Introduction to Lyon Tour

Get acquainted with Lyon and its history with the help of a local expert
From US$584 privately
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Tour Details
Duration
3 hours
Product Type
Tour
Venues
  • Vieux Lyon
  • Basilica of Notre-Dame de Fourvière
  • Roman Theater
  • Presqu'île
  • Lyon Cathedral (Cathédrale Saint-Jean-Baptiste)
Photos & Highlights
  • Half-day tour highlighting Lyon's rich history
  • Led by a historian
Select a date
Tour Description
The third-largest city of France, Lyon has played a powerful role in shaping the region's history since its founding two thousand years ago as the Roman capital of Gaul. A crossroad on the trade routes between Italy and the rest of Europe, Lyon grew to be a rich center of trade and Christianity. Untouched by mass-tourism, our half-day Lyon tour led by a local historian provides a thorough introduction to this French city's abundant history and culture, shown through its taste for art and cuisine.

Interested in a different tour in France? Check out our tour offerings in Provence or Paris.
  • Place Bellecour
  • Vieux-Lyon Neighborhood
  • Basilica de Notre-Dame de Fouvière
  • Saint Georges District
  • Presqu'île
  • Roman Theatre
  • 3 hours with a PhD or MA level guide 
Our discovery of Lyon begins at its central Place Bellecour, one of the largest open squares in Europe and the city's kilometer 0. Our walk will continue in the most famous neighborhood of Lyon: Vieux-Lyon, the old city center, also known as the Saint-Jean area. Strolling down its charming narrow cobble-stoned streets, through its traboules (local covered passageways), we will discover the area's history and its many hidden architectural treasures. The district's centerpiece is the Gothic-style Saint-Jean Cathedral, a symbol of the religious power of the city.

We will continue our exploration by climbing the Fourvière Hill, dominated by the Basilica of Notre-Dame de Fourvière. From its heights, we will be able to have an exceptional view of the entire city, noting its expansion since Roman times. We will then travel back in time to Lugdunum, as Lyon was called during Antiquity, visiting the well-preserved Roman amphitheater and Odeon. Selected as the Roman capital of Gaul, Lugdunum formed the gateway between the rest of the Roman Empire and northern cities. As we walk through these sites, we will learn about the organization of the Roman city and daily life in those times.

Strolling back down to Lyon's center, we will arrive in the district of Saint Georges, another old neighborhood with cobbled streets and colorful buildings along the Saône River. We will end our walk among the treasures of the Presqu’ile, the geographic center of Lyon, with its lively squares and elegant 19th century facades. 

Lyon's historical intricacies from its days as the former capital of Gaul and its many hidden charms won parts of the city their designation as UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 1998. As our time together comes to a close, we will have uncovered what makes Lyon such a gem. 
I'm staying in Paris and would like to do this as a day-trip. Is this possible? 
This is possible, though it would be a rather long day, as Lyon is a little over two hours by train from Paris. Please contact us for more details about the logistics of such a trip; we are happy to offer advice and see it it can work for your itinerary. Please note that our guides are based in Lyon.

I'm taking the train to Lyon the morning of my tour. Which train station should I arrive at?
Perrache station is closest to our meeting point at a 10-15 minute walk. Part-Dieu station is a 15-minute taxi ride from our meeting point.

Are the interiors of the venues visited? 
No, this tour focuses primarily on the exteriors of the stops as it's a walking tour, however, if a venue is open and time allows, your expert may be able to bring you inside.
Where You'll Start
(4.86) 45 Reviews

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Marie-Claire was a wonderful guide. She was well studied and could tell a good story (so many tour guides don’t know how to tell a good story). We enjoyed her tour as well as her company. I can’t wait to see her again one day
Stefania was great. She's knowledgeable and interesting. She answered our questions and based on some prior indications knew some points of interest for us. We'd highly recommend her. Worthwhile introduction to Lyon.
Granted we were late, but I let her know ahead of time that we were delayed, and we did not expect her to extent the tour. She shared less information with us than our cab driver the next day and our walking-and-food guide. She sent us into the Notre Dame cathedral and told us to meet her 20 minutes later, rather than accompanying us and pointing out the features of the Cathedral. What can I say - I learned more about Lyon history from the info in my hotel room than I did from the guide. This is all in addition to her refusal to slow her walking pace to accommodate my husband even though I told Context when I booked that one member of our party was mobility challenged and would be slow. Finally, I invited friend to share this tour based on my past good experiences with Context, and they too were disappointed in the tour.