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Travel bucket list idea:

Last updated: 28 May, 2023
Expert travel writer: Anna Brooke

Lyon has over 300 miles of cycle paths, and a good stretch of them follow its watercourses to give you (by bike or on foot) spectacular views of its iconic riverfront monuments and facades.

The Rhone’s quays run between the Tete d’Or and Gerland parks – a 5-mile stretch where river gardens morph into cream-fronted urban landscapes and locals crowd the cafe terraces and party boats.

Saone side, an artwork-studded 10-mile pedestrian trail takes you along the river between the Confluences area and pretty Ile-Barbe Island, before leading you out of town to bucolic Rochetaillee-sur-Saone, where river beaches provide the perfect picnic backdrop.

While you’re there

The quaint settlement of Rochtaille-sur-Saone is peppered with ‘guinguettes’, typical riverboat eateries with waterfront terraces and occasional live music. They make for excellent watering holes along the way.

Price: Free
Minimum age: Any
Age suitable: 10+
When: All year around
Duration: 2+ hours

Getting there & doing it

The Rhone trail couldn’t be easier to follow. Just start on the waterfront in Tete d’Or Park and follow the route southwards towards Gerland Park in the 7th Arrondissement. If you go at a gentle pace, you can cover it all in 30 minutes. Most people use one of Lyon’s Velo’V self-serve bikes.

For the Saone promenade, simply join the quayside along Quai Rambaud and walk northwards. It’s a 2-hour stroll between Confluences and Ile Barbe, then you could continue northwards for another 1.5 hours into the countryside to Rochtaille-sur-Saone.

When to do it

The trails are accessible throughout the year, getting busier on sunny days, on week-ends and during school holidays. There’s not much shade in summer, so Spring and Autumn are good times to do it.

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