Here’s 10 insider tips on what locals usually do in July in Lyon.
By Kevin Bonnaud
Swimming Around Lyon
Take a swim at the Outdoor Public Pool
Going to Tony Bertrand Nautical Center is the easiest way to cool off a bit when temperatures are high.
The outdoor pool is perfectly located on the banks of the Rhone near the University district offering a magnificent view of Fourviere Hill. Bellecour is just on the other side of the river. It’s also a great spot for sunbathes.
In the summer, sometimes you have to wait in line to enter.
Tony Bertrand Nautical Center – 8 Quai Claude Bernard, Lyon 7 – Entrance : 8 Euros Subway D Guillotière or Tramway T1 Guillotière, Saint-André, Rue de l’Université.
Find a bathing spot around Lyon
If you think the pool is too chlorinated or if you are looking for a more natural site, hit the road. There is a lot of watering spots around Lyon to escape the urban air.
You can go to L’Atol private beach in Miribel Jonage Park (15 km from Lyon) to relax, dive into the waters of the Ain river in Priay (55 km), rent a pedalo in Lake Paladru (80km), Lake Aiguebelette (100km) or Nantua (90km) while admiring the hilly landscapes surrounding the lakes.
Discover beautiful Lake Aiguebelette by drone :
Summer Food & Drinks in Lyon
Have a French Apero in an outstanding venue (with panoramic views)
There are great places in Lyon where locals and tourists can enjoy aperitive drinks in outdoor terraces with stunning views. Start with Les Muses. The bar restaurant, located on the 7th floor of the Opera building, has an incredible view of City Hall and the city centre.
If you are looking for a Brooklyn-like rooftop, you have no choice but going to Le Sucre in Confluence, one of the trendiest places in Lyon. A safe (summer) bet.
Enjoy an ice cream in the Vieux Lyon (Lyon Old Town)
As a gourmet city, Lyon has of course a lot of ice cream manufacturers. Nardone the most famous of all is located between Saint-Paul train station and the Saone river in the Vieux Lyon.
The shaded terrace is often crowded but it’s worth waiting for. Walking through St Jean street on a hot summer day, it’s hard to resist the temptation to stop by Terre Adélice , which proposes over 100 ice cream flavors, or to taste an Italian gelato from Amorino.
Have lunch (or dinner) in a waterfront restaurant
If you like gazing upon a river or hearing lapping water while eating in a restaurant, you should go to the banks of the Saone just out of Lyon. Les Planches in Albigny (20 minutes from Lyon) or La Paillotte in Rochetaillée (30 minutes) look almost like French Riviera beach clubs or restaurants.
You can even stay in the city. There are many venues with water views whether it’s in Confluence or alongside the barges on the Rhone banks.
Party for France National Day in Lyon
Go to Bastille Day Firemen’s Ball
Bastille Day (July 14th) is France national Day. Every town celebrates it with popular balls. Lyon makes no exception. Show your talent as dancer (and seducer) on July 14th in the banks of the Saone river where three distinct balls take place from 9pm.
Expect a break around 10.30pm for the traditional fireworks displayed from Fourviere Hill. Some neighborhoods like Croix Rousse and Confluence have their own ball on July 13th while the famous restaurant Brasserie Georges hosts an afternoon ball on July 14th.
Culture: Free Outdoor Events
Go to an open-air movie night
Watching a movie in an outdoor setting for free is always a cool thing to do on a summer night. Several events are scheduled in the Lyon area with old and recent English movies.
July 8, 10 pm – Dumbo by Walt Disney – Lacroix Laval Park (Marcy l’Etoile)
July 11, 10pm – To Be or Not to Be (1942) by Ernst Lubitsch – Place Ambroise Courtois (Lumiere Institute – Subway D Monplaisir/Lumiere)
July 15, 10pm – The Circus (1928) by Charlie Chaplin – Lacroix Laval Park July 20, 9.45pm – Whiplash (2014) by Damien Chazelle – Place d’Ainay – Subway A Ampere/V.Hugo
July 24, 10pm – Electra Guide in Blue (1973) by James William Guercio – Place Jean Jaurès (Lyon 7) Subway B Place Jean Jaurès
July 28-30, 10pm – Short movies (English/non-English) following a 90 minute concert (Cinefil Festival ) Fargo Barge in Confluence (Tramway T1 Hôtel de Région/Montrochet).
Attend an open-air opera in Fourviere Theatre
The Opera of Lyon challenges the widespread conventional thinking that going to the opera is an elitist hobby not accessible to an average person.
On July 8, locals and tourists can go to Fourviere Theatre to watch Viva La Mamma! for free.
The last representation of the italian opera, written by Gaetano Donizetti in 1827, played in Lyon since June 22, is set to be simultaneously broadcasted on large screens in Lyon and 13 other locations across the Auvergne-Rhone-Alps region starting at 9.30pm.
Observe (falling) Stars
If you have a romantic personality or if you are simply amazed by the beauty of nature, you can’t afford to miss the “Nights of the Stars” at the end of the month (July 28-30).
Local astronomy groups plan free public events in places where the sky is clear and not polluted.
You can join the Astronomic Society of Lyon in Saint-Genis Laval near the observatory on July 28 from 9pm (Fort de Côte Lorette, Rue de la Croix-Rouge).
Other events take place in Lyon’s 9th district (Parc du Vallon) and in Saint-Fons (Parc Victor Basch) on the same night.
The Tour de France, a French experience
The Tour de France is certainly the most important cycling race in the world. It’s also a way to get a taste of French popular culture. Cheering on the riders along the roadside is a tradition that goes back to the first Tour de France in 1903.
You can live your own French experience at least two times during the 3-week race as the 2017 route leads cyclists to places not far from Lyon.
July 9th (stage 9): from Nantua to Chambery
July 18th (stage 16): from Le Puy-en-Velay to Romans-sur-Isere
You may have the chance to see Britain’s three-time winner Christopher Froome.
A new generation of hotels or youth hostels have sprung up in Lyon, inviting travellers to delve into a vintage and designer world.
Lyon has some beautiful natural spaces for picnics, sporting activities and discovering the great outdoors. There are plenty of things to do with children and some beautiful spots to take a romantic walk or sit by a lake in the sun.