Spend a special Christmas break in the historic city of Lyon, all lit up in her fantastic festive cloak during the Festival of Lights.
Join us for a magical festive break in the UNESCO-listed city of Lyon during the magnificent Festival of Lights. France’s second city and gastronomic capital is a joy a to behold ordinarily, even more so during the festival, when buildings, squares and parks along the river and all over the city are lit up, often with artists’ designs, creating a truly unique, very special festive atmosphere.
Lyon Festival of Light & Christmas Markets Highlights
- Enjoy three nights in delightful Lyon
- Explore historic Lyon
- Take in the stunning Lyon Festival of Lights
- Visit Lyon’s Christmas market
- Optional sightseeing cruise on the Rhône
- Free time to explore the city under your own steam
- Three nights’ bed and breakfast accommodation at the three-star Ibis Styles Confluence Hotel, Lyon
- Guided sightseeing tour, with included cable-car ride
- A two-day city travel pass
- Return flights to Lyon
- Coach travel and transfers throughout
- Fully escorted by a friendly, experienced tour manager
Day One – Arrival & Orientation
Fly to France and meet your friendly tour manager. Transfer to your hotel. Your tour manager will tell you about the city’s main attractions, where they are, and how to get there. The afternoon is yours to spend relaxing and exploring your new surroundings, perhaps taking a stroll along the river and finding a café to watch the world go by from.
Tonight, celebrate your first night in France’s gastronomic capital as you enjoy dinner at a local restaurant.
After dinner, enjoy a self-guided stroll around the Festival of Lights. Dating back to the 17th Century, the festival is a unique Lyonnaise tradition. Today the festival is celebrated annually in December, when over 40 buildings, parks and squares all over the city and along the river are lit up in bright colours, often with artists’ designs, and many households place candles in their windows. Soak up the festive atmosphere as you wander Lyon’s pretty streets before retiring to your hotel. The main event is on the 8th, but there are smaller displays across the city from the 5th.
Day Two – Included Lyon City Tour
Join your friendly tour manager for a morning’s sightseeing tour of this historic city. Sitting at the confluence of the Rhône and Saône rivers, Lyon acts as a gateway to Provence and the Alps and was once the centre of France’s silk trade. The architectural styles of the city centre reflect its long and fascinating history, with Roman, medieval and Renaissance influence in abundance.
Your tour begins at the hilltop district of Fourvière, the site of a Roman settlement dating back to 43 BC and home to the Notre Dame Basilica. Take in the stunning panoramic views, before you descend via funicular, one of the world’s oldest, into picturesque Vieux Lyon, ‘Old Lyon’, on the banks of the River Saône. Explore this charming area of terracotta-tiled Renaissance mansions and traboules, winding round passageways that allowed manufacturers and merchants easy access to river. Look around the Gothic Cathédrale St Jean, with its stunningly well-preserved 13th-century stained-glass windows still intact, having miraculously survived World War II. Continue to Presqui’île (literally meaning ‘almost island’), right at the confluence of the two rivers, home to the exquisite squares Place Bellecour and Place des Terreaux.
Choose a spot for some well-earned lunch, perhaps indulging in a spot of a people-watching in one of Lyon’s grand squares. This afternoon you’ll visit Lyon’s Christmas market, located in the Perrache district of the city.
This evening, enjoy some free time and dinner by your own arrangement, perhaps returning to Vieux Lyon or Presqui’île to find a cosy restaurant. After dinner, continue exploring Lyon’s illuminated streets and soaking up the festive atmosphere.
Day Three – Lyon at Leisure
Today you will have the chance to continue exploring Lyon under your own steam. Head out after breakfast with an included public transport day ticket, perhaps to revisit your favourite spots from yesterday’s walking tour, or to somewhere new, like the grand Parc de la Tête d’Or, or the Museum of Fine Arts.
Lunch is by your own arrangement, perhaps at Halles Lyon Paul Bocuse. Let your senses guide you as you wander around this famed market, which is something of a Lyonnaise temple of gastronomy, the air filled with delectable scents and flavours.
Enjoy an afternoon at leisure. You might choose to visit the fascinating Confluence Museum, documenting natural history and anthropology.
On the final night of your festive French break, you may choose to enjoy an optional sightseeing cruise, with included coach transfer to departure point. During the cruise, you’ll get a unique perspective of this enchanting city, lit up in all her festive glory at the peak of the Festival of Lights. If you’ve the energy, take one last stroll around the city after the cruise, before retiring for the evening.