France’s second city will be easier to reach by rail from May 1st.
Lyon has never had a high profile amongst British travellers, despite the fact that it is known as the gastro capital of France. That might all change in 2015. From 1st May Eurostar will start a year-round non-stop service between London and Lyon up to five times a week. You can be there just four hours 41 minutes after leaving St Pancras.
Lyon certainly has plenty to offer the visitor. Vieux Lyon was the centre of the silk-weaving industry that tied the city so closely to renaissance Italy. What was once a city-wide trade has shrunk to just nine practising silk workers. You can visit a workshop at Soierie Saint-Georges.
2014 saw the inauguration of the Rives de Saône – an ambitious riverside promenade along the River Saône, which incorporates many features aimed at improving the riverside environment in the city.
December 2014 saw the opening of the Musée des Confluences – a new science centre and anthropology museum. Named “The Crystal Cloud”, it is made of glass, concrete and stainless steel and stands erect like a beacon on a headland at the confluence of the Rhône and Saône rivers.
It’s impossible to talk about Lyon without mentioning food. Considered by many to be the gastronomic capital of France, the city is home to some of France’s most interesting cuisine. The city has many excellent restaurants to tempt the visitor. Famous dishes include charcuterie, pike quenelles with crayfish sauce and every kind of offal. The food is unquestionably rich: a typical side order in restaurants is macaroni gratin and sautéed potatoes.
Like any French city, Lyon has several markets of interest. You can shop for food alongside the top Lyonnais chefs at the Saint-Antoine market along the banks of the Saône near Place Bellecour. Lyon’s famed indoor food market has nearly five dozen stalls selling countless gourmet delights. You can buy a round of runny St Marcellin and a knobbly Jésus de Lyon from Charcuterie Sibilia. You can also enjoy a sit-down lunch of local produce accompanied by local families who congregate for shellfish and white-wine brunches on Sundays.