Three Days in Lyon: Your France Rugby World Cup Itinerary

Three Days in Lyon: Your France Rugby World Cup Itinerary

Visiting Lyon this September for the France Rugby World Cup 2023? This host city is not only home to the Groupama/OL Stadium, where five of the pool matches will be held; it’s also France’s culinary capital and the cultural hub of the east. Plan a few days before or after match day to experience Lyon and follow our insider tips to take in all the highlights.

Your France Rugby World Cup Itinerary: Lyon

Day 1: Lyon Landmarks and Traboules

Lyon’s maze-like traboules (hidden alleyways) are made for exploring, and the UNESCO-listed Old Town is the best spot to start your walking tour. Admire the Renaissance and Gothic architecture as you stroll along Rue Juiverie and Rue Saint-Jean, visit the Saint-John-the-Baptist Cathedral, and take in the views along the Saône Riverside.

Ride the funicular up Fourvière Hill, where the best views of the city can be enjoyed from the hilltop Notre Dame de Fourvière Basilica. After climbing the north tower, follow the Passerelle des Quatre Vents walkway to the hillside Parc des Hauteurs. Also on the hilltop are the ruins of Lyon’s Roman Theatre, as well as the Gallo-Roman Museum, where you can uncover traces of the city’s ancient past.

Choose one of Lyon’s traditional bouchons (brasserie-style restaurants) in the Old Town for lunch, then cross over to the right bank and head up into the Croix-Rousse neighbourhood. Discover the city’s rich silk-making heritage at the Maison des Canuts museum, seek out Lyon’s famous frescos, including the Le Mur des Canuts, a homage to the canuts (silk workers), and browse the shops and galleries of the ‘Pentes de la Croix-Rousse’ district.

Day 2: Market and Match Day

Hailed as the capital of French gastronomy, Lyon is the ultimate foodie city. Start your tasting tour at the legendary Les Halles de Lyon Paul Bocuse, where the stalls are brimming with fresh produce, regional delicacies, and hand-made tarts and pastries. Leave yourself plenty of time to browse and graze, then stick around for lunch at one of the market restaurants—this is where you’ll find some of the city’s best quenelles (fish dumplings) and tarte aux pralines (praline tart).

If you’re driving to the stadium, you might want to tag on a visit to the Grand Parc Miribel Jonage. Located just north of the Groupama/OL Stadium, the over 2,000-hectare park has a fishing and swimming lake, golf course, and hiking trails. Stock up on picnic supplies at the market, then head to the lakeside beach.

Post-match, head back to central Lyon to celebrate along the riverfront. You’ll find péniches (traditional riverboats) permanently moored along the banks of the Rhône and Saone Rivers, home to floating bars, restaurants, and nightclubs.

Day 3: Wine Tasting and Fine Dining

Lyon sits pretty between two of France’s most renowned wine regions, making it easy to escape the city for a tour of the vineyards. To the north, Villefranche-sur-Saône is the capital of the Beaujolais wine region, best known for its Gamay grapes and light-bodied red wines. To the south, the northern Rhône Valley is renowned for its Syrah wines, produced around Côte Rôtie and Croze-Hermitage.

Back in Lyon, there’s still time for some last-minute sightseeing along the Presqu’Île. Walk between Place Bellecour with its towering Louis XIV statue and Place de la République with its gigantic fountain, and check out the Hôtel de Ville (Town Hall) and the Musée des Beaux Arts (Museum of Fine Art) on Place des Terreaux.

There’s no better way to end your stay in the culinary capital than a dinner date at one of the city’s Michelin-starred restaurants, and there are a whopping 21 to choose from (more than any other French city outside of Paris). Book your table well in advance to avoid disappointment, and perhaps try local delicacies such as escargots à la Bourguignonne (snails with garlic butter and parsley sauce).

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