Spend a weekend in the food capital of France
A weekend in Lyon is an escape into food, history and culture, in one of France’s most beautiful cities, built around the Rhône and Saône rivers that converge here. Famous for its gastronomy, Lyon is also a busy, working city, with a thriving centre full of quirky shops and bars.
This weekend break takes you from Lille to the relaxed pace of beautiful Lyon in around 2 hours, without having to cross Paris to change trains.
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TO BOOK THIS TRIP YOURSELF
OPEN THE FOLLOWING TAB
Eurostar now sell through tickets to Lyon via Lille. The change at Lille from Eurostar to TGV is very simple.
Enter London - Lyon and choose your dates. You make get cheaper fares if you can be flexible. Choose the times you want. Not all the trains offered go via Lille, so check. Many of the services go to Paris instead.
We recommend the 12.58 from London, arriving in Lyon at 20.56, as it's a direct train from Lille to Lyon.
For the return we suggest the direct 11.00 from Lyon
You cannot break the journey at Lille with this ticket.
Break the journey in Lille.
Open VOYAGES SNCF. Book your ticket from London to Lille and Lille to Lyon ( or Lyon to Lille if you want to stop on the way back) as 2 separate tickets. This will allow you to break at Lille. You can still use Eurostar to book the London Lille ticket if you'd prefer.
If you want to check the times of services between Lille and Lyon, the best website to use is Deutsche Bahn, even though you can't book online with them for this trip.
The Eurostar sets off from the beautifully refurbished St Pancras station, speeds through the countryside and takes just twenty minutes to dash through the Channel Tunnel and emerge in France. The journey is deceptively fast- the comfortable train rockets through Kent, beneath the channel and emerges in France in the time it takes to queue at an airport.
Check-in is smooth and simple, up to 30 minutes before departure, and there is a lounge with wifi and plug sockets, shops including WH Smith and Costa Coffee and comfortable seating in the departure lounge, with an escalator which delivers passengers directly to the platform. There is a buffet card on board, on an executive upgrade means food service at your table, a quieter carriage, more spacious seats and a plug socket and free wifi. After just an hour and twenty minutes, passengers alight in Lille Europe station after a quiet, relaxed journey.
Lunch in Lille – the Grand Place is only a short walk.
Alight at Lille Europe, leave your bags at left luggage, and, in just a few minutes, walk to the Grand Place, where you can admire the Flemish-influenced architecture and have lunch in the Old Town just behind the square. You haven't got that long, just over an hour, so go for Gallettes at the very French Cafe Voltaire just off the Grand Place. Alternatively, there are streets full of charming bistros and cool cafes all around the Grand Place.
After lunch, return to Lille Europe, and board the fast and modern TGV to Lyon. The direct train arrives just three hours later, giving you plenty of time to check in to your hotel before dinner. The journey is longer than from Paris, but you save the hassle of travelling across Paris. The Eurostar and train to Lyon both leave from Lille Europe.
Days 1 - 3
Day 1 Lyon
After checking in to your hotel your love affair with Lyon can begin. For dinner go to the traditional Brasserie St.Georges, near Perrache station, for Art Deco splendour and classic French cooking.
Day 2 Lyon
After breakfast, food lovers should head for Les Halles Paul Bocuse, an indoor market showcasing the very best of local produce, with breath-taking displays of cakes, chocolates, wine, meat and cheeses. Stop for coffee or a glass of champagne at one of the many bars. It's also a delightful place for lunch.
The central area of Presqu'île, between the two rivers- the Saone and the Rhone- is where the main shopping district and excellent restaurants are to be found, amongst regal 19th century architecture. Or wander up to Croix-Rousse, once home to the silk workers of Lyon, now colonised by artists, craftpeople and independent boutiques.
In the evening you can go for dinner on Rue Meciere, a pretty street packed with restaurants in the Presqu'île area, or go to Cafe Julliette in the fashionable 6th Quarter for a drink.
Day 3 Lyon
Enjoy breakfast or mid morning coffee at the beautiful Café Des Negociants and take a wander along the banks of the Saone where every morning there is a gloriously jolly food market. If the weather allows, buy a picnic and enjoy lunch by the river.
In the afternoon head for the Old Town, behind the cathedral of St Jean Baptiste de Lyon, with its timbered, tumbledown buildings and cobbled streets of restaurants and shops. Take the funicular railway up to the impressive Basilica, for panoramic views over the city, and walk back down hundreds of steps, before a coffee and cake on the Rue St Jean.
Have dinner at Les Bouchon Des Filles for an exciting taste of traditional Lyonnaise cooking with a modern slant.
Leave your bags in left luggage at Lille Europe, and have lunch in Lille at one of its excellent restaurants or charming cafes, such as the old-fashioned Café Voltaire. If there's time, take a walk around the lovely old town, or climb the Town Hall Belfry, for views over the city.
Alternatively, stay an extra night in Lille and visit the wonderful art gallery at nearby Roubaix, housed in a refurbished Art Deco swimming pool; before returning on Eurostar in the afternoon.
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