10 Things I Absolutely Love About Lyon

Published: 2018/02/21

Ten reasons why I love Lyon


This is Lyon in France

In my life, I’ve traveled a lot, and one city I never forgot was Lyon, France. So when I finally realized that life is really, really short and I wanted mine to A) be full of adventure, B) be healthy, and C) be long, I immediately thought of Lyon. Here are a few reasons why I love this city.



1- Lyon is absolutely stunning.

Hands-down the most visually spectacular city in the world (IMHO). With its varied architecture, soothing parks and two rivers, it will suck you in, charm you, and wrap you like a warm blanket.

2- Lyon’s vibrant

There’s a lot going on — every single day. Live music, theater, markets, museums… you name it. Here’s just a taste

Street art in Lyon, France

Hilary Rowland

3- Lyon’s location can’t be beat:

    • It’s a short drive to the Alps for snowboarding (yeah, Chamonix on Mont Blanc will be one of our new weekend spots).
    • It’s less than two hours by high-speed train to Paris.
    • It’s not far from the Mediterranean coast. Not to mention we can drive to Spain, ItalyBelgium, and Switzerland.
    • It’s right next to several of the world’s top wine regions.
    • World-class hiking, kayaking, boating, and even scuba diving are all within a 15- to 50-minute drive.
    • Direct flights to the most amazing places in Europe cost about €30 a ticket. #nuffsaid

4- Lyon is cheaper than New York

The cost of living is about one-fifth (for food) to one-tenth (for apartment rentals) of the cost of living in NYC (where I spent the decade before moving to Europe).

5- People in Lyon are friendly

The people are super friendly and polite (not to mention young, well-dressed and attractive). Oh, and there’s a large expat community here.

6- Lyon is FUN!

Like, really fun. The parks along the rivers are full of people hanging out having picnics, there are many streets lined with cafes that have outdoor seating (and, since cars aren’t allowed, you’re not in a cloud of exhaust while you eat), and having a drink or listening to live music on one of the many bar-boats (I’m actually not sure what they’re really called, but they’re large boats with bars on/in them) is a great after-work tradition.

Hilary Rowland on place des Terreaux, Lyon France

Hilary Rowland, place des Terreaux, Lyon (France)

7- Nobody honks in Lyon!

Really! I can count, on one hand, the number of honks I’ve heard in the past month (which is super refreshing when compared to the almost constant I’m-going-to-kill-someone style of honking in NYC.)

8- Lyon is the foodie capital of Europe

It’s the foodie capital of Europe (and, therefore, the world), with more Michelin-starred restaurants per capita than anywhere else. And people actually get to enjoy it here because, unlike in NYC, people take an hour or more for lunch (yes — on work days! #gasp!) and spend it chatting (no, not about work) and enjoying the sun (or the outdoor heating lamp) at one of the many fantastic indoor-outdoor restaurants in this city.

9- Lyon has the longest life expectancy in France

It has the longest life expectancy in France, a country with top-notch healthcare, a ban on GMO’s, and stringent chemical and food health-first regulations.

10- Fresh baguettes for under a buck.

Need I say more?!


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3 thoughts on “10 Things I Absolutely Love About Lyon

  1. Hi Joan, Thanks! My husband and I were at the last event and we’ve been members of the Facebook group for over a year 😉

  2. Bonjour Hilary, thanks for sharing these great aspects of our lovely city. My husband and I moved here almost six years ago and love it!

    Can you tell me where the street art in your story is located? I would love to see an entire story on Lyon street art!

    I assume that you are an American and would like to invite you to join Democrats Abroad Lyon. We founded our chapter last March as a forum for expat Americans to support one another, send our concerns to the DNC and get out the vote for upcoming elections. We have had a very successful year with events ranging from participating in the March for Science to First Thursday Drinks and our July 4th BBQ. We have a Democrats Abroad Lyon Facebook page, group and website http://www.democratsabroad.org/fr_lyon where you can keep up with our upcoming events. We would love to meet you!

    I look forward to reading more of your stories here on This is Lyon.

    Warm regards, Joan

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