Lyon is aesthetically tame compared to its flamboyant cousin Paris, but it does pack a louder roar in terms of authentic French gastronomic experience. From quenelles and foie gras to rosettes and special sausages featured in menus of the famed bouchons accompanied by a far-from-modest assortment of red wine, Lyon is definitely a culinary heaven. The Notre-Dame de Fourviere Basilica stands tall overlooking the city decked with an endless sea of orange roofs and protruding chimneys reminiscent of old world France. Down the hill from where the church stands is the old town bustling with tourists. The old town features alleys of bouchons (traditional Lyonnais restaurants) and also traboules or winding passageways connecting the old buildings.
The river Rhone slices the city into the old town and the modern business district. The Les Halles named after the famed chef Paul Bocuse is a must. It is a market with stalls and pocket restaurants offering the best French cuisine in a modern setting. The collection of food is just astounding – artisanal cheese of all kinds, wine, cold cuts, and mouth-watering desserts. Also in this side of the city is the beautiful Parc de la Tête d’Or, a vast green well-landscaped space featuring a botanical garden and a free zoo with giraffes, zebras, all the adorable animals you would wish to see in a zoo. It is a very entertaining and relaxing escape to rest and promenade in after filling yourself with all the good food you can get your hands on in this city. Lyon is also the gateway to the Rhone-Alps region, close to Geneva, sharing a portion of not only good wine but also amazing ski places and natural parks.