Founded by the Romans at the strategic confluence of the Rhône and Saône rivers in 43 B.C., France’s third city has diverse appeal, but it is a magnet for epicures and oenophiles in particular — the Beaujolais region lies to the north, the Côtes du Rhône appellation to the south. The city’s renowned gastronomy focuses on the meat-oriented regional menus of the traditional inns/restaurants, or bouchons.
Lyon is also the birthplace of cinema — the Musée Lumière celebrates the Lumière brothers’ invention of the cinematograph — and the capital of the French silk trade. Tour the traboules, a network of passages that once protected textile workers carrying silk from the rain and were later used as hiding places by the French Résistance.
Two hours from Paris by train, Lyon has recently become one of the most innovative French cities, which shows in its strikingly renovated Nouvel Opera House. The Vieux Lyon Renaissance quarter is a UNESCO World Heritage site.