A car is unnecessary in Lyon but essential if you want to get out to the vineyards and châteaux of Beaujolais and Burgundy.
Lyon St-Exupéry airport has regular flights throughout the year from numerous destinations.
High-speed TGV trains connect Lyon to the rest of France, and other European countries. The station is outside the city centre but linked by an efficient tram network. London to Lyon takes four to six hours with Eurostar, via Lille or Paris.
Country code for France: 33. Lyon: (0)4.
Bocuse's Regional French Cooking by Paul Bocuse is a magisterial work by Lyon's, if not France's, foremost chef.
Do go / Don't Go
The crowds in Lyon never seem to be overwhelming, even in high summer when the temperature and humidity climb. Spring is pleasantly warm while autumn sees the surrounding countryside at its best and is the time for the grape harvest. Winter in the city is often cold and crisp.
Lyon's proximity to Burgundy and Beaujolais means the city is bursting with fine wines, haute cuisine and regional delicacies. Specialities include St-Marcellin cheese and saucisson sec (salami) as well as quenelles (fish or meat dumplings) and boudin noir (black pudding). All these and more can be found in the city's well stocked food markets (see shopping). Local Côtes du Rhône wines are also an excellent accompaniment.
It's possible to pick up a cab from one of the many taxi ranks, or hail one in the street.
Restaurant and café bills usually include a service charge (service compris) but it's customary to leave a tip of a few euros. For taxi drivers, add ten per cent to the metered charge.
France's second city is as chic and stylish as Paris; dress to impress.
Lyon has an excellent opera house on Place de la Comédie staging major productions (+33 8 26 30 53 25). The building is a striking mix of old and new with the original 18th-century building now possessing a sleek glass-roof extension designed by Jean Nouvel. The whole edifice is spectacularly lit at night. The Musée des Beaux-Art in the Palais Saint-Pierre is one of the finest in France containing a treasure trove of art, from ancient Greece to the works of Monet, Picasso and Gauguin.
The area between Place Bellecour and Cordeliers in the Carré d'Or district is filled with enough stylish boutiques to rival any Parisian boulevard; Rue Emile Zola, Rue Président Edouard Herriot and Place Kléber are the best places to head. There are also excellent open-air markets on Croix-Rousse hill and Quai St-Antoine, ideal for seeking out delicious local delicacies. You can pick up some superb wines at the English-speaking Antic Wines in Rue du Boeuf.
It's sometimes possible to climb the north tower of the Basilica Notre-Dame de Fourvière for spectacular views over the city. Otherwise the esplanade next to the church is an equally good vantage point.
At nightfall 300 of the city's landmarks and monuments are illuminated by thousands of projectors and spotlights, creating a magical setting for an evening stroll.
July Lyon's Roman amphitheatre hosts Les Nuits de Fourvière, a festival dedicated to the performing arts. Third Wednesday of November The new Beaujolais wine is unveiled with great ceremony in the town of Beaujeu to the north of Lyon. December The Festival of Light is held in the run up to New Year, when windows are lit with candles and the city landmarks are illuminated.