Lyon Boat Trip: The Best Alternative Way to Discover Lyon

Published: 2019/07/05
How to live the city’s experience in a new way? Why not trying a Lyon boat trip and dining to discover the magnificent city of Lyon and learn about Lyon’s history. 


After living in a particular place for some time, one might think there is nothing else to discover apart from small cafés and restaurants in the suburbs. This is particularly true in cae of small cities.

Some people might consider Lyon a big one, but for me it stays a pretty small city compared to some places I have visited during my travels. Having said that, it does not mean I have discovered it all even though I have been living here for almost 2 years.

Lyon 20-page guide to getting by on public transit with 80 tips and maps

But let’s agree that sometimes one’s heart wants to do it differently – to live the city’s experience in a new way. Well, that’s exactly what happened to me when I was looking for a new experience for my beloved one and myself (cheers to couples!).

Lyon boat trip on the Saône river

Lyon boat trip and dining, a great experience to enjoy the city © Anatoli CHERNYAEV.

Going through some ‘ordinary’ ideas, eureka, I found one that seemed particularly exciting to try – Les Bateaux Lyonnais, Lyon boat trip and dining.

And may I say it has been one of the most beautiful experiences in my entire life!
So I have decided to share 4 reasons why I think Lyon boat trip is the best alternative way to discover the magnificent city of Lyon.

Reason #1: Sightseeing + gourmet meal in one place

There are several options for the boat trip – sightseeing, dining and special thematic cruises.
I opted for sightseeing + dining experience of 2,5 hours. We started the sightseeing tour in Vieux Lyon and sailed up to Ile Barbe and back to Confluence.

The sightseeing was accompanied by a 3-course meal – you can choose your preferred menu during your reservation online – and a gourmet café in the end.

Lyon boat trip by night

Lyon boat trip by night © Les Bateaux Lyonnais

Is there a better way to discover the culinary capital of France than through its long-standing culinary traditions? The menu is designed by a top Lyonnais Chef combining the best meals of this incredible region and a great choice of wine and champagne.

What is particularly mind-blowing was the realization of how close Lyon is to nature. Sailing a little bit farther from Vaise, we found ourselves in complete countryside with small beaches and sailors’ boats. A must-try!

Reason #2: Original way to learn about Lyon’s history

The boat trip is an amazing chance to explore Lyon’s majestic landscapes while listening to its history. The whole trip is commented both in French and English (YES!!! a very good English speaker).

Compared to other sightseeing tours where they speak non-stop about every single spot, this one has a very good pace to give you some time to enjoy your food. AND, it is actually very informative.

Lyon boat trip in the summer

Discover Lyon’s history by boat © Anatoli CHERNYAEV

You learn how Vieux Lyon’s architecture has been influenced by Italian merchants, how an old prison has been turned into a finance school, and how Lyon’s modern district has been created.

Well, I am not giving away any more information so that you can go and discover it yourself. It is definitely worth a try.

Reason #3: Super-Instagrammable spots on a Lyon boat trip

Whether you are a social media person or not, we all love taking photos. Especially, when we are in a beautiful place such as Lyon.

The dining cruise is a two-story boat where the dining experience is organized on the first one and the second-floor deck is left for guests to relax, enjoy their glass of wine ‘avec une petite clope’ (with a ‘small cigarette’, as French love to say) and take pictures.

The Ile Barbe on the Saone river, a must-see during a boat trip in Lyon. © Fred CROUZET

If you are lucky enough to have good weather – which you will probably be – then you will be able to take amazing photos using different angles and spots. Those who have already been on a boat trip will unanimously agree that it is a truly memorable experience to see your familiar city from angles you have never imagined before.

And if you are an Instagram person, you have nothing to worry about. A couple of incredible shots will be ready for your feed right away.

Reason #4: L yon boat trip, the BEST birthday present

If you run out of ideas for a birthday present, then you might consider this boat trip. You can both share the experience with the person or offer it as a gift voucher.

Lyon boat trip and dining

Enjoy a great diner on board. © Anatoli CHERNYAEV

In case you decide to opt for a dining cruise, you can also reserve a champagne and a birthday cake while making your reservation online. It comes as a surprise at the end of the trip and seems to be a great supplement to the whole trip (at least that was my impression when 3 birthday cakes came out during our trip).

Even if the person has lived in Lyon during their whole life, this experience will definitely be something they will cherish for good. Don’t forget to share those with Les Bateaux Lyonnais’ official Instagram page.

P.S. In case your budget is restricted, an only-sightseeing tour is still worth experiencing.

Some useful information about Bateaux Lyonnais

Reservationonline or by phone (tip: reserving online is cheaper)
Dining cruises – lunch and dinner (2.5 or 5.5-hour trips)
Sightseeing tours – times and dates vary according to different seasons
School groups: yes
Possibility of privatization: yes
Best time for photos: lunchtime

Hope you will be able to experience the Lyon boat trip! In case you do, do not forget to share with us your photos and stories.

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