The third largest city in France and certainly not the cheapest to visit, Lyon is gaining in popularity among travelers who want to see a more realistic view of France than they can get in central Paris. There’s plenty to keep you busy for two or three days, and many good options for backpackers and budget travelers on longer trips.
Conveniently located halfway between Paris and Marseille, Lyon is a major transit hub so there is a decent chance you’ll be going through it one way or another. Close to the mountains, you can take a ride with ouibus to nearby Annecy for a day for less than €20.
Lyon obviously doesn’t have a long list of blockbuster museums and attractions like in Paris, but there is plenty to see and it’s far less touristy than the capital. If you want to have an overview of the city, there is an excellent Alternative Free Walking tour by LyonExplorer, which is a great way to get oriented on your first day.
The prices of food and drinks are similar to Paris, but fortunately most of the attractions are free. Hotels and hostels in Lyon are typically cheaper than in Paris, although not by much. Beer drinkers will want to seek out pubs with happy hours, but good local Beaujolais and Côte du rhône are everywhere and prices start quite a bit cheaper than beer.
|Budget breakfast||Most of the time breakfast is included in hotel and hostel but if not, there are many coffee shop in the city center with nice menus||$5.91 - $9.68|
|Budget lunch||Many restaurants offer a “Formule du midi” for lunch during the week. Avoid the old district. It’s either expensive or very poor quality||$9.68 - $13.98|
|Budget dinner||At night there is no “Formule du midi” so it’s a bit more expensive||$14.52 - $19.35|
|Beer (.33l bottle)||Beer is the same price as Paris. If you can go to pubs with happy hours between 6pm and 8pm for cheaper pints||$5.91 - $9.14|
|House wine (.5l jug)||You’ll find mostly cote du Rhone and Beaujolais from very cheap to very expensive in wine bars and restaurants, but the cheapest bottle you’ll find will be in supermarket||$3.76 - $12.90|
|Month||High F||Low F||PRECIP (inches)|
As you’d expect, Lyon has warm summers and reasonably mild winters that rarely spend much time below freezing or see much snow. Summer is the most pleasant season so it’s the best time to visit, while spring can also be lovely because it gets less rain than autumn.
Hotels in Lyon are cheapest from February through May and from September through November. The city has some large festivals in December and January so those months are unusually expensive. Summer is the other high season from June through August.
|39.78 - 74.19|
|50.54 - 103.23|
|62.37 - 177.42|
|77.42 - 283.87|
|200.00 - 423.66|
|Hostel Bed||24.73 - 34.41|