Excursions from Lyon: the best day trips around Lyon

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Lluis Enric Mayans
@lluisenricmayans
SOURCES CONSULTED:

wikipedia.org, lonelyplanet.com

Author and references

Lyon is a city located in eastern France, not very far from the Swiss and Italian borders. Outside the most famous routes and mass tourism, it is a destination that is absolutely worth a visit. Here you will find a beautiful and particular historic center, a relaxed atmosphere and excellent local gastronomy.

Furthermore, its location is ideal for serving as a base and for exploring the surrounding areas, also through daily excursions.
Let's find out what they are the best day trips around Lyon.



Index

  1. Villefranche-sur-Saône and the Beaujolais Region
  2. Saint-Etienne
  3. Vienna
  4. Côte-Rôtie
  5. Pérouges and Meximieux
  6. Charlieu
  7. Avignon
  8. Beaune
  9. Chamonix Mont Blanc
  10. Grenoble
  11. Convent of Santa Maria de La Tourette
  12. Caves of Cerdon
  13. User questions and comments

1 - Villefranche-sur-Saône and the Beaujolais Region

The Beaujolais is a region north of Lyon famous above all for its excellent wines. One of the main cities in this area is Villefranche-sur-Saône, which is 29 kilometers from Lyon. You can easily reach it by direct train in 35 minutes, but our advice is to rent a car to freely explore the Beaujolais Region.

Villefranche-sur-Saône is a city with a truly incredible architectural heritage. We recommend that you stroll along the Rue Nationale lined with old houses and buildings and visit the beautiful Notre Dame des Marais. Church hours vary, so we advise you to go to the Tourist Office, where you can request all the information and even some advice on what to see in the Beaujolais region and then dedicate the afternoon to discovering this beautiful area. You will find yourself in front of a postcard landscape, reminiscent of that of Tuscany, with hills, expanses of vineyards and cellars.



  • Range: 29,4 km
  • 29,4 kilometers from Lyon; reachable in 40 minutes by car or by direct train from Lyon-Part-Dieu station to Gare de Villefranche-sur-Saône station, journey time 35 minutes - Get directions
  • the city is always accessible; the Tourist Office is open from October to April from Monday to Friday from 10:00 to 17:00 and Saturdays from 10:00 to 12:30 and from 13:30 to 17:00, closed on Sundays and holidays, from May in September from Monday to Friday from 9:00 to 18:00, Saturdays from 9:00 to 12:30 and from 13:30 to 18:00, closed on Sundays and holidays
  • free access
  • From Lyon: Beaujolais Golden Stones Wine Tour From Lyon: Beaujolais Half-Day Wine Tour

2 - Saint-Étienne

Saint-Étienne is the capital of the Loire department and is located 60 kilometers southwest of Lyon. You can reach it in about an hour and 7 minutes by car or, best solution, by direct train from Lyon to Saint-Étienne-Châteaucreux station in just 45 minutes.

Saint-Étienne is the French City of Design and in 2010 it became part of the list of Creative City of Unesco, precisely as the City of Design of the st century and this recognition has made it grow a lot also from the point of view of tourism. Indeed, Saint-Étienne is also a city of art and history, with an incredible architectural heritage and a large amount of museums. Definitely not to be missed: the Cathedral of San Carlo Borromeo, in neo-Gothic style; the Pont du Bois Monzil, the oldest bridge in Europe; the eccentric neighborhood of Saint-Victor-sur-Loire. And don't forget to enjoy a nice walk along the Roue Michelet, one of the main streets of the city, full of shops, and along the Avenue de la Liberation, where you can admire some of the most beautiful buildings in the city.



  • Range: 56,8 km
  • 56,8 kilometers from Lyon; reachable in 7 hour and 46 minutes by car or by direct train from Lyon-Part-Dieu station to Saint-Étienne-Châteaucreux station, journey time minutes - Get directions
  • the city is always accessible; Cathedral of San Carlo Borromeo open from Monday to Saturday from 09:30 to 11:30, from 14:00 to 18:00, Sunday from 14:00 to 18:00
  • free access, Cathedral of San Carlo Borromeo: full € 12,00 - reduced € 9,00

3 - Vienna

Vienne is a French city located in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region, south of Lyon, which is 28 kilometers away. You can reach it in 40 minutes by car but the best solution is to take the direct train from Lyon central station to Vienne station: in just 20 minutes you will arrive at your destination.

Vienne is a city of Roman origin and one of the most important archaeological sites in France. Set between the Rhone river and the surrounding hills, here you can still admire monuments that symbolize its importance as a city of Ancient Rome: the Ancient Theatre, built on a hill, with a capacity of 13.000 people, and the Temple of Augustus and Livia, second wife of the Emperor, located in the historic center of the city.

There was also it also played an important role during the Middle Ages: it became an episcopal seat, becoming an important point of reference under the religious profile. Also, the 1311th ecumenical council was held here in 1312 and , a very important event for the city. Walking through the historic center, you will notice the medieval influence especially in the beautiful churches.



  • Range: 28,7 km
  • 28,7 kilometers from Lyon; reachable in 40 minutes by car or by direct train from Lyon-Part-Dieu station to Gare de Vienne station, journey time 20 minutes - Get directions
  • the city is always accessible; The Temple of Augustus and Livia is always accessible; The Ancient Theater is open from Tuesday to Friday from 9:30 to 12:30 and from 14:00 to 17:00, on Saturdays and Sundays from 13:30 to 17:30, closed on Mondays
  • admission to the Temple of Augustus and Livia is free, guided tours can be organized by booking at (+33) 474 537010; the entrance to the Ancient Theater is free, in case of events and concerts the price varies according to the type of event
  • Lyon: Vienne and Côte-Rôtie wine tour and tasting

4 - Côte-Rôtie

Côte-Rôtie is a famous French resort located in the Rhône-Alpes region, 14 kilometers from Lyon and reachable in 28 minutes by car, the only means available to reach the destination. Also, it is very close to Vienne, only 12 kilometers away, so you can combine the two destinations in a single day trip, visiting Vienne in the morning and the Côte-Rôtie in the afternoon after lunch. In this case, the best solution is to rent a car.

Côte-Rôtie is one of the most important wine regions in all of France, As it houses the oldest vineyard in the country: these lands, in fact, were already cultivated by the Romans. Once you arrive in this area, you will find yourself in front of very sloping hills full of vineyards, which extend for 235 hectares. The steep slope and the different geological characteristics of the land have given rise to two different sub-zones: the vineyard of the "Côte Brune", to the north, and the vineyard of the "Côte Blonde", to the south.

  • Range: 14 km
  • 14 kilometers from Lyon; reachable in 28 min by car, the only means available to reach the destination - Get directions
  • the city is always accessible
  • free access
  • Lyon: Vienne and Côte-Rôtie wine tour and tasting

5 - Pérouges and Meximieux

Pérouges and Meximieux are two neighboring municipalities in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alps, 34 kilometers away from Lyon. To reach the two cities you can rent a car or take the direct train that takes you from Lyon to Meximieux-Pérouges station in just 51 minutes: the station is the same for both destinations, the center of Pérouges is 1,5 kilometers away, while that of Meximieux is 700 meters away.

Pérouges is a medieval city which ranks as one of the most beautiful villages in France due to its exceptional architectural heritage. In the past, moreover, it was a important center for the cultivation and weaving of hemp. Once you arrive, you will find yourself in a beautiful fortified village, built mostly in stone. Due to its particularities, Pérouges has been chosen as the location for several films. During your visit don't forget to taste the Galette de Pérouges, a local specialty made from brioche pastry with sugar and butter.

Also Meximieux is a city of medieval origin, albeit with less fame than its neighbor. During the Middle Ages this land passed continuously from one person to another: first owned by the archbishop of Lyon, then by the Lords of Beaujeu, then Dauphine and finally to the Savoy, remaining under their control for centuries.

  • Range: 34 km
  • 34 kilometers from Lyon; reachable in 45 minutes by car or by direct train from Lyon-Part-Dieu station to Meximieux-Pérouges station, journey time 51 minutes - Get directions
  • always visitable
  • free access

6 - Charlieu

Charlieu is a city located in the north of the Loria Department and 79 kilometers away from Lyon. The only way to reach it is by car, in a journey of about an hour and a half. There are no train or bus connections between the two cities.

Charlieu is a medieval town, with a charming old town full of ancient buildings and half-timbered houses. It is a very small town, which you can easily see in one day. In addition to a walk through the streets of the historic center, which will take you back in time, we absolutely recommend you to visit the Benedictine Abbey. main attraction of this area! The Abbey is a true marvel of romantic art, built with yellow stone from the surrounding areas. Here you can see the remains of the Church and its portal dating back to the st century, the cloister and chapel from the th century, the chapter house and the hall of lapidary and religious art. Furthermore, you can decide whether to visit the place freely or with a guided tour, lasting an hour and a quarter.

  • Range: 79,3 km
  • 79,3 kilometers from Lyon; reachable in an hour and 28 minutes by car, the only way to reach the destination - Get directions
  • the city is always accessible; the Benedictine Abbey is open in April, May, June, September and October from Tuesday to Sunday from 10:00 to 12:30 and from 14:00 to 18:30, closed on Mondays and holidays, in July and August open every days from 10:00 to 12:00 and from 13:00 to 19:00, in February, March, November and December from Tuesday to Sunday from 10:00 to 12:30 and from 14:00 to 17:30, closed Mondays and holidays
  • the entrance to the Benedictine Abbey costs € 3,00, the guided tour € 4,50

7 - Avignon

Avignon is located south of Lyon, 221 kilometers away, in the heart of French Provence. You can reach it in about two and a half hours by car or by direct train that takes you from the central station of Lyon to the Gare d'Avignon Center station, again in just under two and a half hours.

Avignon is a Provençal city also known as the "city of the Popes", for the Palazzo dei Papi which was built during the "Avignonese captivity". In 1305 Pope Clement V and his court took refuge in the city and the city was renamed "the second Rome". Surely in your itinerary you must include the aforementioned Palazzo dei Papi, built in just 20 years.

  • Range: 221 km
  • 221 kilometers from Lyon; reachable in two hours and 24 minutes by car or by direct train from Lyon-Part-Dieu station to Gare d'Avignon Center station, journey time of 2 hours and 18 minutes - Get directions
  • the city can always be visited; the Palazzo dei Papi is open from 1 September to 1 November from 9:00 to 19:00, from 2 November to 28/29 February from 9:30 to 17:45, in March from 9:00 to 18:30, from April 1st to June 30th from 9:00 to 19:00, in July from 9:00 to 20:00, in August from 9:00 to 20:30
  • the entrance to the Palazzo dei Papi costs € 10,50, with the St. Benezet Bridge € 13,00
  • Avignon 3-hour walking tour and wine tasting

8 - Beaune

Beaune, a city in Burgundy, is located 154 kilometers north of Lyon, reachable in just under two hours by car. If you cannot rent a car, you can easily take the direct train that will take you to your destination in the same time, almost two hours.

Beaune is renowned for being the capital of fine Burgundy wines, also thanks to its strategic position in the center of this wine region. Furthermore, every third Sunday of November is held here famous auction of the wines of Hospices de Beaune. But not just wine: Beaune is a city rich in art and history, as well as having a lively cultural life. Here, in July, it is held one of the most important and prestigious Baroque music festivals in Europe.

  • Range: 154 km
  • 154 kilometers from Lyon; reachable in one hour and 46 minutes by car or by direct train from Lyon-Part-Dieu station to Gare de Beaune station, journey time of one hour and 51 minutes - Get directions
  • always open
  • free access
  • From Beaune: Burgundy Bike and Wine Day Tour From Beaune: Burgundy Tour and Wine Tasting

9 - Chamonix Mont Blanc

Chamonix Mont Blanc is located 217 kilometers from Lyon and can be reached in about two and a half hours by car. The car is the only convenient way to reach the destination in the day, as by public transport the journey time exceeds 4 hours and you will have to change several times between trains and buses.

Chamonix Mont Blanc is located on the slopes of Mont Blanc, the highest peak in the Alps, and is a resort area near the meeting point between the borders of France, Switzerland and Italy. But above all, it is a world-famous ski resort! In addition to skiing, here you can do a large number of activities throughout the year: in summer you can go hiking and trekkin in the mountains, mountain biking, climbing and paragliding; in winter to skiing or snowboarding, but also to speed riding. You will also find swimming pools, theme parks and adventure parks, ideal for young and old!
Also, from the center of Chamonix you can take the cable car that will take you to the top of the Aiguille du Midi, at 3.842 meters, imagine how wonderful the view from up there!

  • Range: 217 km
  • 217 kilometers from Lyon; reachable in two hours and 33 minutes by car, the only fast way to reach the destination - Get directions
  • always accessible; the activities have different schedules; the cableway is open every day, generally from 8:00 to 17:30, in some periods the times may vary
  • free access; each activity will have a cost that varies according to the duration and type of equipment required; the ticket for the cable car costs: adult one way € 50,00, adult return € 63,00, child one way € 42,50, return ticket child € 53,60, family package € 195,40 children under 5 years old
  • Chamonix: panoramic tour

10 - Grenoble

Grenoble is a city located 104 kilometers southeast of Lyon, not very far from the Italian border. To reach it you can choose the car, taking about an hour and a half, or the direct train that will take you to your destination from Lyon in just under an hour and a half.

Grenoble is located at the foot of the mountains, in the Rhône-Alpes region, ed it is a city of art and culture, as well as a university and scientific center, with a cutting-edge technology center. The part of the Old Town is full of lively squares, stately palaces and characteristic alleys, where small shops and shops are concentrated. Certainly you cannot miss a visit to the Bastille of Grenoble, located at a higher point than the city, from where you can enjoy a beautiful view. To reach it, you can go up on foot or by cable car.

  • Range: 104 km
  • 104 kilometers from Lyon; reachable in an hour and 30 minutes by car or by direct train from Lyon-Part-Dieu station to Grenoble station, journey time of one hour and 24 minutes - Get directions
  • the city can always be visited; the cable car to reach the Bastille is open every day; the Bastille is always open, the Information Center is open from Monday to Saturday from 10:00 to 18:00
  • the ticket for the cable car costs an adult one way € 5,60, an adult return € 8,50, a child one way € 3,20, a child a / r € 4,60; entry to the Bastille is free

11 - Convent of Santa Maria de La Tourette

The Convent of Santa Maria de La Tourette is located in the municipality of Éveux, in the area of ​​L'Arbresle, just 28,8 kilometers away from Lyon. The only way to reach it is by car, in a journey of about 40 minutes. In fact, there are no public transport connections from the city to the attraction. The alternative is to see if guided tours of the convent are organized in Lyon.

The Convent of Santa Maria de La Tourette is an important religious building designed by the famous architect Le Corbusier and belonging to the Dominican Order. The complex contains a church, a cloister, a chapter house, several classrooms, a library, a dining room, kitchens, several rooms and about a hundred single cells. Its location is very particular: it is in fact in a steeply descending valley, in the midst of forests. To adapt the building to the slope of the land, several pillars of various sizes were used on which the convent rests. You can visit it by taking part in a guided tour during the opening hours of the visits.

  • Range: 28,8 km
  • 28,8 kilometers from Lyon; reachable in 40 minutes by car, the only means available to reach the destination - Get directions
  • open Monday to Saturday from 13:30 to 18:30
  • the guided tour of the Convent costs € 7,00

12 - Caves of Cerdon

The Cerdon Caves are located in the Parc de Loisirs Préhistoriques and are 90 kilometers from Lyon. The only way to reach them is by car, in a journey of about an hour and 15 minutes.

The Cerdon Caves date back to around 2 million years ago, born from the erosion caused by the lake which covered a very large part of the region. Tens of thousands of years later, when the lake had completely receded, the caves they were used as a refuge from prehistoric men. In fact, the excavations carried out in 1914 brought to light various tools, instruments, pottery and bones that are now preserved in various regional museums.
Nowadays they can be visited by taking part in tours that last about an hour and a half. A prehistoric theme park has also been created, where both adults and children can learn more about prehistory and take part in a whole range of prehistoric activities and demonstrations.

  • Range: 73,6 km
  • 73,6 kilometers from Lyon; reachable in an hour and 13 minutes by car, the only means available to reach the destination - Get directions
  • open every day from 10:00 to 18:30, the caves until 17:00
  • there are different types of tickets, the one-day pass (caves + park) costs € 16,00 for adults and € 15,00 for children, the visit to the caves alone costs € 9,50 for adults and € 6,50, for children

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