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Hidden Gems of Lyon: Off-the-Beaten-Path Neighborhoods and Attractions

Article by: Nico, the founder of Lyon Explorer

Welcome to Lyon, a city with so much to explore! While Lyon is well-known for its stunning architecture, delicious food, and rich history, there are also plenty of hidden gems and off-the-beaten-path neighborhoods that are waiting to be discovered. In this article, we'll take you on a tour of some of Lyon's best-kept secrets, from the traboules of Croix-Rousse to the modern architecture of Confluence. Whether you're a first-time visitor or a seasoned traveler, we guarantee you'll find something new and exciting to explore in Lyon's lesser-known corners. So grab your walking shoes, your sense of adventure, and let's go!

Jardin des curiosité on Fourviere Hill in Lyon

Croix-Rousse Neighborhood

Nestled on a hill overlooking the city, the Croix-Rousse neighborhood is a hidden gem that's definitely worth exploring. Once a center of Lyon's silk industry, the neighborhood is now home to artists, artisans, and a thriving bohemian community.

Courtyard on Croix Rousse hill in Lyon

One of the most fascinating features of the Croix-Rousse neighborhood is its traboules - secret passageways that date back to the 19th century. These passageways were originally used by silk merchants to transport their goods, and today they offer a glimpse into Lyon's rich history. While some traboules are open to the public, others are hidden behind unassuming doors and can only be accessed by those in the know. The best way to discover those traboules is to follow the blues Lyon head on yellow tiles. This is a path going through several traboules. We show the first ones during our free walking tour. Or you can also check this website

In addition to its traboules, the Croix-Rousse neighborhood is also known for its vibrant street art scene. Everywhere you look, you'll see colorful murals and graffiti that reflect the neighborhood's bohemian spirit. I can’t really recommand a specific art for you as it changes a lot over time. After all, it is the fate of street art! But you’ll find a lot of them quite easily walking on Montée de la Grande côte or on one of the perpendicular street.

Finally, no visit to Croix-Rousse would be complete without a stop at the Maison des Canuts, a silk workshop and museum that provides an in-depth look at Lyon's silk industry. Here, you can watch expert weavers at work, learn about the history of silk production in Lyon, and even try your hand at weaving on a traditional loom.

Whether you're interested in Lyon's history, art, or culture, the Croix-Rousse neighborhood has something for everyone. So why not take a stroll through its winding streets and see what treasures you can discover?

Hidden gems on Fourvière Hill

Perched on the Fourvière Hill, Lyon's oldest district, lies a treasure trove of hidden gems waiting to be discovered. While the Basilica of Notre-Dame de Fourvière and the ancient Roman Amphitheater are undoubtedly impressive, it's worth venturing further to explore some lesser-known attractions.

View on the countryside of Lyon from Cemetery of Loyasse on Fourviere hill

For starters, the Parc des Hauteurs is a unique spot in Lyon that offers a glimpse into the city's history. Once a tramway line leading to the Cimetière de Loyasse, the park now boasts the stunning Passerelle des 4 Vents, which offers panoramic views of the countryside beyond Lyon. It's the perfect spot for a scenic stroll or a picnic with friends and family.

Another hidden gem worth discovering on Fourvière Hill is the Jardin des Curiosités. This peaceful spot offers an unbeatable panoramic view of Lyon's cityscape, making it a perfect place to sit back and relax while taking in the stunning scenery. The quiet atmosphere of the garden also makes it an ideal location for those seeking a moment of tranquility away from the hustle and bustle of the city.

And then, located on Fourvière Hill, Lyon's oldest district, the Hotel de Fourvière is a former convent that has been transformed into a luxurious hotel. While it may not be as well-known as other attractions in the area, it's worth a visit for its beautiful architecture and decor. You can and you must enter in the lobby to take a look! What's more, the hotel is located just a few meters away from the spot where Lyon was founded by Lucius Munatius Plancus in 43 BC, and a stone marker indicates this historic location.

Overall, Fourvière Hill is a must-visit destination for anyone looking to uncover Lyon's lesser-known treasures. So why not take a break from the crowds and discover the quiet beauty of this historic district?

Guillotière Neighborhood

Facing the city center from the opposite side of the Rhone river, the Guillotière neighborhood is a lively and multicultural area that's full of energy and excitement. With its diverse array of attractions, including numerous pubs/bars and restaurants, La Guillotière is a must-visit destination for anyone exploring Lyon.

One of the top things to experience in La Guillotière is its warm and inviting nightlife scene. The neighborhood is home to a wide variety of pubs and bars, each with its own unique atmosphere and charm. From trendy cocktail bars to traditional French wine bars, you're sure to find a spot that suits your taste. Whether you're looking to hang out with friends, meet new people, or simply enjoy a drink or two, La Guillotière has something for everyone.

View on Grand hotel Dieu and Fourviere from La guillotere

In addition to its nightlife, La Guillotière is also known for its cultural diversity. This neighborhood is home to a range of communities from different backgrounds, including those from various cultural and ethnic groups. This cultural diversity is reflected in the many shops, restaurants, and markets that can be found throughout the neighborhood. So if you want to travel even more staying in Lyon, this is the place to be!

Finally, take a stroll through the streets of La Guillotière and soak up the friendly and joyous atmosphere. You'll see colorful street art, hear the sounds of different languages being spoken, and get a sense of the energy that makes this neighborhood so unique.

Whether you're looking to spend a relaxing evening with friends or explore Lyon's cultural diversity, La Guillotière is the perfect destination. So be sure to add it to your itinerary and experience all that this welcoming neighborhood has to offer.

Confluence District

If you're looking for a taste of modern Lyon, the Confluence District is the place to be. Situated at the confluence of the Rhône and Saône rivers, this trendy neighborhood is filled with striking contemporary architecture and cutting-edge cultural attractions.

One of the main draws of the Confluence District is the Musée des Confluences, a stunning science and anthropology museum that explores the intersection of art, culture, and science. With its interactive exhibits and thought-provoking displays, the Musée des Confluences is a must-visit destination for anyone interested in learning more about the world around us. Tip: Don't forget to access, for free, the rooftop for a breathtaking view of the Rhône and Saône rivers coming together.

Confluence of la Saone and Le Rhone in Lyon

But the Confluence District isn't just about museums - it's also home to some unique architectural wonders, like the sleek and modern Confluence shopping mall. The mall's contemporary design is a sight to behold, and it's the perfect place to take a leisurely stroll and admire the impressive architecture and the tallest indoor climbing wall in France going up to 22 meters.

For those who love the outdoors, the Confluence District is also home to the La Sucrière cultural center and the Musée des Confluences Park, both of which offer plenty of green space and scenic views of the surrounding rivers.

With its mix of art, culture, architecture, and outdoor spaces, the Confluence District is a great place to spend an afternoon or evening in Lyon. Whether you're interested in exploring the city's cutting-edge cultural attractions or just want to relax with a good view and a drink, this trendy neighborhood has something for everyone.


In conclusion, Lyon is a city full of hidden gems and off-the-beaten-path attractions that are waiting to be discovered. From the winding traboules of the Croix-Rousse neighborhood to the multicultural scene of la Guillotière and the futuristic architecture of the Confluence district, Lyon has something for every type of traveler. And we just scratched the surface here.

By exploring these lesser-known areas, visitors can gain a deeper appreciation for Lyon's rich history and diverse culture. So why not take a break from the tourist crowds and venture off the beaten path? Whether you're a history buff, a foodie, or an art lover, Lyon has plenty of treasures to offer that are just waiting to be uncovered. So grab a map and start exploring – you never know what hidden gems you might find! And if you want to get a glimpse of it with a local guide, join us for a free walking tour in Lyon!

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