The third largest city in France by population, Lyon welcomes passing tourists, students and workers from all over Europe. Despite its size and variety, finding accommodation in Lyon can be complicated or expensive. Fortunately, there are many different solutions: hotels, hostels, flats, B&Bs.
The choice of area in which to stay is also important: each district of Lyon has its own history and culture, forged over centuries. Depending on the district, the perspective and characteristics of the city itself change: each has a different atmosphere, shaped by its history and inhabitants.
To be as close as possible to ancient Lyon, Fourvière is a good option, with a magnificent view of the city. The Unesco heritage area extends into old Lyon, in Saint-Jean, an excellent area but very touristy. La Presqu’Île is in a sense the heart of Lyon, bourgeois and upmarket, where accommodation can be expensive. La Guillotière and Croix-Rousse are favourite neighbourhoods for visitors.
Perched on a hill, it was here that the Romans first settled in 43 BC, founding the ancient city of Lugdunum. Today, many vestiges such as the ancient theatre, the odeon and the sanctuary of Cybele are still visible: the area offers breathtaking views of the city.
Fourvière is an upmarket bourgeois district with a strong Catholic tradition. For this reason, rents are generally very expensive, but you will certainly enjoy peace and quiet here. You will realise this as you walk along the paths of the Parc des Hauteurs to climb to the top of the hill and visit the main religious monuments, including the Notre-Dame basilica, the Saint-Thomas chapel and the Saint-Just church. A busy district during the day but quiet at night.
This area has many small restaurants and bars, but the best thing is to go back there after dark for a spectacular view of the illuminated city.
This is the largest Renaissance quarter in Europe after Venice. For this reason, it is also the most touristy area of Lyon, classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Located west of the peninsula, on the banks of the Saône, it is a great place to sleep, but prices are among the highest in the city.
The reason is simple: Old Lyon has the highest concentration of museums, tourist attractions, old buildings. All enhanced by many small restaurants where you can sample the famous Lyon gastronomy, tourist bars, historical monuments and the famous traboules the secret passages that create a labyrinth of colourful alleys and inner courtyards of timeless splendour.
This strip of land between the Saône and the Rhône holds the cultural identity of Lyon. The area encompasses the 1st and 2nd arrondissements and stretches from the slopes of the Croix-Rousse to the Ainay district, the aristocratic and bourgeois Lyon, to Perrache station.
We are in the heart of wealthy and affluent Lyon and its main thoroughfares, dense with luxurious shops and fashionable restaurants, are proof of this. It is therefore a rather upmarket area where accommodation will inevitably be expensive. Its strength lies in its centrality, which makes it perfect for getting around the city and easily reaching every corner of Lyon.
This former industrial port is the perfect place for those who love design and architecture: it was created from scratch, in an ambitious and successful urban regeneration project. Today, it has become the trendiest neighbourhood in Lyon and boasts almost exclusively modern buildings and palaces, even futuristic ones.
Staying in this district is very pleasant: overlooking the banks of the Saône and the Rhône, you can admire unusual landscapes composed of orange, green, cube-shaped buildings with all amenities, including shops and restaurants. A perfect place for shopping, strolling and relaxing after a day spent in the hustle and bustle of Lyon.
The hill of Croix-Rousse is a small village in the metropolis, the liveliest and most picturesque part of Lyon, the district of festivals and alternative bars, the place for the arts and concerts. An ancient stronghold of social resistance, this area witnessed the Canuts’ revolt in 1831: even today, the neighbourhood has retained its militant and protest side, its bohemian atmosphere, a perennial liveliness both day and night.
This is one of the best areas to stay in Lyon for young people who like to party and experience the night.
If you are looking for the cosmopolitan character of Lyon, we recommend sleeping in the Guillotière district: central, teeming with people and students, bohemian and popular at the same time.
Guillotière, or la Guille, as the Lyonnais say, is located on the banks of the Rhône and is home to two large university campuses: here you will find quays where you can stroll in fine weather, art galleries, bars where you can attend concerts, barges and their bistros for night owls, and the best African and Asian food shops, which are decidedly inexpensive.
Many different communities, Arabs, Africans, Asians and Roma live side by side in this neighbourhood, creating anatmosphere of cheerful confusion. It is a popular district, where accommodation will be significantly cheaper than in the tourist areas of the centre.
The Perrache district has undergone major urban development to make it the city’s most important place of commerce and transit. In fact, a metro station, tram station, bus station and motorway junction are located here.
This crossroads of transport and urban connections is ideal for reaching the economic and political centre of the city, the Part-Dieu shopping centre and the university campuses. We recommend you choose this area if you need to move around a lot during your stay.
Should you happen to manage an early morning or late evening flight, you may need to sleep near Lyon Saint-Exupéry Airport. However, the airport is located some thirty kilometres from the city of Lyon.
In these cases, you will find plenty of hotels to sleep near Lyon Saint-Exupéry airport: they mainly cater to travellers and therefore offer services designed especially for those who have a flight to catch, even before dawn or in the middle of the night.