The first time I ever traveled solo, I went to Lyon, France. I spent 5 amazing days there learning, exploring, and discovering why Lyon is such a great place to visit. Not necessarily an alternative to Paris, but certainly a to-go for your list!
- Food, food, food! Lyon is the gastronomic capital of the world! Did you know?! Yes, friends, all the foodies know that the Lyonnaise know whats up, and that is food. You must try the bouchon; and my vegetarians, just a heads up, they love le pig...a lot!
2. Cinema was born here! If you are a movie buff then you will surely appreciate Lyon! The art of film making came about from the minds of the Lumiere brothers. In the 8th arrondissement, you can visit the Lumiere museum and get your knowledge on about how it all began! Seriously cool stuff, including history on the cameras, film, and the true importance of light! Also be sure to go to the Musee Miniature et Cinema. It's an extremely detailed museum that makes you feel like you've been blasted with a shrink gun, except you haven't the museum has! Imagine movie set replicas...in miniature. It's crazy intricate, crazy cheap (buy the Lyon city pass!), and crazy good
3. Cheaper wine!The euro is usually a bit higher than the dollar, but Paris will usually tend to be on the higher end for the average tourist. Lyon is much less expensive in every regard; food, accommodation, and de-li-cious wine. Wine is cheaper than water f.y.i, unless it's tap, which is quite fresh too!
Bambi's at the park!
4. Smaller and manageable! Paris is a large city filled with centuries of ancient history. You could easily spend 5 days exploring only arrondissements 1-8! That's not including a visit to Versailles or to Champagne, which are a short (hour or so) train ride away. In 5 days you could walk almost the entire city. I love Vieux Lyon with its cobble stoned paths and small cafes'. Also, the Place Bellecour is one of the largest open squares in Europe and a wonderful place to reflect right in the center of the city. And the Parc de la Tête d'Or in the 6th arrondissement is not to be missed! It's one of Lyon's largest parks complete with a zoo, miniature golf, and botanical gardens for miles. With the city pass, which you can buy from the tourism office, you can see so much of the city and such a small price!
Here's a clip of a Lyonnaise parade:
5. The people! My last visit to Lyon was also my first visit, and it was truly so perfect topped with the kindness of its people. The Lyonnaise are humbly patient with the language barrier; at the time I spoke very little french. They are helpful if you're lost and kind if you aren't familiar with their cultural norms.
My first solo trip to my favorite country was an exceptional experience. I credit that to the way it all began, and it began in Lyon. My beloved Lyon, that I will surely cherish forever.
So now you know a few of the MANY wonderful reasons why Lyon needs to be added to your destination list. If you have any questions, feel free to reach out. I love this city and I want you to love it too.