13 Free Things To Do in Lyon | ExpatWoman.com

13 Free Things To Do in Lyon

These things will only make your trip even more unforgettable!

Posted on

8 July 2015

Last updated on 15 January 2018
13 Free Things to do in Lyon

Aga Marchewka I am a savvy shopper and savvy traveller. I don’t like spending money when it’s not necessary so when I do travel I tend to search for the best transport deals, cheapest accommodation  and prepare a list of things I can do for free.  Check the List of Things to Do for Free in Lyon and get inspired with your next trip.

Have fun exploring

Have fun in the Parc de la Tete d'Or. It’s huge as it covers the area of the 105 hectares, it has 7 gateways and I got lost there couple of times!  But what it can offer you to experience for FREE! Firstly, you can enjoy a budget friendly lunch as a picnic, then you can entertain your kids here as there are many things to do and play with, you can go for a date or organize a party with friends…many social related opportunities, but you can also walk, run, have a ride on the bike or read and get sunbath in the summer season. And this is not all! Visit Parc de la Tete d'Or to access and admire the beautiful flowers and plans of the Botanic Garden and the Lyonnais real & huge & impressive Zoo . It has lions, giraffes, monkeys, crocodiles, pelicans, flamingos and deers, emus etc. And this all is for you for FREE!

Take a walk​​

Walk up to the Fourvière Hill to get the FREE and amazing panoramic outlook of the whole city. And the view extends to the Croix-Rousse and the Terreaux districts, the Quartier Saint-Jean further down the hill, and the Place Bellecour on the right. All you can see from the hill. So when you actually made it by climbing the hill with the stairs or if you used the very famous Funicular ride to get up, don’t miss the opportunity to visit the Basilique Notre Dame de Fourviere. Its stunning! Go and appreciate its beauty, the richly decorated interior which represents the Gothic and Byzantine styles and has been built between 1872 to 1884. There are messes to attend, so you might want to take part in for a bit different experience.

The history of silk

​Explore the silk history of Lyon by visiting the Vieux Lyon and the Croix Rousse. You will discover the impressive collection of the ‘traboules’ – the passageways between flats used to carry the silk) and you should follow the Special Route for a FREE tour of more of them starting at the hill of the Croix Rousse. Visit some local silk boutiques as the salesman are always willing to share some details about the silk production process.

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Discover modern Lyon

Don’t miss out of a FREE discovery of the modern part of Lyon which is located in the Confluence district. You will have a chance to get the city view from the Confluence Museum Terrace, Confluence Shopping Centre roof. You will have an opportunity to admire the modern architecture of the latest city developments and you will actually see the point where two rivers: Saône and Rhône merge together.

Stroll along the riverbank

Walk alongside the Rhône & Saône riverbanks, especially the left bank of the rivers which have undergone remarkable developments. It is always a nice and refreshing walk by the river. You can enjoy bike ride, morning run or picnic lunch by the river. You can stop for a drink in the cool boat clubs and restaurants which are parked just next to you. Admire the city reflection in the rivers and the architecture of old and new bridges. They are stunning!

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Take in the history of Lyon

Visit the Gallo-Roman Museum for FREE. Every Thursday the museums let the visitors to enter free of charge, so use the opportunity and learn about the history of Lyon. The city is to be founded on October 9, 43 B.C. on the Fourvière Hill and the Gallo-Roman theatre is the most visible remains of this historical heritage. 

Explore the many churches of Lyon

Visit the stunning churches of Lyon. The first one on the list is of course the Basilique Notre-Dame de Fourvière, then the Cathedral Saint Jean Baptiste which is just on the bottom of the Fourviere Hill in the Vieux Lyon. It is the 12th-century church renowned for its 13th- to 14th-century. It represents the Romanesque style with a Late Gothic façade.  Near by the Vieux Lyon, there is also the Saint-Georges Church rebuild in 1845 and representing the neogothic style. To finish off the short & essential list of top Lyonnais churches, I would recommend one more church to visit for free. This is the Abbaye Saint-Martin d'Ainay  - the oldest church in Lyon, built in the 11th century and representing the Romanesque architecture.

Lyonnais Street Art

Explore the Lyonnais Street Art for FREE! Walk through the city and look for the impressive mural paintings. The city is well known for its frescoes. I am afraid there are too many to see all but for me the best & the most famous and the ones you cannot miss are:  Le Mur Des Canuts which is located in the Croix Rousse and the Fresque des Lyonnais (Mural of Famous People from Lyon located at the Quai Saint Vincent). It is 800-square-meter wall painting that features 31 famous people from Lyon, with 25 historical figures and six contemporary figures.  It has been created by the Cité de la Création organization in 1994-1995.

The Capital of the Gastronomy?

Get a feel of Lyonnais Best Quality Foods & find out on why Lyon is the Capital of the Gastronomy. To do it for Free, I would recommend visiting the markets which will show you the best quality regional products. The very famous one is Les Halles de Paul Bocuse. This is a covered marketplace that has over 50 different shops and restaurants. The lunch deal is very expensive so out of the list of things to do in Lyon on the budget but visiting this place is a must as you can see all the top Lyonnais suppliers and regional sellers. The famous Paul Bocuse himself has been coming here to choose the best ingredients for his restaurants. The affordable alternative to the Halles de Lyon place, are the local markets. There are plenty of them, many small local ones. The biggest & well known ones are: the Saint-Antoine Food Market which is located alongside the banks of the Saône near Place Bellecour and the other one which is based at Place de la Croix Rousse.

Take in Lyon by night time

Admire the Lyonnais artists and their works for FREE. Visit the Marche de Creation the outdoor market by the Saône river. It is very interesting place where you can meet the artists and buy their paintings, crafts and sculptures but what is more, you can show your appreciation and feed your artistic hungry mind for free! Just remember this market is only on Sunday mornings so don’t miss it!

Walk in the city by night! This is completely new and different experience to admire 325 of the city’s monuments and sites being illuminated. It’s a great opportunity to take stunning photos. Its romantic & its magical and this all what Lyon is offering you for FREE.

lyon at night

Staying longer? Explore more

If you are in Lyon for a bit longer and if you would like to explore more of the Rhone Alpes area, I would recommend for you to visit 2 super places which are easily accessable from Lyon and which are free to visit. Go to the Parc Miribel the huge park with the lake and beach. Visit the stunning medieval village Preouroge which is on the list of The Most Beautiful Villages of France.

Lastly but I guess the very useful thing to do in Lyon for FREE would be to have the opportunity to use the public WC for FREE. This is not that strange I am sharing it with you. If you don’t realize, here in France they will charge you for everything. So even when you are in the shopping centre you will have to pay for toilets. Therefore, have in mind there are FREE public WCs which are located in the Vieux Lyon and Bellecour next to the ONLY Lyon offices. Enjoy!

About Aga 

My name is Aga and I am addicted to shopping! So I have become ShopaholicFromHome who loves to shop from home. But this is not all. I have thousands of ideas per minute, per hour, per day…recently I have moved to Lyon in France! That’s why my main goal now is to explore France, experience French way of living, learn the language and eat a lot of cheese, baguettes, some snails and French frogs, drink wine and wear berets (apparently so French) but also I would love to introduce a bit of Polish culture and mentality into French lives.

If you have any questions, comments, do not hesitate to contact me. I would love to hear from you! Visit my blog for more information and check out on what I have been up to on my J'adore Lyon by Shopaholicfromhome FB Page!