Museum of Fine Arts of Lyon: Lyon is often viewed as a more manageable, but equally sophisticated cultural hub as Paris, and this gallery – housed inside a magnificent 17th-century Benedictine convent – is the largest French arts home outside the capital. Its collection spans dusty old Egypt antiquities through to masterpieces by daubing MVPs like Matisse, Picasso and Van Gogh. During the Euros, it’s hosting an exhibition of self-portraits billed as: “From Rembrandt to the Selfie”. Surely enough to make the old Dutch etcher spin in his grave.
Parc de la Tete d’Or: This centrally located green space has a huge Serpentine-like lake for boating, a free zoo (with giraffes, elephants, monkeys and reptiles), a botanic garden, velodrome, mini-golf course and horse riding. The ideal place to while away a sunny day pre-match, leisurely picking up a sorbet and third-degree sunburn.
Le Halles de Lyon Paul Bocuse: Lyon is the epicentre of France’s silk industry, and was also the actual ancient capital of the Gauls (check you Asterix comics). But most of all, it is considered France’s finest city for the French’s finest export: grub. Bin the pre-match burger and head to this extraordinary spot, rated by many gastronomes as the greatest food market in the world. A sense-stimulating Mecca for lovers of cheese, meats, truffles, shellfish, spices, coffee and pastries, we’re salivating at the thought of this just as much as, er, Ukraine vs Northern Ireland down the road.
WUB! WUB! WUB! Lyon is a world-class clubbing city, especially for lovers of dance music. There’s the iconic Le Sucre club, found on the roof of a former sugar factory, big warehouse venues like former factory Transbordeur (which hold some great ’summer sessions’ during the Euros), trendy establishments like DV1, Grrrnd Zero and Petit Salon, and even waterborne rave-barges like Sirius, Marquise and Sonic, where the city’s young and beautiful cut some rug. Maybe change out of that “MILNER 7” Three Lions shirt first, eh?
La Confluence: Lyon is a stunning place to just dander about in, with its Renaissance architecture and quaint bistros of the Vieux area. But the most attractive quarter to kick back with a stubby French beer is probably the newly pedestrianised area around the riverbank, La Confluence, jam-packed with great restaurants and bars.
3 fast facts
- Lyon played a significant role in the history of cinema thanks to the Lumiere brothers, Auguste and Louis, who invented the cinematograph and made the first ever film in 1895.
- The world’s first funicular railway was built between Lyon and La Croix-Rousse in 1862.
- The city – France’s second-largest – was built upon the silk trade. This strengthened ties with Italy, and the Italian influence is evident in the city’s buildings and culture.
Local cuisine you have to try
Quenelles de Brochet: Most of Lyon’s fare is absolutely magic, but quenelles dumplings made with fish or meat, then smothered in cheese sauce, take some beating.
Lyon with Wendie Renard, courtesy of Continental Tyres
The Lyon and France ladies' international takes you around her city that will host six games at Euro 2016 – including a semi-final.
Facts about the host stadium
Parc Olympique Lyon
- Capacity 59,186
- Built 2016
- Record attendance 56,661
How to get there: 10km outside the city centre, Parc OL is right next to the N346/ E15 motorway if you’re driving or getting a cab. Otherwise, the T3 tram is the best bet, running right from the city centre to outside the stadium (stop: Grande Stade de Lyon).
Built to replace the famous old Stade de Gerald, the home of Olympique Lyonnais – known locally as the Grand Stade – is a swanky new €415m facility complete with the obligatory hotels and business complex. Alexandre Lacazette scored the first goal here back in January in a 4-1 win over Troyes. It’s slated to be used during the 2019 Women’s World Cup, and will also host outdoor ice hockey.
How to speak local football
“Allez Les Gones!” translates as “come on, kids!” in the regional dialect of Arpitan, but you’ll not be yelling at toddlers if you shout it around these parts: you’ll merely voicing support for side that won Ligue 1 for the first time in their history in 2002, then amazingly retained the title for six further seasons.
Sons and daughters of the city
Alexandre Lacazette: One of France’s hottest striking properties has been linked to most of Europe’s top clubs, but he remains loyal to the club in the city where he was born and raised – for now. He broke Lyon’s season scoring record in 2014/15, was voted Ligue 1 Player of the Year and then signed a new deal keeping him at the club until 2019, but has admitted he “could move to England” this summer.
Florence Foresti: One of France’s most original and controversial comedians, Foresti is a TV and cinema staple in France, who recently toured with her one-woman show MotherF***er.
Jean-Michel Jarre: Bleep! Klonk! Vrrrroooop! JMJ is one of the pioneers of electronic and ambient music, selling around 80 million records worldwide and becoming particularly famous in the late ‘70s for futuristic soundscapes like Oxygene and Equinoxe. In keeping with Lyon’s reputation for light spectacles, he’s renowned for his spectacular, laser-beam crazed outdoor shows.
Raymond Barre: A prominent member of the French Socialist Party and current Mayor of Lyon, Barre reached the final of the 2010 World Mayor of the Year award. It’s a competition we didn’t know existed, but like to think involves men in ceremonial robes and regalia cage-fighting and singing power ballads to prove who is the Daddy Mayor.
Fan park info
The Lyon fanzine is situated at Place Bellecour, bang in Lyon city centre. They've gone big: there's room for 32,000 revellers in total (handy, as they're expecting at least 20,000 Hungarians here). Open from noon 'til 11.45pm, every Euro 2016 match will be shown live on two huge screens, and entry is free.