Through sustainable, cutting-edge development, Lyon has become an essential European tourist destination in barely two decades. Boasting 2,000 years of history, for which it is recognised by UNESCO, the city is long established as France’s capital of gastronomy, and lays claim to being the continent’s cradle of silk and cinema. The annual Festival of Lights, which attracts around three million visitors over four days, is another major reason why tourism has boomed, becoming a €1 billion-a-year industry.
Lyon has won several accolades for accessibility — including the 2017 Access City Award — having put its plan at the centre of urban life. Visitors with disabilities and reduced mobility can move around the city with complete autonomy, taking advantage of a completely adapted transport network and smart signage. Lyon’s museums offer adapted tours — those with hearing impairments are allowed to touch works of art — and many restaurants provide speaking menus.
This year, 40,000 visitors to the city experienced the benefits of the Lyon City Card, which provides users with free public transport, entrance to 23 museums and other attractions, discounts and more. In future, visitors will be able to take advantage of the ONLYLYON Experience, receiving live geo-located tourist information direct to their smartphones to reduce congestion.
A city where sustainability and culinary traditions go hand in hand
Lyon-Saint-Exupery is one of 25 airports in just nine countries to be classed as carbon neutral, and sustainable development is one of the city’s main priorities. An example of this is the ‘Lyon, Ville Equitable et Durable’ label which identifies companies, shops, producers and events encouraging responsible consumption. Artists taking part in the Festival of Lights, meanwhile, are rewarded for taking a sustainable approach to their installations.
Food is an important part of Lyon life, and the city’s culinary heritage has been used to create a TV film, web series and website dedicated to the mysterious Chef Factory culinary school, whose alumni and former teachers include Paul Bocuse and Eugenie Brazier. If you’re visiting Lyon to taste its gastronomic delights, look out for the ‘Bouchons Lyonnais’ quality label — 100,000 Chef Factory wooden spoons have been handed out in 10 cities around the world. This mark guarantees the restaurateurs follow strict traditions, serving local dishes in a convivial environment.
Once you’ve eaten, you can walk off lunch by meandering through the Traboules (historic secret passages dotted around the city), or check out the UNESCO-listed Painted Murals. Both experiences can be enhanced using augmented reality apps.
For more details, visit ONLYLYON.com