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Lyon is THE destination for foodies. Crucible for top international chefs, Lyon has a lively eating and drinking scene which continues into a post-restaurant-closing hours scene when the restaurant staff enjoy their own eating and drinking. As well as rich Lyonnaise cooking, this city is rich in culture, with plenty of history to uncover, art to experience, treasures to purchase, and even civilised strolling to be done. The Hotel Guru's selection of the best places to stay in Lyon has something for everyone from the budget bolthole to the truly luxurious city pad with Michelin starred cuisine.
Lyon's stylish centre sits between the Rhône and Saône rivers, an elegant web of boulevards built in the 19th Century, on which you'll find cafes and boutiques.
Despite Lyon's reputation as a commercial and industrial powerhouse, its position between two rivers allows for plenty of opportunities for scenic strolling. The towpath along the Rhône's left bank is especially nice. If your idea of perfect French civility involves mature gentlemen playing petanque and boating lakes, then this is the promenade for you.
Unlike other cities, the oldest part of town isn't at the heart of the modern city - the cobbled alleys of the medieval Old Town is on the Saône's west bank. This is a slightly quirkier area, and if you're looking for something unusual then this area, and especially the Rue de Boeuf, is the place to come. The Old Town is also full of restaurants.
The really ancient bit of Lyon, the Roman bit - Lyon was once the Roman capital of Gaul - is best reached using the funicular from Vieux Lyon metro station. The highlights are the Roman ruins: there are two theatres here, capable of seating 13,000 people, and the Gallo-Roman museum.
Lyon's other great museums are the Musée des Beaux-Arts - which houses works by Renoir, Degas, Monet, Pissarro and Cezanne; The Musée Lumiere - where cinema began; the Musée des Confluences - an ambitious science and technology museum; and the WWII museum.
While Lyon's collection of art, historical treasures and architecture are certainly impressive, this city is really famous for its food. There's one stretch of riverside which just seems to be food market after food market.
Les Halles de Lyon Paul Bocuse, Lyon's purpose-built wholesale market, is a great place to start if you're here on a culinary pilgrimage. Bursting with specialist stalls and local producers with hundreds of years of experience, this covered market is full of goodies.
Treated like a giant pick and mix by the locals, who you'll find eating at the stand up tables, there are also some fancier options here if you want to sit down and be served. But don't worry, Lyon has plenty of enticing ways to keep you sated and more.
The bouchons, a sort of cross between a pub and a bistro, are great places to try the amazing local stews and sausages. They vary in decor and sophistication, but bear in mind that some of them have Michelin stars… Of course you'll also find fine examples of the latest international culinary trends here. In fact many of them were probably started here.
The 'newest' part of Lyon - because of redevelopment - is the Confluence. This is another good spot for restaurants and is best reached by ferry. Mostly because the views of the petanque parks and the city's architectural peaks are charming.
- Top choice for a central location, the Hotel le Royal doesn't just have a great restaurant, it's also got a lunchtime cooking school. Classical elegance, and everything you could need.
- Cour des Loges is grander. In fact it's nothing sort of spectacular. More than just beautiful, the decor here borders on the theatrical. Five stars worth of individualised decor, hand painted murals and silk tapestries and a Michelin star restaurant. Romantic and special. Without a doubt one of the best places to stay in Lyon!
For a city break
- The College Hotel is a design hotel lite, with a school theme which ends up being quite chic. The rooms are all white, and have excellent views, some with private terraces as well, and the communal areas, cafes and restaurants imagine your school was more Hogwarts than Grange Hill.
- For city sophistication, try the Globe et Cecil, a 60 room contemporary townhouse hotel right in the centre of Lyon.
On a Budget
- Lyon's Mama Shelter is what many of us imagine Google HQ might be like - plenty of technology, not a huge amount of space, but fun use of what there is. And rooms start from just £41 per night.
For Special Occasions
- Converted from a convent, the Villa Florentine now offers every luxury and comfort imaginable. There's a gourmet restaurant, a spa and outdoor pool, and all with spectacular views over Lyon.
Best Hotels in Lyon
Mama Shelter 156 rooms from $51Lyon
Think Charlie and the Chocolate Factory plus the kind of gadgetry you might find at Google HQ. Super modern, super cool, super eclectic. Each room is different, each as fun as the next. The penthouse has access to the roof. City style for technophiles.City StyleContemporarySights nearby - Well located for major sights.Local markets - Good for local colour.Recommended by - Tablet
Domaine de Clairefontaine 35 rooms from $64Lyon (Chonas-l'Amballan)
A gorgeous family home in hectares of parkland with an excellent Michelin star restaurant. Rustic chic bedrooms with attractive bedspreads and pastel wallpapers. Stunning grounds filled with ponds, raspberry groves, violet carpeted forests, and peacocks roaming the lawns. A romantic gourmet spot.Foodies - Michelin star.Swimming Pool - Outdoor PoolGreat walks - Good for walkers.Sights nearby - Well located for major sights.
Ostellerie du vieux perouges from $102Lyon
A glorious hotel spread across four traditional buildings in traditional villages with cobbled streets. Romantic rooms, family rooms and suites have four poster beds, fireplaces, stone floors, and attractive fabrics. Excellent regional cuisine and very good value.Families - Some rooms sleep 4.GroupsRomantic - Good for couples.Great walks - Good for walkers.
Hotel Bayard Bellecour 22 rooms from $119Lyon
An elegant hotel on the edge of Place Bellecour, in the heart of Lyon. Each room is individually decorated and with chic wallpaper and soft furnishings. Wake up each morning to a buffet breakfast before going off and exploring the city's sights or make the most out of the nearby shopping.City Style - A chic hotel right in the heart of Lyon, offering elegant rooms within walking distance of the main sights.Local markets - The Lyon Sunday market is especially worth a visit, head down and check out the fantastic regional produce for sale.
Okko Lyon Pont Lafayette 85 rooms from $125Lyon
A chic contemporary hotel overlooking the river Rhone. Rooms are stylishly designed in a distinctly minimalist and modern fashion. With the city centre on your doorstep it's the perfect bolthole for exploring the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Lyon's old town. A hip choice.Local exploring - Perfect for exploring this fascinating city, within walking distance of Lyon's Old Town and Saint-Jean-Baptiste Cathedral.City Style - A cool and contemporary design hotel, in the centre of the city, offering a chic club lounge and views over the river.Sights nearby - Twenty minutes walk from the sights of Lyon's Old Town and ten from Place du Maréchal Lyautey square.Views - Great views from hotel
Maison d'Anthouard 18 rooms from $153Lyon
Boutique hotel just 15 minutes from Lyon city centre with garden, wine bar and restaurant. Bedrooms are spacious with striking contemporary design and modern simplicity. A peaceful garden outside the city with lovely greenery. The restaurant offers a selection of seasonal dishes.City Style - A stylish base just outside the centre of Lyon.Sights nearby - Basilica of Notre-Dame de FourvièreLocal markets - Lyon - Passage Thiaffait
College Hotel 39 rooms from $130Lyon
Striking 'school' themed hotel in central Lyon. Contemporary rooms all in white with great views over the city, some with private terraces. A 'Refectory' themed bar and restaurant. An excellent variety of meeting rooms make it ideal for business visitors looking for something less corporate.Meeting Room - Excellent variety of meeting rooms.Sights nearby - Located in the heart of the old townLocal markets - Good for local colour.Recommended by - Fodors, Sawdays
Les Hautes Bruyeres 5 rooms from $136Lyon
Charming guest house with pleasant garden and outdoor pool just 10 minutes drive from central Lyon. Rooms are rustic yet sophisticated with white washed walls & stylish furnishings. For something completely different you can spend the night in a gypsy caravan! Plenty of great restaurants nearby.Hideaway - Cosy rooms, private gardens or your very own gypsy caravan to retreat to.Sights nearby - Basilica of Notre-Dame de FourvièreCooking classes - Bocuse cookery school in villageLocal markets - Explore the local daily marketRecommended by - Sawdays
Hotel le Royal 74 rooms from $136Lyon
Classical elegance with a modern twist at this centrally located hotel. Palatial rooms and suites with lots of white, red, and cerulean blue Toile de Jouy and all the modern gadgets. An excellent restaurant and lunch time cooking school. Very comfortable safe option.City StyleSights nearby - Very central location between the riversCooking classes - Lunch time cookery schoolLocal markets - Good for local colour.Recommended by - Tablet
Domaine des Sequoias 19 rooms from $141Lyon (Ruy)
A serene country mansion that combines the traditional and the contemporary. Rough stone walls, steel, glass, wood, fixtures and furniture for minimalist effect. Enormous swimming pool, gourmet kitchen, and luxurious rooms. Something different, very special.Romantic BreakSwimming Pool - Lovely Outdoor PoolCooking classes - Check for timings.
Le Clos du Chene 9 rooms from $157Lyon
A lovely country house on the banks of a river, not far from Lyon. Very romantic rooms blend traditional materials with contemporary finishings for chic effect. Family rooms and a gypsy caravan too. Excellent dinner by arrangement, lots of markets to explore, and plenty of Beaujolais wine tasting.Views - The view opens over the hills of Beaujolais.Romantic BreakFamiliesSights nearby - An ideal base for visiting Lyon, the medieval towns of Perugia and Trévoux, for exploring the beautiful Beaujolais region.
Le Beau Rivage 30 rooms from $165Lyon (Condrieu)
Set on the banks of the River Rhone and near a Nature Reserve. A hotel in a romantic location with riverside terraces and a gourmet restaurant. Charming rooms and suites in pinks, mauves and creams with private terraces. A haven for peace and tranquility.Outstanding location - On the banks of the Rhone.Cooking classes - Check for timings.Views - Great views from hotelBirdwatching - Good birding near the hotel.
Pavillon de la Rotonde 16 rooms from $177Lyon
Pavillon de la Rotonde has 5 stars for a reason. Its spa facilities allow you to enter a state of complete zen, as does its gardens. Interiors are a wonderful hybrid of 1930s and highly contemporary decor, and each room is delicately furnished to provide the perfect place to chill out.Foodies - Two Michelin starred restaurantSwimming Pool - Heated indoor pool and jacuzziSights nearby - On the outskirts of LyonViews - Great views from hotel
La Pyramide 23 rooms from $209Lyon
Recently renovated, this charming hotel is just 5 minutes from Vienne's city centre. Guestrooms and suites are spacious, with fresh contemporary interiors. The two restaurants have exciting and innovative menus and offer comfortable alfresco dining. A welcoming destination for food enthusiasts.Sailing - Base Nautique des Lacs de Haute CharenteKayaking - Base Nautique - ExideuilSights nearby - Roman TheatreFishing - River VienneRecommended by - Relais & Chateaux
Cour des Loges 61 rooms from $224Lyon
Nothing short of spectacular. A Five Star hotel with a Michelin restaurant. Classical elegance throughout constructed by artists. Think romantic Venetian landscapes and Italian opera framed with silk embroidery. Fabulous spa, rooftop garden, and wine vaults.Foodies - Michelin stars.5* Luxury - Very high service standards.GourmetCity StyleRecommended by - Fodors, Kiwi Collection, Small Luxury Hotels
Villa Florentine 28 rooms from $230Lyon
Contemporary design and Italian Rennaisance in an attractive former convent. Romantic rooms with private terraces overlooking Lyon. A gourmet restaurant, beauty treatments, and swimming pool make it a relaxing spot to explore Lyon from.Gourmet - Michelin starred restaurantCity StyleSwimming Pool - Lovely Outdoor PoolSights nearby - Well located for major sights.Recommended by - Relais & Chateaux