Spend the 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 the charming bustle of Paris to the relaxed pace of beautiful Lyon, just two hours away from the capital by train.
Go from the champagne bar of St Pancras to the heart of Paris in under three hours.
Check-in at The Eurostar terminal is smooth and simple, with e-ticket machines and a brisk security scan. Queues are usually short, though there may be a slight delay at rush-hour and weekends.
Check-in is open until 30 minutes before departure, and once checked in, there is a large passenger lounge with wifi and plug sockets, shops and cafes including WH Smith and Costa Coffee and comfortable seating, with a travelator which delivers passengers directly to the platform, and makes it easy to manoeuvre luggage. There’s also a lift if you prefer.
There is a buffet car on board the train, and an optional executive upgrade means food service at your table, a quieter carriage, more spacious seats and a plug socket and free wifi.
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 trough Kent, beneath the channel and emerges in France in the time it takes to queue at an airport.
Leave in the morning and the Eurostar will pull into the Gare Du Nord two hours and fifteen minutes later, in time for lunch.
Take a cab or Metro from the Gare Du Nord to Gare de Lyon, and have lunch at the station’s lovely 19th century Le Train Bleu restaurant, before boarding the TGV for Lyon. In around two hours you will arrive at Lyon Perrache (or Lyon Part Dieu if it’s closer to your hotel), right in the Presqu'ile, the district at the heart of Lyon. Take a cab, tram or Metro, and check in to your hotel, before dinner.
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.
After breakfast, head back to the Lyon Perrache ( or Layon Part Dieu), and board the TGV back to Paris. A speedy two hour journey means you’ll be back in Paris in time to have lunch in the capital.
Leave your luggage at Gare de Lyon, and head to St Germain-des-Pres and absorb a little Left Bank atmosphere, before lunching at one of the many bistros, brasseries and cafes, such as La Pallette, that line the streets or go to the ever relaxing Jardin de Luxembourg.
If you're coming from Gare de Lyon (or Gare D'Austerlitz and Gare Montparnase) you'll need at least 90 minutes to allow for check-in time at Gare du Nord. Gare De L'Est is much closer, just a 10 minute walk.
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