Some content was taken from an article by Florence Daussy and Quentin Dan of the old SCAN website.
Lyon is the second biggest city in France with an urban area of 1 798 396 inhabitants. And it is certainly one of the nicest cities in France ! Lyon is located in the region Rhône-Alpes close to the Alps, at 400km from the sea and at 500km from Paris. It is quite well situated for taking the advantage of France (skiing, going to the see or planning trips in France).
At the beginning called Lugdunum, Lyon has always been a very “plenty-of-life” city with lots of activities, places to visit, restaurants to discover,etc. An INSA student out of his room may wander through the streets of a beautiful Renaissance architecture discovering for example the Tour Rose or “la Galérie Philibert Delorme” together with other tourists during a”Balade urbaine” which takes you through every corner of the city. So don’t wait any more, get out of the campus and visit this city!!!
To go to Lyon from where you live ? No problem. Lyon has a big airport serving the main cities in the world. Concerning the means of transport, the TGV (Train à Grande Vitesse which corresponds to high speed train) allows you to travel easily in France or in Western Europe.
Public transports in Lyon are very well organised if you don’t take into account the various strikes they do during the year. You can find more than 100 buses ‘lines, 111 scholar buses, 4 metro lines, 2 funiculars and 3 tramway lines. But beware! if you haven’t paid the fare, you may have a fine up to 80 euros! ouuch! Moreover, you can move around Lyon easily by Vélov, bikes that you can borrow at 340 places all around Lyon for a couple of hours. You can get a Vélov Long-term Ticket (15 euros) that lasts a year or a short-time ticket (1 euro) for 24 hours.
Life and Tourism
We strongly recommend you to have a walk in Lyon, visit some places and just enjoy the city and all the activities!
For the touristic places to see, well you have everything. The Vieux Lyon, an historic area of the city, is one of the UNESCO wold heritage sites. From the Colline de Fourvière, you have very beautiful view of Lyon.
There are also some interesting places that you will discover like the place des Terreaux, Bellecour, Cathédrale Saint Jean and Notre Dame de Fourvière. Another nice place in town is the banks of the Rhône where you can really have a good time as well.
Lyon is really famous for its gastronomy (called as the capital of gastronomy in France). You can find in town some charming restaurants with the typical food of the region. It is also a good way to taste some of the most famous French cheeses !
Of course, if you are not the kind of guy who wants to visit every single museum in Lyon, there are still plenty of things you can do.
To begin with, if you want to relax after a long and tiring day of class, there are some places where you can go. Next to INSA, the Parc de La Tête d’Or is the largest park in France with a big lake and a zoo. It’s one of the best places for going for a walk, cycling, jogging, or roller-skating !
If you enjoy practising any kind of sport, you won’t be disappointed: you can find various amenities from ice rinks to the newly constructed “Berges du Rhône” or the “Randos Roller” on friday nights; there is no way to get bored!
If you prefer the company of a good glass of beer, you can visit one of the many bars in the city where you can meet other French or foreign students. If you don’t know where to go, the good places to start with are Vieux Lyon and Les Terreaux where, if you get fed up with drunk people, you can always shift to a dancing bar or a night club.
For more information Life in Lyon, try to get a Petit Paumé. It is a small booklet written by students of a French Business School that provides very reliable information about restaurants, bars, places to go out, activities, cultural events, museums, etc.
Lyon is an incredible place for cultural activities. During your academic year, you will have a lot of opportunities to enjoy culture and sport in Lyon.
The first main event to see when you arrive in Lyon is the Biennale de Danse . From september to october, you’ll find many ballets or shows, covering all kind of dances from classic to hip hop. At the beginning of the festival, there will be an exhibition on the street with dancers coming from all over the world.
You also have the Biennale d’Art Contemporain (Contemporary Art Biennial) from September fo January. In the main museums of Lyon, you can see lots of exhibitions about original creations from well known artists.
In October, there is the music festival Un Doua de Jazz in Villeurbanne. Created by INSA students, this festival covers different styles of jazz music with famous artists or new talents.
For those who like electronic music, the festival Les Nuits Sonores takes places in the street and in concert halls in May. It gathers more than 700 artists with their own style like hip-hop, techno, pop, and so on.
In July, the end of the year is « already » finished, but still, festivals never stop. The main event in summer is the Nuits de Fourvière. At the théâtre antique, you can see, during the two months of the vacation, a festival of music, danse, theâtre, or cinema. International artists usually come for the event, but you also have some famous French artists such as M or Jacques Dutronc who were there in 2010.
Lyon is also a very important place for sport. You can either see some sport matches of the famous soccer club, the Olympique Lyonnais, or either practise with important manifestations during the year like the Marathon of Lyon which usually takes place in October, or like the Vendredis du Roller where you can go roller-skating in the street and enjoy to be with lots of other fanatics.
The biggest event in Lyon that you cannot miss is the Festival of Lights which is hold in the streets around the 8th of December. Many buildings of the city are illuminated and you can also see some light shows like at the Place des Terraux.