Lyon vs Paris: Which is Better?
Updated: Apr 25
You’ve probably noticed Lyon getting a lot of hype, after all it’s just a quick train from Paris and packs a Parisian punch minus the droves of tourists. So the question remains, is this lesser known city actually better than the City of Lights? First, let's see how the two cities stack up against each other. Here are some ways in which the two cities compare:
Size - Paris is a much larger city than Lyon, with a population of around 2.2 million compared to Lyon's 500,000. As a result, Paris offers more diverse and numerous attractions, museums, and restaurants.
Landmarks - Paris is home to some of the most iconic landmarks in the world, including the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre Museum, and Notre-Dame Cathedral. While Lyon also has many historic and cultural landmarks, it doesn't quite measure up to the iconic status of Paris.
Food - While Paris has a fantastic food scene, with plenty of Michelin-starred restaurants and a diverse range of international cuisine, Lyon is considered by many to be the gastronomic capital of France. Lyon is famous for its traditional Lyonnais cuisine, including dishes such as coq au vin, quenelles, and saucisson.
Architecture - Both cities have a rich history and offer many examples of stunning architecture. Paris is known for its grand Haussmannian buildings, Gothic cathedrals, and Belle Époque landmarks, while Lyon boasts a mix of medieval, Renaissance, and modern architecture.
Culture - Paris is a hub for art, fashion, and design, with a wide range of museums and galleries showcasing works by some of the world's most famous artists. Lyon, on the other hand, has a rich cultural heritage, with many historic museums and landmarks, as well as a lively theater and music scene.
Paris is of course a must visit, but Lyon should be at the top of your list when in France, here is why:
Food - Lyon is considered by many to be the gastronomic capital of France. The city is known for its bouchons, traditional Lyonnais restaurants that serve hearty, rustic dishes. Lyon is also home to many Michelin-starred restaurants, making it a food lover's paradise. You can find anything in Lyon!
Size - While Paris is a large and bustling city, some people might prefer the smaller and more manageable size of Lyon. Lyon still offers many of the attractions and amenities of a big city, but with a more relaxed and laid-back atmosphere. Way less lines and traffic around town!
Architecture - Lyon has a rich history and is home to many beautiful examples of architecture from different time periods. The Old Town of Lyon, for example, has many well-preserved Renaissance-era buildings, while the city's modern Confluence district is known for its cutting-edge architecture. One of my favorite workouts was running the stairs at the ancient Roman ruin amphitheater!
Location - Lyon is situated in the heart of the Rhone-Alpes region, which offers many opportunities for outdoor activities such as hiking, skiing, and wine tasting. Additionally, Lyon is located just a few hours from other popular destinations in France, such as the French Alps and the Provence region. You are literally in the middle of everything, this is a great hub location!
Culture - Lyon has a vibrant cultural scene, with many museums, galleries, and theaters. The city is also home to several annual festivals, including the Fête des Lumières, which celebrates the city's history and culture with light displays and fireworks.
While Paris is an amazing city, for a longer stay we actually preferred the more relaxed and less touristy atmosphere of Lyon, as well as its unique cultural and culinary offerings. Lyon is really a more authentic taste of France without the crowds, make sure to add a few nights here!