Inside Lyon

New in 2025!

View of old Lyon city and river

2025 dates:  May 6 – 10; May 17 – 21; Sept 16 – 20

Inside Lyon is a special four-night Experience, offered for the first time in 2025. Our group will base in the heart of the city, the lively Presque-Île, and only steps from the Saône River and the historic UNESCO World Heritage site of Vieux Lyon.

Although it can be booked as a standalone trip, this shorter Experience is designed to be an ideal pre-trip or post-trip combined with one of our week-long trips in France. If you book Inside Lyon and a week-long Experience, your transportation between the two is included.

Lyon is truly one of France’s best-kept secrets. Its hilltop perches – the Croix-Rousse and Fourvière – offer dramatic panoramic views of the city, and the banks of its two rivers – the Saône and the Rhône – play host to animated scenes of urban life. Lyon has a range of neighborhoods, from the chic to the offbeat, but retains its authentic, local character. Travelers will immediately notice Lyon’s unhurried, relaxed feel; though a major urban center (France’s third largest city), the city never feels too crowded or touristed. Lyon’s charm rests with its unpretentious, old-world authenticity. For those seeking la France profonde, Lyon offers perhaps its clearest urban expression.

Square with fountain and beautiful buildings

Named the “gastronomic capital of the world,” Lyon is a food-lover’s paradise. From its bustling markets, Michelin-starred establishments, and down-to-earth bouchons, the city offers a wide array of culinary experiences. The city also boasts a vibrant history. Founded by the Romans in the 1st century B.C. and once the capital of Roman Gaul, the city has been at the crossroads of Gallic, Mediterranean, and Alpine civilizations for millennia. It has since figured prominently as the home of France’s silk production, the birthplace of cinema, and a major center of the French Resistance during World War II.

Experiences in Lyon

Although it’s a shorter trip, Inside Lyon follows the same approach as our other European Experiences trips, including a variety of special activities and experiences unique to the area. This trip is designed to give you a full taste of the best the city has to offer, mixing “must see” sites and attractions with more unique activities. Given the city’s culinary reputation, local food and its history are an important focus of this Experience. Our time together will include:

  • A walking tour of the Presque-Île, where you’ll encounter many of the city’s most treasured landmarks, including the Place des Jacobins, the Saint-Nizier Church, and the Place des Terreaux with its 17th-century City Hall and its 19th-century fountain designed by Auguste Bartholdi.
  • A leisurely food tour through the UNESCO World Heritage-protected Vieux Lyon, where you’ll have the opportunity to enjoy numerous Lyonnais specialties, including rosette lyonnaise, saucisson brioché, regional cheeses, and tarte aux praline. The tour will also allow travelers to fully experience the historic neighborhood, with its concentration of Renaissance-era buildings, its narrow winding streets, and its famous traboules (passageways), and the celebrated St. Jean Cathedral.
  • A visit to one of the city’s premier museums, adapted to the interests of each individual group. The museum will highlight a key aspect of Lyonnais history, potentially Lyon’s role in the history of cinema or in the French Resistance during World War II.
  • A private, multi-course dinner in a local’s 18th-century home overlooking the Saône.
  • Exploration of the lively and artsy Croix-Rousse neighborhood. Once a working-class enclave famous for its silk production, the area has been transformed into a vibrant arts district replete with street art, murals, gardens, and secret passageways. We’ll explore the highlights of the neighborhood, both past and present. This includes a visit to a 19th-century silk weaver’s workshop, an artist’s curated garden, and a scenic stroll down the historic and picturesque Montée de la Grande Côte.
  • A visit to the historic Fourvière Hill, where we’ll explore the extensive remnants of the Roman-era city of Lugdunum. We will also visit the impressive 19th-century basilica, Notre Dame de Fourvière. Travelers will have the option to visit the rooftop of the basilica.
  • Meals in some of Lyon’s most celebrated dining establishments, including an authentic bouchon and a historic 19th-century Brasserie.
  • A day-long excursion to the Beaujolais region north of Lyon (pictured below). Referred to by locals as “Little Tuscany,” the area features sprawling vineyards and hilltop villages built out of “golden stone” (pierres dorées). Our day trip will include visits to several villages classed among France’s most beautiful as well as a stop along the renowned Beaujolais Wine Route to taste some of the region’s best viticultural offerings.

Lush countryside of vineyards and colorful farmhouses
Narrow medieval street with shopsBecause of the city location and the intimate nature of these experiences, we’ll normally have a group of no more than eight travelers for this trip.

Since this is a four-night trip in a city, there’s not much free time. All meals are included (four breakfasts, three lunches, and four dinners). We want to make the best use of our time together to take advantage of all these special opportunities.

You should be prepared to walk on this city-based trip. Most of the walking is flat– and we’ll take a funicular up to the high point– but you will sometimes need to walk up and down gentle inclines and staircases. There will also be some walking on cobblestones and uneven surfaces. We’ll travel by public transportation for some of our movement through the city, but Lyon’s metro system is clean, efficient, and well equipped with escalators.

Inside Lyon is led by Drew Fedorka, a key member of the European Experiences team. In addition to his role as Special Projects Manager, beginning in 2024 Drew is the co-leader for our week-long Experiences in Normandy, the Périgord, and Alsace. Drew is a recent PhD in French History from New York University and has a long-term passion for France. He has spent more than two years living and studying in France, including four months in Lyon. He’s now working with local experts in Lyon to ensure this is a very special Experience for our travelers.

Arrival and Departure

Lyon has excellent transportation connections, and you can easily reach Lyon by air or by train. The Lyon–Saint Exupéry Airport has regular flights to/from Paris and other European cities, as well as flights to/from North Africa. There are two major train stations in Lyon. TGV trains stop at Lyon’s Part-Dieu station, where there are many trains each day to/from Paris and the south of France. It’s less than two hours from Lyon to Paris by TGV and about 1 hour 15 minutes south to Avignon.

The group will meet in our hotel lobby, late on the afternoon of the first day. We’ll depart after breakfast on our last day. If you’re continuing on to one of our other Experience trips in France, we’ll provide transportation to the Lyon Part Dieu station and then to the next destination. If you’re returning home or continuing your independent travels, our hotel can help coordinate transportation to the Lyon airport or train station, depending on your plans.

Leader: Drew Fedorka

Prices: $2,600 per person, double occupancy. $2,950 – single occupancy of a double room.