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Inflight Magazine of Brussels Airlines

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Lyon May 2011

The French have a saying, “En Avril ne quitte pas un fil, en Mai fait ce qu’il te plait,” which translates as: “Until the end of April keep your winter clothes, from 1 May onwards, wear what you want.” Embrace this seasonal joie de vivre amid the early-summer delights of Lyon. John Brown is our city guide

PLACE LYAUTEY

Sitting alongside the River Rhône, one of the city’s most beautiful focal points has immaculate flower-drenched gardens and an impressive fountain as its centrepiece. The surrounding Haussmanian architecture acts as a backdrop, and hosts some of the city’s finest – albeit pricey – street-level shopping.

SLEEP The Hilton Lyon (70 Quai Charles de Gaulle, tel. (0)4 7817 5050, hilton.com, rooms from €130), in the Cité Internationale complex, is a stone’s throw from the Parc de la Tête d’Or. Get to know this plush residential area, whose attractions include the Musée d’art Contemporain (mac-lyon. com), a casino and a myriad of fine dining and snack stops.

LATER Les Berges du Rhône (Quai Augagneur) has a string of bars and clubs with open-air terraces. Revellers can get the boat rocking with live music at Sirius, salsa to jungle beats on board Peniche La Marquise or drink trendy cocktails with the in-crowd in the lounge at Q Boat.

VIEUX LYON

In 1964, Vieux Lyon – comprising Saint-Jean, Saint-Paul and Saint- Georges (but no Saint Ringo) – became the first protected historic district in France. It is one of the largest Renaissance quarters in Europe, and was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1998.

EAT Baragones (5 Place Saint-Paul, tel.  
(0)4 7210 0505) is a great little place to share a selection of tapas and a bottle of wine. Georges Five (32 Rue du Boeuf, tel. (0)4 7240 2330) is all about great wine, with a little charcuterie and cheese thrown in. Extremely popular, you’ll need to book to enjoy the delights of this 30-seater restaurant.

CULTURE St-Jean Cathedral dates back to the 11th century – listen out for the 14th-century astronomical clock, which chimes on the hour. Then wander the courtyards and traboules (passageways) behind the Auberge du Gouvernement (2 Place du Gouvernement). This recently restored building is full of historical and architectural surprises.

SHOP Visit Le Capricorne (1 Place de la Baleine) for handmade lamps and sculptures, Le Bois Debout (34 Rue Saint-Jean) for ancient and modern lithography, Chez Disagn’Cardelli (6 Rue Saint-Jean) for local puppetry – with an adjoining theatre – and Indy Shop (54 Rue Saint-Jean) for a wide selection of vintage clothing.

TIP Saint-Jean’s restaurants are largely bouchons – bistro-like places that serve a limited menu comprising specialities made from every part of the pig. Look out for boudin (blood sausage) and andouillete (tripe sausage).

TOURNON SUR RHÔNE AND TAIN L’HERMITAGE

Joined by Europe’s first cable- suspended bridge, constructed by engineer Marc Seguin in 1826, Tournon and Tain are two of the best wine-producing areas in France. Enjoy a day doused in culture, countryside and cuisine less than an hour from Lyon.

EAT Le Mangevins (6 Avenue du Docteur-Paul-Durand, Tain, tel. (0)4 7508 0076) offers simple yet sublime dishes in a cosy haven for wine lovers. Pan-fried veal sweetbreads or asparagus risotto can be savoured with a glass or two from the impressive wine list. Le Tournesol (44 Avenue Maréchal Foch, Tournon, tel. (0)4 7507 0826) offers those in search of attentive, non-starchy service the chance to sample flavours from all corners of the globe.

CULTURE The beautifully preserved 13th-century Château de Tournon provides a complete history of the town and its surrounds, as well as magnificent views from the terraces that overlook the Hermitage hillsides (ville-tournon. com). Trails around the old town will guide you through the ramparts before heading down to the quays for a pit-stop at one of the many cafés lining the river.

SHOP Prestigious boutique Valrhona (14 Avenue du Président-Roosevelt, Tain) gives chocolate lovers the chance to test, taste and taste again before making their purchases.

TIP Trains run frequently between Lyon and Tain L’Hermitage (sncf.com).

INFO

Saint Exupéry Airport is 25km east of the centre.

Tram The Rhônexpress tram links the airport and Lyon Part Dieu train station in less than 30 minutes. Located in the TGV station, tickets cost €13 for a single and €23 for a return and can be bought on board, by ticket machine or online at rhonexpress.fr. Allow 10 minutes from terminal 3.

Taxi A taxi to the city centre costs approximately €55 during the day and €70 at night, and takes about 30 minutes.

Tourist office The main tourist office is located at Place Bellecour (tel. (0)4 7277 6969, lyon-france.com).