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Lyon has something for everyone
The gastronomic capital of France, and third biggest city, Lyon is known as a business and economic hub of over 500 years. But its contrasts and style have made it an increasingly popular motorhome holiday destination in recent years. The heart of the old town has earned UNESCO World Heritage recognition, with cobbled streets and ancient buildings, and the gourmet restaurants and chic bars reveal Lyon is anything but all business. From Lyon, you can easily explore the rest of the country in your motorhome rental. If you head South, you will be able to visit Nice, Marseille and Montpellier. If you drive North, Metz, Paris and the Loire Valley are waiting for you.
Experience Lyon in a motorhome rental
Camping near Lyon
Tranquility is only 7km away from the centre of Lyon at Camping des Barolles. This is a peaceful site with brilliant recommendations and a bus nearby for day trips. For a spot with easy access to Lyon, try Camping Indigo Lyon. The staff are friendly and helpful but the site is close to a motorway.
Located where the Azergues and Saone meet, near two lakes, Camping Les Portes du Beaujolais has a warm and friendly atmosphere close to Lyon. It has a private pool, a water slide and sports facilities, such as football and petanque. If you’re keen to try something a little different, leave the camper behind for the night and head to Le Village Igloo. You get to stay in igloos, eat cheese fondue and drink red wine around a fire.
Lyon is perfect for big eaters
Lunch is the best time to dive head first into the culinary treats of Lyon. Small eateries are undergoing their own resurgence. Serving traditional Lyonnaise offal dishes such as tripe, bone marrow, donkey snout and pork offal sausage, the city's bouchons are in stark contrast to nouvelle cuisine. They were originally workers' food, so the portions are usually quite big. At Le Poêlon d'Or try the quenelle – ground fish dumplings. These a family secret recipe passed down through the owners. Daniel et Denise serves expertly classic Lyonnais dishes.
There’s nothing like a wall of liquid chocolate to greet you into heaven. Chocolat! is Sébastien Bouillet's dedicated chocolate cafe. Only a short distance away on the Croix-Rousse plateau is his famous patisserie. It’s worth spoiling yourself and trying both.
With France’s third largest Chinatown in the Guillotière quarter by rue Pasteur and rue Passet, it’d be rude not to head for a dumpling or two. Brasserie Georges serves traditional food Brasserie style. It houses a brewery and adjacent pub and the decor is worth poking your nose in for, even if you don’t want a meal.
Chez Jules is a simple bakery, but serves tasty baguette sandwiches. If you’re on a budget, this can be a great way to pick up a lunch.
Walk into another world
There’s no better place to see the city than from place de Fourvière. The panoramic views are spectacular. If the weather is clear, you can see Mont Blanc in the distance. Next door is the Fourvière basilica. It was built in 1872 and dedicated to the Virgin Mary, saint patron of Lyon. The style is rather eclectic and the white marble church is overtly exuberant.
Walk down through the Jardins du Rosaire, a beautiful garden; then take the stairways leading to Rue du Boeuf. The Old Lyon, or Vieux Lyon, is a narrow strip along the right bank of the Saône. It is one of the largest Renaissance areas in Europe.
St Jean Cathedral was built between 1180 and 1480 and is mostly of Gothic style with Romanesque elements. An impressive astronomical clock from the 14th century rings out daily, on the hour from noon-4PM. The cathedral has exquisite stained glass depicting the life of John the Baptist. Make sure to wear appropriate clothing here.
The Traboules are unique passageways linking two streets through a building or courtyard. Largely shaped by the stylings of Italy and especially Florence, these are often architectural masterpieces. Passage Thiaffait is one such passageway and now houses a variety of workshops and studios under its roof.
Rue St Jean is the main tourist strip in Lyon. This cobblestone pedestrian street is full of souvenir shops and restaurants. Head to the street running parallel to St Jean – Rue du Boeuf. It’s just as beautiful, but quieter and with restaurants that are worth paying top dollar for. To end your night visit Bec de Jazz – a comfortable jazz club once frequented by the likes of Louis Armstrong. The wine and punch are reasonably priced and it’s unlikely you’ll see anyone here before midnight.
A tranquil forecast
Winters are cold and summers are hot in Lyon, but not extreme in either case. The best time to visit is between June and August. It’s the perfect weather forecast for exploring on a hired Velov bicycle or wandering around the city's Rue St Jean precinct.
Established names and new faces in rental
Travel to 174 Route de Grenoble and you will find Pure Motorhomes, a highly regarded camper hire company in Lyon. All vehicles are less than two years old and there are special discounts – check them out at GoSee.
McRent offer great camper deals, especially during the low season. The motorhomes are installed with top-of-the-range equipment and the friendly service team can answer any questions you may have.
Avis Caraway is located at 28 boulevard Charles de Gaulle, with most of the motorhomes no more than 18 months old. It’s their vast selection that makes Avis such a great choice.
One of the major fleets in Lyon, Big Sky compete very well thanks to their excellent customer service and selection of fantastic camper holiday deals.
Handy tips for Lyon
- Camp sites in France close by the end of October, not to reopen until April at the earliest. Some close as early as August. Call ahead so you can plan carefully your campervan hire adventure in France.
- Beware of pickpockets, and keep your luggage out of view in the camper as it might disappear.
- Do you have a camping pitch/site available? - Avez-vous un emplacement disponsible?
- With/without electrity - Avec/sans electricité
- For one/two/three people and a child/baby/dog - Pour une/deux/trois personne/personnes et un enfant/bébé/chien
- Are you close to town? - Êtes-vous près de la ville?
- Do you have... - Avez-vous...
- ..a pool? - ...une piscine?
- ...a restaurant? - ...un restaurant?
- ...a grocery? - ...une épicerie?
- ...hot showers? - ...des douches chaudes?
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