Family travel: 14 things to do in Lyon with kids

Family travel: 14 things to do in Lyon with kidsThis article may contain compensated links. Please read disclaimer for more info

Planning a family adventure to Lyon?

France’s capital of gastronomy was always on my list of places to visit due to its history and reputation for amazing food. To be honest, I had hoped to experience the city without the kids so we could bar and restaurant hop.

But circumstances conspired against us,  so it was a lovely surprise to find such a family friendly city that also satisfied our food cravings.

Lyon: visit Lyon with kids - things to do, where to stay - Place du Maréchal Lyautey

Lyon, France

Built on the confluence of the rivers Rhône and Saône, Lyon’s history was shaped by its strategic position on trade routes between Paris and Italy.

The city is the third biggest in France after Paris and Marseille, is a UNESCO World Heritage site and has many wonderful parks and gardens, markets and interesting outdoor spaces.

So there is plenty to do for families with young children.

Best things to do in Lyon with kids

1 | Hang out riverside – we spotted some seriously cool parks along the banks of the Rhone

Cool playground by the river in Lyon

2 | Munch your way around the Marché Alimentaire on Quai St Antoine a typical and wonderful French open air fresh food market open every day except Monday 6am to 1pm

Related  Paris for kids - ideas for a magical trip to the city of light

3 | Take a Lyon river cruise to the confluence of the Rhône and the Saône

Lyon a city of two rivers

3 | Pick up a cake or pastry at the amazing and decadent patisseries – you won’t have to look hard to find them

Patisserie in Lyon France

4 | Wander the massive and beautiful Parc de la Tête d’Or

things to do in Lyon with kids - visit Parc de la Tete D'Or

5 | Admire the elegant fountain and architecture surrounding the Place des Jacobins – kids love throwing coins in the fountain

6 | Stroll through the lovely Vieux (Old) Lyon and admire the medieval and renaissance architecture – especially the Cathédrale Saint-Jean-Baptiste. Don’t forget to explore the traboules or secret passageways dating from the 4th century. There are rumoured to be over 400!

7 | Visit Lyon Zoo in the grounds of the Parc de la Tête d’Or – quite lovely as far as zoos go as many of the animals are roaming in large enclosures. And it is free!

We spent ages trying to count the turtles at the Lyon Zoo – there are over 1,200! – many of which were rescued from the ecological disaster in Florida

8 | Explore the Musée des Confluences – this new museum devoted to the development of mankind is housed in a spectacular building that looks like an alien spaceship right on the confluence of Lyon’s famous rivers

Turtles at Lyon's Parc de la Tete D'Or

9 | Pick up a picnic at Les Halles de Lyon Paul Bocuse – a gourmet mecca probably best experienced without toddlers but we made it work with the takeaway option!

10 | Admire the enormous space of the Place Bellecour and the imposing Basilica of Notre-Dame de Fourvière which looks over the square – great place for kids to run around and let off steam.

There are also 2 great playgrounds, a cafe and tourist information located in the Place Bellecour – pictured below

Place Bellecour Lyon

12 | Save your pennies for a splurge at In Cuisine – a bookshop, cafe, ingredient store and cookery school – in the heart of Lyon. They have a great kids section (including books in English) and offer cooking lessons for kids too.

13 | Stroll across the city’s picturesque bridges and take in views of the majestic Rhône and Saône rivers

Lyon France - things to do

14 | Admire the lovely fountain, visit the playground and stop off for a casual dinner in the Place du Maréchal Lyautey. We stayed around the corner from here and it was the perfect spot

Passerelle du College bridge Lyon

Where to stay in Lyon with kids

Warwick Reine Astrid – a mid range hotel with an unbeatable position right next door to the Parc de la Tête d’Or. The Warwick Reine Astrid has family friendly suites, access to pubic transport and onsite parking so you can overlook the somewhat dated room decor. Check availability and prices

Hotel Particulier Ste Hélène – offering a range of modern apartments, this aparthotel is located on La Presqu’île close to the Place Bellecour. From this central location and its easy access to public transport you can explore all Lyon has to offer. Check availability and prices

Hotel Carlton Lyon – this upscale hotel is in a historic building with lots of character close to the Place Bellecour. The hotel has cosy family suites and can arrange babysitting should you wish to dine out Michelin style. Check prices and availability


For the best hotel deals in Lyon and France we recommend searching Hotels Combined

Save on your hotel - www.hotelscombined.com


Stopover in Lyon en route to the South of France or Italy

Lyon is a perfect stopover destination on the drive to the south of France or Italy from the UK.

Depending on how far you are prepared to drive in one day, you can make it for dinner the same day you leave. If you are not driving you can get there in just over 4 and a half hours by Eurostar which sounds a lot more civilised!


Disclosure: There are some affiliate links in this post. This means that if you choose to make a purchase after clicking on one of the links I may receive a small commission and your purchase will help support this site. Read my full disclosure policy.


More about France on Untold Morsels

Paris for wanderers | Bordeaux wine museum | Paris for foodies | Normandy coast| Paris for kids


 


Read more travel articles about France on:

Lou Messugo

Subscribe to Untold Morsels

Subscribe to receive our monthly newsletter full of inspirational ideas for memorable trips.

As a thank you we will send you a FREE checklist for booking the best holiday accommodation rental apartments and villas on Booking.com, AirBnB etc

Powered by ConvertKit
Lyon, France - things to do in Lyon with kids - traboules, old town, museums, markets and more
Follow:

18 Comments

  1. 6th April 2016 / 10:12 PM

    Oooh – very helpful post – will keep this in mind now we are pros at driving down to the south of France. Looks like a perfect stop off. Thanks for sharing on #citytripping

    • 7th April 2016 / 1:56 PM

      I can’t recommend it enough. Another lovely place en route to Italy or France is Annecy. We went in winter but it would be just as nice in summer I think.

  2. 7th April 2016 / 1:54 PM

    This is incredibly tempting! I knew Lyon’s reputation as a foodie city but had no idea it was so family-friendly. I’ve been half planning a trip to France as it’s ages since I’ve been and generally dithering about organising something, but this has shot to the top of the list… #citytripping

    • 7th April 2016 / 2:08 PM

      We could have spent a lot longer there. You could make a nice trip of that region. We visited Annecy last year as well and apart from the beautiful lake and pretty town there are a lot of nice walks to do. Keep me posted!

  3. 10th April 2016 / 8:42 AM

    Lyon is incredibly pretty, I had no idea. Now I definitely want to include it in a future trip to France. I saw some turtles in a park recently lined up like that, they were too cute, haha.

    • 10th April 2016 / 4:36 PM

      It is a lovely city and quite a bit more relaxed than Paris. The turtles were pretty cute and there were loads of them!

  4. 2nd June 2016 / 12:55 PM

    I love Lyon, and just like you say, it’s a perfect place for a stopover driving between the SoF and UK. We stay there at least once a year when doing exactly that. Recently we were trying to fit in a long weekend to explore more but somehow it’s already June and it hasn’t happened. I know it will but just not when. Incidently I recommend Lyon as a stopover place in a blog post I wrote about driving to the SoF too, so great minds think alike. Thanks for linking to #AllAboutFrance

    • 2nd June 2016 / 3:10 PM

      Thanks Phoebe, I’m trying to work out how we can fit in another Lyon stop this year but I don’t think it will work. Shame! It’s such a great city.

  5. 3rd June 2016 / 8:35 AM

    One of my favourite cities and I’m so lucky living in the Haute Savoie it’s only about an hour and a half away. With more than 3000 restaurants to visit and dubbed the gastronomique capital of France – I don’t think I’ll ever tire of walking the streets and river banks of this wonderful city. I’ve written a few posts on my blog Taste of Saveoi of restaurants I’ve visited so far in Lyon – so next time you visit…

    • 3rd June 2016 / 9:05 AM

      Thanks Caro. Lucky you! Going to check it out now ?

  6. 3rd June 2016 / 4:35 PM

    Lyon is an amazingly rich city – I love it! And their VOISIN chocolate… Did you visit any of the Traboules passageways? That’s on my next to do list:)

    • 3rd June 2016 / 5:40 PM

      Ooh will be checking out that chocolate for sure. We had a sneaky look into the Traboules but it was a bit hard to negotiate with a double pram so we will wait until the children are older or until Mary Poppins flies in for a visit! Hope to read about your visit soon 🙂

  7. 5th June 2016 / 9:05 PM

    This is a great list. I would add, taking a trip through some of the city’s hidden traboules – the Tourist Office can advise you of where to find the entrances – and kids love the mystery of them.

    • 5th June 2016 / 9:08 PM

      Thanks Emily. We will definitely check out the traboules on our next visit. Thanks for stopping by

  8. 24th February 2017 / 11:35 AM

    We fly into Lyon every time we go back home, but I’m ashamed to say that we’ve never visited it. One for next summer’s bucket list 😉 x

  9. 17th July 2017 / 2:43 AM

    I would argue that this is a great list to do in Lyon whether or not you have kids! I love all these things! I’m happy to see you featured the park areas along the Rhône – I would love to slide down that tunnel slide were I not several decades too old. The Rhône is also nice for parents with strollers, since the quais are much wider than the Saône’s and it has separate areas for pedestrians and bikes in many areas. I think Parc de la Tête d’Or and its zoo and botanical gardens could keep you busy for days – I didn’t know the turtles were rescued from Florida! Thanks for sharing that tidbit 🙂

    • 20th July 2017 / 11:31 AM

      Thanks so much Catherine. I adored Lyon and would love to return one day. Parc de la Tête d’Or is a treasure of the city isn’t it? And I would definitely join you in having a go on the slide. Being a parent means you can get away with some of those things 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *