, not far from the vintage streetwear shops and trendy restaurants (hello La Bijouterie), serial bartender Marc Bonneton oversees his liquid antiquary - an ultra-subdued atmosphere (we'll avoid saying 'dark') with Don Draper-approved drinks and décor. For ambiance, Chesterfield benches, blues music, and attentive service (glass of water upon arrival). For drinks (between €10 and €15), well-balanced classics, like our Old Fashioned: Angostura bitters, sugar, orange zest, cherry, and rum - per our request - instead of bourbon.

L'Antiquaire - 20 Rue Hippolyte-Flandrin, Lyon 69001. Daily 6pm-1am (3am Fri & Sat).

SO6 La Saucissonnerie
SO6 La Saucissonnerie
© SO6 La Saucissonnerie

Snack and drink natural wines chez SO6 La Saucissonerie

A double cheers for Hubert Vergoin! After bringing bistronomy to Rue Pailleron with his now legendary Substrat, the good man has set up a new wine bar across the road. His cellar - smaller than a Parisian studio (natural wood racks, robin egg blue wall, and a smattering of stools) - is abuzz at apéro hour. On the menu? Pork, of course! Chorizo, zucchini gratin, and spelt (€12); Japanese-style pork cutlet, salad with tonkatsu sauce and fried onion (€11); succulent blood sausage with onions, Basque pepper sauce, and potatoes (€10); and a hotdog with tomato coulis, basil, and sheep's cheese (€8)... Wash it all down with natural wines like the easy-drinking Beaujolais-Villages from Domaine Leonis (€4). Brilliant!

SO6 La Saucissonerie - 8 Rue Pailleron, Lyon 69004. Thurs-Sat 11am-3pm and 6pm-1am.

 

THE BEST OUTINGS

Lyon
Lyon
© DR

Enjoy yourself outdoors at the Celebrate Summer - Everyone Outdoors festival

After weeks of confinement, what a pleasure to step back outside. To reacclimatise both to outdoor and cultural life, the people of Lyon will be enjoying the Celebrate Summer festival. Despite a shortened program, this 2020 vintage is just as enticing, with no fewer than 90 free, outdoors events taking place across the city over six weeks. Per usual, the festival will flirt equally with all the arts, from cinema and music, to circus, sports, and theatre. What a way to celebrate summer!

Celebrate Summer - Everyone Outdoors (Fêtons l'été - Tout l'Monde Dehors) - Around Lyon

Sat 11 July - Sun 30 Aug 2020

Confluence
Confluence
© Confluence

Wander the dystopian Confluence district and its museum, before partying all night at Sucre

The Confluence district has brought the ancient capital of the Gauls into the architectural 22nd century. Erected on the ruins of former industrial wasteland at the southern tip of the Presqu'île, the Confluence is adorned with buildings boasting avant-garde shapes and colours. Chief among them, the orange and green cubic diptych by Jakob + MacFarlane, the maze-like regional council headquarters by Christian de Portzamparc, and the Museum of Confluences with its impressively large collections. A must for all visitors: le Sucre, the city's main club, housed in an old sugar warehouse, with a rooftop and hot programming.

Advertising
Garnier Lyon
Garnier Lyon
© Brice Robert

Visit the Tony Garnier Urban Museum and its open-air frescoes

It's been a hundred years since the first stone of the États-Unis district was laid, but Tony Garnier's architectural adventure is more alive than ever. With this ensemble of buildings, Garnier redefined workers' housing, improving their living conditions immeasurably. In the 1980s, the district was renamed Cité Tony Garnier and rehabilitated, before seeing 25 frescoes painted on its walls by the artists of CitéCreation in homage to the architect's influence. Ever since, one can walk around with head tilted skyward to see creations depicting Garnier's celebrated utopian project, the Industrial City. Indulge your nostalgia and be sure to stop by the show apartment, which brilliantly reproduces a lodging from the 1930s.

Tony Garnier Urban Museum (Musée urbain Tony Garnier) - 4 Rue des Serpollières, Lyon 69008.

Puces du Canal
Puces du Canal
© Puces du Canal

Scavenge morning, noon, and night at the Canal Flea Market

A vintage goods institution. Since 1995, the Canal Flea Market (les Puces du Canal) has attracted thousands of visitors weekly along the Jonage canal in Villeurbanne. With 600 stalls offering design, jewellery, vinyl, and a thousand other things, it's a second-hand celebration. Feting their quarter-century with great fanfare, les Puces, in partnership with the Lulu Sur la Colline theatre, are extending their hours with the launch of Canal Nights, Thursday through Saturday. Every evening, shows, screenings, barbecue, bars, and, of course, vintage galore! Not to be missed.  

5 Rue Eugène-Pottier, Villeurbanne 69100

Canal Flea Market (Puces du Canal): Thurs 7am-1pm; Sat 9am-1pm; Sun 7am-3pm. Canal Nights (Nuits du Canal): Until Sat 12 Sept. Open Thurs-Sat, 7:30 PM onwards.

THE BEST HOTELS

MOB
MOB
© MOB

Hit the hay (and the bar) at MOB Hotel

After shaking up the Sant-Ouen Flea Market, Cyril Aouizerate, co-founder of Mama Shelter, pulled back the sheets and unveiled his MOB Hotel in the trendy Confluence district. Sitting on the tip of the peninsula, a 5,000-square-metre building set behind a honeycomb façade, with a slew of activities to keep you entertained. Among them (all tested and approved): a pop-up store; a chill rooftop where you can play ping-pong and sip mocktails to American hip-hop (from Nas to Travis Scott); a busy schedule of Pilates, hatha yoga, and DJ sets; and a pop-up restaurant where you can indulge morning, noon, and night in a menu of organic offerings and stellar pizza. In the evening? The downstairs bar has us drinking excellent creative cocktails and organic wine between two boisterous games of table football. With all that, one could almost forget to mention the rooms: each replete with balcony (for us, a view of the banks of the Saône); big, cosy beds under scarlet theatre curtains; Italian showers; and concrete walls. All at insane prices (starting at €99). A must!

MOB Hotel - 55 Quai Rambaud, Lyon 69002

BEST REGIONAL EXCURSIONS

Couvent Le Corbusier
Couvent Le Corbusier
© Flickr

Discover the Tourette Convent, designed by Le Corbusier

Visiting a convent is not, one might imagine, the most exciting excursion. But when you learn that said convent was designed by Le Corbusier, you practically run to join the order. Located in Eveux, thirty-odd minutes from Lyon, the convent's impressive concrete building lords over the surrounding 70-hectare park. Everything here is hyper-designed, from the church and the façades to the refectory and the lights. You can visit with a guide and even eat here, but the ultimate (mystic?) experience is to spend the night in a monk's chambers...

La Tourette Convent (Couvent de La Tourette) - Eveux 69210

Visits range from free to €8. €54 for the night (includes dinner and breakfast). €14 for a meal (midday or evening). Reservation required for groups of maximum 15 persons, Tues-Sat, 2pm-4pm. The interior of the convent is open exclusively to guided tours, Sundays at 2:30pm.

Lac Lyon
Lac Lyon
© DR

Cool off in the (very) beautiful waters of the region

With rising temperatures testing the limits of our thermometers, it's important to know where to cool down with a dip. And since Lyon dances eternally between the banks of the Rhône and the Saône, the region abounds with bodies of water each more welcoming than the last. All that remains is to make your choice: dabble in the paradisiacal hues of lakes of Nantua, Aiguebelette, and Paladru; dive into the wilder river Ain; or chill on the banks of lakes Cublize and Miribel. And if you set out on an Alpine excursion, impossible not to stop at lakes Annecy and Bourget.

Advertising
Beaujolais
Beaujolais
© DR

Drink your way along the Beaujolais wine route

A trip to make (and imbibe) all year long, not just the third Thursday of November! Behind the autumnal apéro hide the vineyards of the Saône river valley, full of surprises far from the region's sometimes poor oenological reputation. Among the winemakers we most strongly recommend, names like Jérôme Balmet, Karim Vionnet, Benoît Camus, Charly Thévenet, and Philippe Jambon. With this list, no one will take you for an amateur.

For more information, visit the Tourism Office of Beaujolais

 

Mine de Saint-Etienne
Mine de Saint-Etienne
© Mine de Saint-Etienne

Cross enemy lines by visiting the Saint-Etienne Mine Park-Museum

Suggesting a visit to Saint-Etienne in a guide to Lyon! Something to make any Lyonnais see red. But the mine museum is most definitely worth a detour. Situated in the Couriot coal shafts, the last to have closed in 1973, this museum is a living testament to the centuries of mining life in this region. From the gigantic infrastructure to the emotional intensity of the massive locker room, which served as the meeting point amongst the miners, through the realism of the "descent to the bottom" and the contemporary exhibitions, the Mine Museum will touch your heart. Even that of the the most Lyonnais of Lyonnais.

Couriot Wells - Mine Park-Museum (Puits Couriot - Parc-musée de la Mine) - 3 Boulevard Franchet-d'Esperey, Saint-Etienne 42000

Tues-Sun, 10am-12:30pm and 1:30pm-6pm. Price ranges from free to €6.50

Recommended

    You may also like

      Advertising