Weekend in Lyon, France, one of three ways: on a budget, spending a bit more, or when the getaway calls for a splurge.
Trip tips: The Vieux Lyon (Old Town), urbanized in the 15th and 16th centuries, is the second-largest intact Renaissance neighborhood in Europe (Venice, Italy, is the largest). This UNESCO World Heritage site lies along the banks of the Saone River. Wander through traboules, the narrow cobbled and hidden passageways connecting the old city to the river, through inner courtyards and renovated architectural treasures dating to the 11th and 12th centuries. Within Vieux Lyon is the Ancient Theatre of Fourviere, the oldest Roman theater in France completed in 17 B.C. with space for 10,000. Today the theater hosts cultural summer events of dance, opera and circus.
A Lyon City Card offers entrance to 22 museums, unlimited public transportation, a river boat trip, one guided walking tour and discounts on shopping, bike hires, activities and more. A one-day adult card is $24.50; $32 for two days; and $42 for three. www.lyoncitycard.com/?lang=2.
When dialing direct, use the prefix 011 followed by 33 (country code) + 04 (city code) + the phone number shown below. Trip planning at www.en.lyon-france.com.
Getting there from Atlanta: Delta serves Lyon with connecting service in Paris from $1,300 round-trip on departures through mid-May. Turkish Airlines offers $749 round-trip rates to Lyon on May-August departures with one-stop service in Istanbul, Turkey. From Paris, Lyon is a two-hour train ride, or a bit more than a four-hour drive. Travel less than an hour from Lyon to reach the foot of the French Alps to explore cities such as the university town of Grenoble.
Stay: Hotel des Celestins is a short walk to the Vieux Lyon Renaissance district (Old Town) across the Saone River and near a few excellent restaurants and bars. This traditional hotel blends classic and modern furnishings in guest rooms (from $112) to suites and apartments with living area, kitchen and fireplace. Complimentary Wi-Fi; breakfast additional. 4 Rue des Archers, Lyon. 72 56 08 98, www.hotelcelestins.com.
Eat: Experience the French cooking scene under the covered markets of Les Halles de Lyon. A few of nearly 60 shops are Michelin-rated. 102 Cours Lafayette, Lyon. 78 62 39 33, www.halles-de-lyon-paulbocuse.com. Another popular market for roast chicken, fruits, cheese and charcuterie (think picnic!) is Marche Saint-Antoine with over 100 stalls (closed Monday). Quai St. Antoine and Quai des Celestins. 72 10 30 30.
Experience: Explore the city with a personalized two-hour tour of your interests guided by a local volunteer. Meet your greeter at a pre-appointed time and place. www.lyoncitygreeter.com. Climb up to the 19th-century Basilique Notre Dame de Fourviere, one of the most visited sanctuaries in France. Explore hidden places, gain access to the carillon of 23 bells and to the St. Michael terrace for grand city views, $7; $3 age 12 and under (April-November). Free self-guided tours with audio guide offered daily. 8 Place de Fourviere, Lyon. 78 25 13 01, www.fourviere.org/en.
Stay: Choose from a room or one of two suites at the charming Le Jardin de Beauvoir, a typical French 19th-century home set in a garden. An orchard surrounds the property, which offers a broad view over Lyon’s rooftops. From $167-$262. 8 Rue de Trion, Lyon. (9) 70 73 20 54, http://chambre-hote-beauvoir-lyon.com.
Eat: Lyon silk tapestries, stone walls, a vaulted ceiling, parquet floors and a modern steel bar greet guests to the contemporary and elegant Cafe Epicerie. Starters to dessert choices, $10-$36. Prix fixe menus offered. 6 Rue du Boeuf, Lyon. 72 77 44 44, http://en.courdesloges.com/574-cafe-epicerie-restaurant.htm.
Experience: Tour the city with a small group by electric bike, including stops for food tastings (not for under age 12). The four-hour tour explores the capital of French gastronomy and iconic city sights. Two departure times Monday-Sunday; $76.42 includes e-bike rental, helmet, raincoat. Admission to paid monuments extra. www.ceetiz.com.
Stay: Hotel Carlton Lyon is situated on the peninsula overlooking Place de la Republique and a four-minute walk to a metro stop. This refined hotel is housed in a building dating from 1894 and offers a cozy bar with velvet seating, chandeliers and a variety of Champagnes. Sophisticated guest rooms from $190. 4 Rue Jussieu, Lyon. 78 42 56 51, www.mgallery.com/gb/hotel-2950-hotel-carlton-lyon-mgallery-collection/index.shtml.
Eat: Le Passe Temps has a lackluster interior so as not to distract from the creative and innovative dishes that blend classic with modern and French with South Korean influences. Lunch, $27-$45; dinner to $60. 52 Rue Tronchet, Lyon. 72 82 90 14, www.lepassetemps-restaurant.com/#_=_.
Experience: Enjoy authentic French cuisine on the only restaurant boat navigating in Lyon, the Hermes, while taking in the sights of the city and villages along the Saone River. The 2.5-hour dinner cruise, $66-$77 per person, begins April 3. One-hour sightseeing cruises starting March 4 from $17. 13 Bis Quai Rambaud, Lyon. 78 42 96 81, www.lyoncityboat.com/reservation-date-en.
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Clara Bosonetto is a retired travel consultant.