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Bucket list experience:

Last updated: 07 November, 2022
Expert travel writer: Anna Brooke

To enjoy spectacular bird’s-eye views over Lyon, head up steep Fourviere hillside above the Saone – on clear days, you can spot Alpine foothills far to the east. The other big draw of the Fourviere hillside is that you get an overview of Lyon’s 2,000-year-old history, from Roman finds to views over contemporary quarters.

The best viewing platform stands beside Notre-Dame-de-Fourviere Basilica. This huge 19th-century church, Lyon’s most obvious landmark, is the city’s answer to Paris’s Sacre-Coeur. Nearby, incorporated into the hillside, lie two Roman theatres that still serve for contemporary entertainments. The neighbouring Lugdunum Museum on Gallo-Roman civilisation provides fascinating insights into Lyon’s ancient past.

Notre-Dame-de-Fourviere is always lit up at night, and particularly dramatically for December’s Fete des Lumieres (Light Festival). In summer, the Roman theatres host the Nuits de Fourviere festival.

While you’re there

The restaurant Tetedoie (4 rue du Professeur Pierre Marion), brilliantly located just below the Roman theatres, has a dining room with great views, and serves some excellent high-end cuisine.

Recommended itineraries by our writers that include this experience

Price: Free
Minimum age: Any
Age suitable: 18+
When: All year around

Getting there & doing it

As the Fourviere hillside is extremely steep, the easiest way up to the sights at the top is by using the funicular service from down in Vieux Lyon. Alternatively, the Grand Tour hop-on-hop-off tourist bus offers another relaxing, scenic way up. Only use the special montees (footpaths) if you’re fit; these routes are interesting, though, taking you past many old monastic establishments.

When to do it

The funicular service operates all year round, seven days a week, usually from 6am-10pm. As the Fourviere hillside faces east, early birds might enjoy heading up top early to take in sunrise over Lyon.

Lugdunum Museum

Lyon, Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes, France

Nestled into the Fourviere hillside, Lyon’s fascinating Roman attraction is home to two ancient theatres and a museum filled with artefacts depicting all aspects life in the Roman town of Lugdunum.

Best for ages: 13+ | £3

Our writer’s picks of the best places to stay near this experience, closest first

Villa Florentine

Lyon, Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes, France[0.4 miles]

Gorgeous convent converted into a calm luxurious retreat, aloof on the Fourviere hillside overlooking Lyon.

Official star rating:

Cour des Loges

Lyon, Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes, France[0.5 miles]

Uniquely stylish hotel-with-restaurant stretching across several historic houses in the centre of Vieux Lyon. Perfectly located for sightseeing.

Official star rating:

Fourviere Hotel

Lyon, Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes, France[0.6 miles]

High-end design hotel in a former convent, on the Fourviere hillside, offering chic eateries, including a typical bouchon, plus a spa and an outdoor pool.

Official star rating:

College Hotel

Lyon, Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes, France[0.6 miles]

Playful school-themed hotel in the heart of Vieux Lyon, offering city views, and a terrace bar where nightly light shows illuminate the facade.

Official star rating:

Destination guides including or relevant to this experience

Lyon

Auberge-Rhone-Alpes, France

The gastronomic capital of France, if not the world, is not just a foodie hotspot. With UNESCO-protected architecture and awe-inspiring Roman ruins, its one for history lovers too..

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Our writer’s recommendations of other bucket list experiences our writer says you must do in this destination, closest first

Vieux (Old) Lyon

Lyon, Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes, France[0.6 miles]

Lyon’s historic and most beautiful quarter, notably filled with fine 16th-century French Renaissance mansions. An insight into how the city thrived in the Renaissance.

Best for ages: 18+ | Free

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Boat tours of Lyon

Lyon, Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes, France[1.7 miles]

Boat tours on the Saone and Rhone rivers offer a serene, effortless way to appreciate Lyon’s glorious riverbanks and architecture.

Best for ages: Any | £15 | 1-3 hours

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Auberge du Pont de Collonges

Lyon, Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes, France[6.2 miles]

Theatrical Michelin-star dining experience paying homage to one of France’s culinary legends, chef Paul Bocuse. This pioneer of lighter, more innovative nouvelle cuisine was born here in 1926.

Best for ages: 18+ | £80

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Museum of miniatures in french city Lyon. Glass showcase of the museum with action figures in
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Miniatures & Cinema Museum

Lyon, Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes, France[0.5 miles]

A must for film buffs: Artist Dan Ohlmann showcases 120 miniature scenes and hundreds of film props to reveal the way special effects are made in the world’s leading film studios.

Best for ages: 4+ | £8

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Gadagne Museum

Lyon, Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes, France[0.5 miles]

Housed in Vieux Lyon’s grandest mansion, this small museum is actually two museums: the Museum of Lyon History, which traces the history of the city since medieval times, and the World Puppet Museum, with over 2,000 puppets collected over centuries.

Best for ages: 4+ | £5

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Saint-Jean Cathedral

Lyon, Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes, France[0.5 miles]

Henri IV married Marie de Medicis in this stunning medieval cathedral, famed for its 16th-century astronomical clock and one the world’s largest 17th-century bells, rung up to 15 times a year.

Best for ages: 18+ | Free

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Village des Createurs

Lyon, Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes, France[1.2 miles]

The go-to spot for shopaholics, this covered passage at the foot of Croix-Rousse houses Lyon’s edgiest fashion and interior design boutiques, plus a hand full of arty pop-up stores.

Best for ages: 13+ | Free

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