The best way to explore Lyon, France, according to French visual artist Cyril Lancelin

lyon france

Where to eat, shop and stay in Lyon, France, according to Cyril Lancelin. The French artist, who’s based in Lyon itself, was recently in town for The Art of Dreams Singapore, a global art initiative brought to you by Porsche

Cyril Lancelin’s Remember Your Dreams installation makes an appearance outside Europe for the first time

Lyon is distinguished by several geographical specificities: it is overlooked by two hills and crossed by two rivers. This makes her unique. It is a large city on a human scale that nature has shaped. From the neighbourhoods nestled on the hills to the city centre located on the peninsula, Lyon is rich in walks and attractions. As the former “capital of the Gaules”, it is rich in history, art and culture, but it is also in the kitchen that its history was written. During the few days where you will take a stroll on the quays or the slopes of the “Croix-Rousse”, you will become a real Lyonnais enjoying an exceptional living environment.

Editor’s note: More Robb Stopovers here.

The quenelle is a blend of fish or meat, poached and served in a thick shellfish bisque

Sip and savour

Lyon is often called the capital of French gastronomy. There is plenty to go around, from starred restaurants to typical Lyonnais restaurants called “les bouchons”. Personally, I really like the Brasseries of the Bocuse group, which takes care of Restaurant Fond Rose and Brasserie L’Ouest, both my favourites. To chill on the terrace, I like to have a drink at RN Beer in Charbonnières, and when I come back to the centre, my I will have a lemonade at Perko Café and its magnificent terrace typical of the slopes of the Croix-Rousse. In the evening I will suggest heading to the restaurant Les Apothicaires, but without forgetting the famous rue Mercière filled with restaurants, I like to sit down at the Bistrot de Lyon to taste my favourites Lyon dish, quenelles.

Robb Tip: Old Lyon (Vieux Lyon) has many traditional Lyonnais restaurants, the “bouchons”. The squares are magnificent with its terraces, in summer it is always a great pleasure to sit there.

lyon city
A bird’s-eye view of Lyon

Sights and sounds

I like to explore towns on foot, somewhat haphazardly without following the maps. In Lyon, it’s the ideal place to do this, walk in Old Lyon, then stroll on the slopes of the Croix Rousse, to see its squares and stairs (the Mermet stairs for example) or these typically Lyon passages called the traboules, as in the “cour des Voraces”. If you want to simply spend the day reading, head to the greenhouses of the Parc de la Tête d’Or, a magical place.

Robb Tip: I recommend crossing the river via the Paul-Couturier footbridge, always a magical moment.

Opéra de Lyon
The Opéra de Lyon


I like to walk in the old streets, and in particular the rue Auguste Comte, where there are galleries, design shops and antique dealers. The Passage de l’Argues is also an amazing place to shop. I’m a fan of the renovation of the Grand Hotel Dieu (a former hospital in the city centre) and especially of the shopping break in its interior garden. It is also a great experience to discover the life of Lyonnais at the Croix-Rousse Market, and finally to rest after a busy day, I would head for the best massage in town at La Buulle in Tassin.

Robb TipTo take a break, I love having a drink at the l’Opéra de Lyon or just sitting on a bench in the interior garden of the Museum of Fine Arts on Place des Terreaux.

villa florentine lyon
The pool at Villa Florentine


In Lyon, due to its geography, hotels often have incredible views—the Villa Florentine and Fourvière Hotel, for example. I also highly recommend Maison Nô, Hotel de L’Abbaye and Silky Hotel.

Robb Tip: The swimming pool at Villa Florentine is an absolute must-do.

Getting around

Lyon is the perfect walkable city, of course I recommend walking on the hills. You can enhance your stay with escapades very close to the centre with the magnificent and romantic park of Lacroix-Laval and the castle in Marcy-L’Etoile. For lovers of architecture and design, go to the convent of La Tourette by Le Corbusier, that’s 30 minutes from Lyon, and for lovers of fine wine, escape to the vineyards of Beaujolais and its villages.

Robb Tip: I recommend walking to the Garden of Curiosities on the hill of Fourvière to enjoy one of the most beautiful views of the city.