Where to run in Lyon

Get to know the best places to run in Lyon, for a quick jog or long-distance runs.

 

You just dropped your luggage and you want to go for a run in Lyon. The city offers a myriad of great running places, with urban circuits that are easy to reach and green parks that are a pleasant way to enjoy the city’s nature.

 

Tons of places exist for locals and visitors to practice sports in Lyon.

Running is no stranger, as green parks are situated minutes away from the Presqu’île. Rhône and Saône riversides provide great spots for quick jogging sessions and other circuits for long-distance running.

Find out the best places in Lyon for running and jogging, with our guide to the top spots. A interactive map of the many circuits is available at the bottom of the article.

 

Green parks for jogging in Lyon

 

Make like a local and run inside the Parc de la Tête d’Or

Inner loop of 4 kilometers (30 minutes) : start from the main entrance near Pont Winston Churchill and go round the Botanical Garden, the Zoo and the Roseraie.

 

One of the biggest urban parks in Europe is also one of the biggest spots to run.

According to Strava statistics, with over 140 000 trips in 2017 between the Jardin Botanique and the Zoo, the Parc de la Tête d’Or stands as the busiest running path in France.

Lyon’s green lung is indeed extremely famous among local runners for its accessibility.

The main entrance near Pont Winston Churchill can be reached easily, in the heart of the 6th arrondissement, and makes up for the best starts to run around the park, among an easy flat 4-kilometer lap along the Botanical Garden, the Zoo and the Roseraie.

view of the parc de la tête d'or in lyon

The Parc de la Tête d’Or is definitely one of the most famous places in Lyon for running.

The Parc de la Tête d’Or is the perfect spot for a quick running session to start the day or clear your mind after work, but it also fits longer runs with the multitude of different tracks around the lake, in the middle of woods and other pleasant scenery such as the Roseraie or the Zoo.

Entirely pedestrian, lit up at night and (very) crowded during weekends and sunny days, running in the Parc de la Tête d’Or has become a landmark for runners visiting or living in Lyon.

And be sure to run in the anti-clockwise direction like everyone else does!

 

Wilderness with Parc de la Feyssine and Parc de Parilly

Circuit of 4 kilometers around Parc de la Feyssine (30 minutes) : start from the Rhône riversides near the Cité Internationale and follow the signs along the running track.
Circuit of 4 kilometers around Parc de Parilly (30 minutes) : start from the parking lot of Rue du Clos Verger, go round the horse track and finish at the foot of the stadium.

 

The Parc de la Tête d’Or monopolizes the park conversation in Lyon. But there should be no excuse to forget about the wilderness of Parc de la Feyssine and Parc de Parilly.

Find tranquility in the 4-kilometer circuit of much lesser known Parc de la Feyssine, in the north of Lyon near Villeurbanne. The Rhône riversides constitute a great start for reaching the park, in which a running track allows to run around it in the middle of the woods.

Meanwhile, if you live far from the Presqu’île or are tired of the Parc de la Tête d’Or, the Parc de Parilly might suit your needs. This park spans the suburban cities of St Priest and Bron, and provides an interesting change of running environment.

Escape the city’s pressure in this multi-purpose park between woods, pathways and playgrounds. The presence of an athletics track with stands allows the runners to practice intense and fragmented sessions instead of jogging around the park’s horse track.

 

Rhône and Saône riversides for classic urban running in Lyon

 

The famous Rhône riverside, renovated for pedestrians

Itinerary of 8 kilometers (45-60 minutes) : start from Parc de Gerland and follow the Rhône riversides until Parc de la Tête d’Or, near Pont Winston Churchill.

 

The Rhône riversides and the Parc de la Tête d’Or are the most traditional places to run in Lyon. But let’s give it a twist and start the circuit from the Parc de Gerland.

Located between the sporting complex of Gerland and the Rhône in the 7th arrondissement, the Parc de Gerland is the most southern point of the riversides, fully renovated in 2007 and remodeled for pedestrians.

running on the rhone riversides in lyon

The Rhône riversides could be the best compromise in Lyon for an accessible run close to nature – © Aloïs Piet

The Rhône riversides border the river from the Parc de Gerland, in the south, all the way to the Cité Internationale and the Parc de la Tête d’Or in the north.

Running along the Rhône is the best compromise of peaceful environment, track dedicated to pedestrians, green surfaces between the two parks on each end of the circuit, and the trees planted along the river.

 

Riverside and bridges over the Saône

Circuit of 8 kilometers (45-60 minutes) : start from Passerelle St Georges, follow the Saône riversides along Quai St Antoine and Quai St Vincent, cross the Pont Schuman near Vaise and come back to the “Vieux Lyon” along the west banks.

 

The renovated Saône riverside is the latest eldorado for runners in Lyon, completely excluded from the automobile trafic, down on the river level of the left bank.

The few boats navigating on the river might be the only disturbance when the riverside is not flooded, especially during the winter and spring seasons.

view of the saone riversides in lyon

The walk along the Saône riversides makes for a great running route to get out of the Lyon city center – © Fred Crouzet

You can run above the river, on the scenic Passerelle St Georges, but it is possible to join the riverside bank anywhere in Lyon, as long as you can find an access staircase or ramp.

Follow the Saône and cross the river over the last bridge unveiled in Lyon in 2014, the Pont Schuman, between the Vaise and Croix-Rousse neighborhoods. Come back to Lyon on the opposite bank, at the foot of the Fourvière hill until Vieux Lyon appears.

 

The new hotspot: running around Confluence

Itinerary of 6 kilometers (30-45 minutes) : start from the Confluence mall, follow the Saône riversides along the Docks towards Musée des Confluences, and cross Pont Raymond Barre to reach Parc de Gerland.

 

Running in the heart of Lyon’s historic center is attractive for obvious reasons. However, the modernity of the Confluence neighborhood is the perfect scenery for exotic running paths.

The Confluence mall, located along Cours Charlemagne, makes for a perfect start for its location and accessibility.

saône riversides near musée des confluences in lyon

The new neighborhood of Confluence is full of cultural places, such as the Musée des Confluences, but sports like running have also taken over – © Aloïs Piet

The southern part of the Presqu’île has recently opened up to the rest of the city and offers a brand new neighborhood full of modern buildings and renovated riversides.

Run along the houseboats and the modernized docks on your way to the popular Musée des Confluences. The tip of the Presqu’île reached, the Parc de Gerland awaits on the other side of the Rhône after crossing the elegant Pont Raymond Barre.

 

Challenge yourself with long-distance running in Lyon

 

The Saône riverside goes to Ile Barbe

Round-trip itinerary of 12 kilometres (1-2 hours) : start from Quai St Antoine, follow the Saône riversides all the way to Ile Barbe and come back to the city center in the opposite direction.

 

It does not take much time to get away from the urban madness.

Jump on the Saône riverside along Quai St Antoine and Quai St Vincent, on the east banks close to the famous Fresque des Lyonnais, and encounter the countryside of the 9th arrondissement of Lyon after running a few miles.

The running track becomes dirt after crossing the Vaise neighborhood and you have more chances to come across fishermen than cars. It keeps going for miles, bordering the Hotel Lyon Métropole or the renowned rowing club of Lyon Caluire.

ile barbe chapel along the saone river in lyon

The secrets and legends have made up the reputation of the Ile Barbe, easily accessible by runners along the Saône riversides – © Fred Crouzet

Then, after 6 kilometers, the famous Ile Barbe appears in the middle of the Saône.

Feel free to visit the cute village of the island, built around the chapel that made strides along centuries of religious prosperity and dozens of legends. Did you know legend has it the Holy Grail was kept on Ile Barbe until the looting of the island in 1562?

 

Around the lake of Grand Parc of Miribel-Jonage

Running tracks of 10 and 16 kilometers (1-2 hours) : start from the Grand Parc of Miribel-Jonage entrance near l’Atol and go round the lake following the signs of either running track.

 

The Grand Parc of Miribel-Jonage is heaven on Earth for all outside activities.

Rivers, lakes, roads, dirt tracks and woods compose the largest green park of Lyon’s metropolitan area. The Lac des Eaux Bleues is well-known and used by many runners, and can be reached from the road entries in the vicinity of the Rocade Est and the highway.

The entrance near the Atol, on the southwest side of the park, is the perfect meeting point to start running across the park.

A 10-kilometer circuit is marked with arrow signs all around the lake, while another circuit of 16 kilometers going deeper into the Grand Parc of Miribel-Jonage is also advised.

Some circuits are indicated across the park but all the pedestrian roads are perfect for jogging and creating your own circuit, more or less difficult, as well as different paths for each session.

 

Running itineraries in Lyon

 

 

More to know about urban sports in Lyon :

Free Group Workouts with the Running Communities of Lyon

Running, strength-training and shared experiences with other runners.

My experience of the Lyon Urban Trail

Running across the neighborhoods and streets of Lyon for Easter.

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