|Here I am sipping du vin with OnlyLyon's engaging and entertaining Francois Gaillard and Lionel Flasseur.
I recently met the charming and charismatic gents who head up tourism for France's second-largest city, Lyon, at a cocktail to-do. So why, I asked Francois Gaillard and Lionel Flasseur of OnlyLyon, should I plan a trip to Lyon this fall? (Of course, we sipped local wines and de trop as we chatted …)
Jason Oliver Nixon: Tell me why I'd want to visit Lyon?
Francois Gaillard: Lyon is the ideal French city and has a wonderfully diverse heritage-from the Roman theater to the most contemporary architecture as well as the Renaissance-era Old Town. But there is also a very diverse culture-from Beaujolais wine to the stunning gastronomy and the silk industry, and that's just a start. There is so much to see and discover in Lyon.
JON: How about the hotel scene in Lyon? We love to travel to boutique-styled hostelries. What are your recommendations?
FG: Cour des Loges: This former Renaissance palace has been turned into a five-star hotel. Le Royal: The Paul Bocuse Institute is located inside, and all the silk employed in the decor is from Lyon.
|An overview of the city of Lyon, a burg that I now plan on visiting.
JON: How has Lyon evolved over the years? It seems steeped in history but with a modern twist …
FG: A stage for more than 2,000 years of history, the city has a remarkable architectural heritage. Wandering around Lyon is like embarking on a fascinating journey through time. In each district Lyon displays an astonishing variety of architecture, from the ancient Fourvière cathedral to the traboules (passageways from the Renaissance in Old Lyon) via the elegant peninsula situated between the Rhône and the Saône, to the contemporary and original creations by Renzo Piano, Jean Nouvel and Santiago Calatrava.
JON: What about transportation? What's the best way to get around the city?
FG: Lyon is a big city but on a human scale so it is easy to get about either on foot or by using the new bicyles (Vélo'V) that are available everywhere in town to rent. There are also many other practical means of public transport: bus, subway and tram.
JON: If I am touring through the city for one day, where would you recommend we dine alfresco?
FG: Probably the best place is the new Confluence district that allows you to make the most of the many stylish establishments on the water's edge. But the Old Town with its many small restaurants and patios is still the place to visit. You could also try the panoramic views from the hilltop gastronomic restaurants of Fourvière: Head for Christian Tetedoie's new restaurant or maybe the famous Villa Florentine.
JON: What attractions are must-visits?
FG: Lyon counts many unique attractions such as le Musée de la Soie (Silk Museum), the Musée Gadagne (the history of Lyon) and the Musée des Beaux-Arts (Museum of Fine Arts). You also have the Lumière Institute that retraces the history of cinema that was invented in Lyon.