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Travel bucket list idea:

Last updated: 28 May, 2023
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.



Basilica of Notre-Dame de Fourviere

Lyon, Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes, France

Bucket List Experience
External facade of the basilica on a hillside

The city’s iconic hilltop basilica, dedicated to the Virgin Mary, is famed for its sweeping panoramas, stained glass windows and bucolic Rosary Garden.

Best for ages 18+

Lugdunum Museum

Lyon, Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes, France

Bucket List Experience
The roman amphitheatre side view of seating

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.

Adult price: £3

Best for ages 13+


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.

Destination guides


Destination guides including or relevant to this experience


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Man on horse statue in foreground, basilica behind

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