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Living in Lyon

Updated: Sep 9, 2022


Even when compared to Paris, the much-loved capital of France and the so-called "City of Light," Lyon is an amazing destination to live or visit. What makes Lyon so special?


Lyon is the place to go if you want to discover France and its culture, meet French people and learn their lovely language, or enjoy a fun city break with lots of opportunities to sightsee. There is no other city in France that compares to Lyon in these regards. I would even choose Lyon over Paris, and I am one hundred percent certain that you would not be sorry if you made the same decision. Why do I have such a strong conviction about this? Many factors contribute to my opinion, but the following 15 are the primary factors that make me like Lyon over Paris.


1. Because Lyon is far more affordable than Paris... and this is a proven truth!


It is not a well-kept secret that Paris consistently ranks among the most expensive cities in the world to live in. According to research published by the Economist Intelligence Unit in 2015, Paris was ranked as the world's second most expensive city. This means that it has higher living costs than cities such as Oslo, Zurich, and Sydney; the report found that only Singapore had higher living costs. Lyon won't put nearly as big of a dent in your bank account as Paris would.


2. Since Lyon is home to the so-called "Pope of French Cuisine," while Paris does not


It is true that Paul Bocus, known as the Pope of French Cuisine, operates restaurants in Lyon that serve food of the highest quality. Because of his pioneering work in developing what is now known as "cuisine nouvelle," Paul Bocus is well-known all over the globe. With time, he was successful in revolutionizing French cuisine by introducing a style of cooking that was lighter and healthier in comparison to the old manner of cooking used in Lyonnais. In addition to that, he is well-known for the excellent restaurants and brasseries he owns. It is a remarkable accomplishment that his restaurant has maintained its status as a three-star establishment in the Michelin Guide for more than half a century.


3. Paris is the capital of France, and Lyon is the capital of more than just one region.


In addition to its status as the "capital of cuisine" over the last eight decades, Lyon has also been known as the "capital of resistance," a fact that can be learned about in the city's museum; historically, Lyon has been an important center due to its role as the capital of Gaul. It is possible to refer to it as the capital of "trompe l'oeil" walls in France (check for more information here). In addition, Lyon is known as the "capital of lights" because of the city's annual Fete de Lumiere and its ongoing urban expansion.


4. Lyon offers the greatest French cuisine, while Paris has several nice options.


This is not only due to the city of Lyon's rich gastronomic history, which is what led to the city being crowned as the food capital of France, but also because Lyon is the gateway to the Beaujolais viticultural region, which provides top-quality produce and wines. This is why Lyon is considered to be the food capital of France. You may sample either extremely traditional Lyonnaise cuisine, which is served at bouchons, or cuisine nouvelle while dining in Lyonnaise restaurants. The dishes are prepared with some of the greatest products that France has to offer. More than two thousand restaurants are included in the Michelin Guide, and seventy-two chefs have been awarded the Michelin star. You may also do your cooking by purchasing high-quality ingredients from one of the numerous food markets that are located around Lyon. On top of everything else, residents in Lyon are passionate about their cuisine, enjoy a well-prepared dinner, and are eager to share this experience with guests.


5. You cannot locate Lyon's enigmatic-sounding "bouchons" in Paris.


Bouchons are modest traditional bistros that offer classic Lyonnaise meals such as the characteristic local sausages, roast pig or duck paté, or the more odd dishes of tripe, bone marrow, donkey snout, and swine offal sausage, to mention a few. Bouchons are located around Lyon. There are only around 20 bouchons in France that are considered to be real, and they are all located in Lyon.


6. While Paris is known for its spectacular light displays and pyrotechnics throughout the year, Lyon has its own Festival of Lights.


The well-known Fete de Lumiere takes place once a year in Lyon. It has become so well-liked that its duration has been extended to four days to accommodate the tens of thousands of visitors that flock to Lyon throughout December to take part in the event. As a result of Dubai's fascination with the event, the Lyon Organization decided to stage a Festival of Lights celebration in the city as well. But can you tell me more about the Fete de Lumiere? It is a celebration in which the people of Lyonnais show their appreciation to Saint Mary; traditionally, each home was expected to light a candle and place it in the window of their home. This custom is still practiced, although these days the festival has expanded into much more than it used to and is packed with attractions. The whole of the city is illuminated and decked out in decorations, there are light and music events, and several concerts are offered at no cost. Take a quick peek at this for a teaser of what's to come.


7. Paris lacks any traboules, but Lyon has roughly 230.


Traboules are one-of-a-kind corridors that run between buildings and connect the structures in a neighborhood. They were constructed specifically to safeguard silk while it was in transit. During World War II, they came in handy since they were perfect for evading capture by the Gestapo and hiding from the enemy. You are welcome to go and look at them whenever you choose since they are now a part of people's apartments, but they are concealed behind locked doors. Check this location and map out your route to find more hidden ones, particularly in the Vieux Lyon and Cross Roux neighborhoods.


8. While Paris has none, Lyon boasts more than 60 CitéCréation frescos.


Frescos created by CitéCréation are breathtaking mural paintings on walls that contribute to the city's enchanting atmosphere. Although there are several more renowned ones, my personal favorite is Le Mur des Canuts, which can be found in the Croix Rousse. One that is more recent even has lights built into its design; it is a one-of-a-kind contemporary endeavor.


9. The city of Lyon was the first in France to implement a public bike-sharing program.


There are around 4,000 bikes in the Vélo'v system, and there are 340 stations where you may quickly pick up a bike to ride. In Lyon, commuting is more convenient, less expensive, and healthier. Lyon was the first city in the world to introduce a system like this in 2005. Of course, Paris has a system quite similar to this called Vélib'. In addition, there are a lot of automobiles in Paris, which means that there are greater problems with pollution and safety.


10. Paris lacks rivers, whereas Lyon has two rivers


Two of Lyon's most stunning rivers, the Rhône and the Saone, meet at an unusual juncture and form a single river. You'll be able to see it in the Confluence neighborhood. Because there are two rivers, there are four riverbank areas, as well as many different activities to enjoy the water in the city, such as sunbathing, strolling, fishing, running, riding a bike, walking the dog, eating lunch, or having a drink on a boat.


11. While Paris has parks, Lyon boasts the beautiful Tête d'Or Park.


Tête d'Or Park is an enormous, verdant beauty that spans 105 hectares and has a lake that is 16 hectares in size. Free admission is offered to both the zoo and the botanical garden. It is the perfect spot for a picnic, a stroll, a date, a boat trip, and many other activities.


12. The city of Lyon is full of contrasts, both ancient and modern.


The stunning old portion of Lyon, known as the Vieux-Lyon district, was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In contrast, the contemporary region of Lyon, known as the Confluence district, has evolved into one of the most environmentally conscious and exemplary neighborhoods in all of Europe. The fact that new construction in Lyon does not compromise the city's historical fabric is one of the many attractive aspects of the city's architecture. Both halves are stunning and distinctive in their own right, and each one is worthy of a trip there.


13. Lyon has its replicas of the Notre Dame and Eiffel Tower in contrast to Paris's.


Lyon is home to not just the Notre Dame de Fourvière but also the Tour Métallique de Fourvière, both of which have been designated as UNESCO World Heritage sites. Why then should they be considered superior to those found in Paris? You may either ride the Lyon funicular, which is an old-style French railway or climb the steps, both of which are situated on the hill of Fourvière, where the city was established in 43 BC. Climbing the stairs will reward you with breathtaking views of the city below. It's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that's exclusively available in Lyon; you won't find anything like it in Paris! One additional intriguing fact is that the Lyonnaise tower, which is located in Lyon, France, is taller than the Eiffel Tower, which is located in Paris. It is correct to say that it is situated on a lofty hill, isn't it?


14. The French in Lyon are welcoming.


Even if they're kind, how many people in Paris represent the culture and values of France? Because of the large number of foreign businesses, English-speaking workers and expatriates, and tourists who visit the city, English is spoken frequently in Paris, which is unique for cities in France. Typically, French people are quite proud of their language, and Lyonse residents feel the same way about their language and their city. They celebrate and appreciate their city whenever they have the chance because they care about it. In the past, they did not place a significant emphasis on tourism, therefore the city of Lyon remained relatively undiscovered. But whoever comes to Lyon will get a warm welcome from the locals, who are known for being friendly and chatty... in French, naturally, which means that you won't have a choice but to learn the language. However, isn't there a better method to become fluent in a new language?


15. Connections are not much worse than in Paris anymore


It had been long overdue for Lyon to establish connections with other nations. In the past, getting planes and trains that went straight to Lyon was a bit of a challenge. Perhaps the astute inhabitants of Lyon designed it in such a manner to shield their lovely city from the onslaught of visitors. However, there are now reasonable and reliable transit links to and from Lyon, and the costs are not excessive. Lyon is connected to London by the high-speed Eurostar rail, and also offers low-cost, direct flights to towns throughout Europe.


I could write about and appreciate my favorite city of Lyon for an indefinite amount of time, but I hope that the following 15 reasons will give you an idea of why Lyon is such a remarkable French city to visit.



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