Top Things to do in Lyon with kids
Are you tired of the crowds in some of France’s most popular destinations? Are you looking for a child-friendly way to enjoy the many delights of French culture and gastronomy with your whole family?
#1 Dive into ancient history 📜
A great way to experience Lyon’s ancient roots with your kids is to explore the city’s ancient amphitheaters: the Amphitheater of the Three Gauls and the Odeon of Lyon on Fourvière Hill, Lyon’s birthplace and the center of the ancient Roman city.
You’ll find that this is an incredibly educational visit that sparks the imagination of any young visitor traveling with you. And if you and your family just crave more parts of the ancient world, another great thing to do in Lyon with kids is the Gallo-Roman Museum of Lyon-Fourvière. There, you’ll get to experience artwork, weapons, coins and other artifacts that bring the fascinating ancient world to life. Go ahead and combine your visit to the Gallo-Roman Museum of Lyon-Fourvière and to the Odeon of Lyon because they’re in the same area.
#2 Travel back to the Middle Ages ⚔️ ️
The Middle Ages and the Renaissance are also historical periods that left a mark on this great French city which you can explore with your kids on foot in Vieux Lyon, the city’s old town. This is one of the largest and best-preserved Renaissance districts in modern Europe and a UNESCO heritage site, so be prepared to be gobsmacked!
How about taking the kids on a journey back in time through the Traboules, Lyon’s secret network? Traboules (from the Latin word transambulare meaning “to cross”) are a type of secret covered passageways connected with the city of Lyon, but also located in other French cities. In Lyon, they were originally used by silk manufacturers and other kinds of merchants to transport their products during the 4th century AD.
Keep in mind that medieval Lyon was a little labyrinth and getting in and out of town was a challenge. You and your little ones can get on an adventurous quest to find the Traboules as one of the most fun activities It’s estimated that there are 400 of these passages in Lyon, but around 40 are open to the public. How many can you and your kids find?
#3 Learn about silk weaving 🧶
Visit the Croix Rousse district which is going to take you and your family on yet another trip back in time focusing on the art of silk weaving, this time; plus, you’ll get spectacular city views! La Maison des Canuts is a 19th century building that will guide you through the city’s long history with this art form: from its middle-age origins up to its decline and revival in the 18th century as well as its many weaving techniques developed there.
The kids will particularly enjoy watching real-life silk wavers work. Make it happen in nearby Tissa Mattelon, a silk-weaving atelier where the old production methods and machines are still very much in use.
#4 Enjoy the greenery 🌳
Similarly, to many other French cities, Lyon is famous for its beautiful parks and open spaces. A must-see when traveling to Lyon with kids is the Parc de la Tête d’Or which features a rose garden, a Zoo and a lot of open space for kids to run around,play and have fun on sunny days. Lyon is a family-friendly city and offers you and your family a chance to rent bikes or take a segways tour if you want a more active way to explore the city.
#5 Festival of Lights 🎆
Did you know the art of cinema was born in Lyon? Yes, that’s right, by one of its most celebrated sons: Louis Lumiere. “Lumiere” means literally “light” in French and the city itself is known as “the city of lights”.
Lyon hosts a yearly festival of lights, Fête des Lumières, an event so beautiful and family-friendly that’s been copied by numerous European cities including Barcelona and Berlin! The Festival of Lights is what Lyon is most famous for, it takes place around December and is hugely popular with all of you, families with younger or older children. Its various extravagant light projections will definitely capture your attention and excite your little ones.
#6 Time for food 🍴
Lyon is France’s gastronomical capital. Are you ready for a delicious food adventure? The city’s restaurants are known for adapting their menus based on what is available at the markets; that’s something you can experience with your kids and maybe even teach them about seasonality while having incredibly fun meals by eating locally together.
#7 How to get there ✈️
Getting to Lyon is easy. There’s a high-speed train connection from Paris that takes you there in less than two hours as well as direct train connections from several large European cities including London, Brussels, Geneva and Frankfurt. You can also fly or drive there.
Click here to read the 5 most interesting fun facts about Lyon!