Where should I go next?…
My favorite city in France so far is Lyon, the second largest city (meanwhile Marseille is larger if considering the surrounding county). Lyon has relatively very few tourists around the year except during the four days of the Festival of lights (around the weekend of 8th December).
I have stayed 8 months in Lyon before and I have the chance to see the festival three times out of the four years I am in France. I totally adore the festival and I won’t think twice to go back year after year.
The tradition was that every house placed candles outside all the windows on December 8 to express gratitude toward Mary, mother of Jesus. Nowadays, it becomes more of a professional light show all over Lyon.
The three must-see points are: Place des Terreaux, Saint Jean Cathedral and the Ferris wheel in Place Bellecour.
Of course, there are more than 50, 60 sites throughout the city but I bet you won’t have enough time to check every single one out. And honestly, some sites are just too far from the center and aren’t worth the time to travel to.
If you only stay for a night in Lyon and want to experience the most out of it, my advice is that you start on either Vieux Lyon for the church or Hôtel de Ville for Place des Terreaux with the metro and walk through Place Bellecour to the other end. This will allow you to see some other minor sites en route and avoid backtracking.
You can either plan beforehand as all information is posted online or you can get a program easily once you arrive in Lyon. All the sites are marked out clearly.
And you will be avoiding the metro as much as possible. Trust me, you don’t want to see the madness, like waiting half an hour to enter the station. But there is always a day where the metro is free after 16h, so make sure you check before you buy your metro passes.
During the four days, 3 million tourists come to Lyon for this event. It is one of the biggest cultural events in France or even in the world. It is the most exciting time to come to Lyon but also the worst time to visit Lyon. The festival totally transforms the city.
The whole city is so full of tourists that it is impossible to find any restaurant to eat. You will never be able to try out what Lyon, the capital of gastronomy, offers. You will probably end up in a fast food restaurant or worse, a food stall along the street.
Also, the hotel is much more expensive than the rest of the year. Well, it is not an easy decision to choose between normal Lyon or festival Lyon.
Bon voyage à tous 🙂