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Lyon is the second largest city in France and considered the one of world’s culinary capitals. It's known for its bouchon restaurants serving up local specialities like andouillette sausage, buttery fried potatoes and praline tart. Located in the Rhône-Alpes region, the city stretches across two rivers, the Saône and the Rhône, and its distinct neighbourhoods manage to maintain a village-style vibe. You’ll find friendly locals, quaint cafés and bakeries and of course, row after row of restaurants.
Continuing the foodie theme, you can find hostels in Lyon that serve homemade dinners or have on-site cafés and bars. Otherwise, shared kitchens invite you to channel your inner French chef and test out some of the stunning local produce. Sit out on a patio with a glass of Côtes du Rhône wine, or watch the world go by from your private balcony. Lyon hostels often have organised activities such as wine tasting, yoga brunches and guided city tours.
The city is divided into nine districts, or arrondissements. The 5th arrondissement is Vieux Lyon (the old town), sitting on the west banks of the Saône and stretching up Fourvière Hill. You can cross the Passerelle St Georges bridge, connecting the old town with the Presqu’île peninsula, between the Saône and the Rhône rivers. Here you’ll find the 1st and 2nd arrondissements, with plenty of shops, bars and pubs. It’s also home to Fresque des Lyonnais, a mural of well-known Lyon natives including chef Paul Bocuse and the Roman Emperor Claudius.
The Basilica of Nôtre-Dame de Fourvière, on the Fourvière Hill in the old town, is known as the upside-down elephant to locals because of its size and its four leg-like towers. The gleaming white structure can be seen from right across the city. You can also explore Lyon's famous traboules, hidden passageways that weave through buildings, courtyards and down winding staircases. There are as many as 400 across the city, but 40 are now open to the public – if you manage to spot the seals identifying them!
Lyon has an extensive public transport system, comprising trams, a four-line metro and funiculars connecting Vieux Lyon to Fourvière and St-Just. Lyon-St-Exupéry Airport is 25km east of the city and linked to the city by a tram shuttle service. Lyon has two main train stations, Gare de Lyon-Part-Dieu and Gare de Lyon-Perrache, with routes to cities including Paris, Lille and Marseille. Next to Gare de Lyon-Perrache, you can catch long-distance buses to Spain, Portugal, Italy and Germany.