The Fourvière neighborhood located up the hill from Vieux Lyon is a great place to wander and take in beautiful views. There’s a funicular from the Vieux Lyon metro station, or you can climb the 150-meter route on foot. Your reward is the Fourvière Basilica, a massive, 19th-Century, white marble church, whose eclectic design combines antique, classical, gothic, and Byzantine influences. Next door is a panoramic viewpoint, from which on a clear day you can see straight to Mont Blanc on the Italian border. One your way back down, take one of the routes that lead to the ancient Roman theatres, which date back to the ancient Roman city of Lugdunum. It’s remarkable to enter the amphitheatres and imagine the circus shows, gladiator battles, and dramas that the ancient residents would have watched here. Next door is the Gallo-Roman Museum, which does a good job of interpreting the history of the era.
A short hop by train or car from Lyon, at the foot of the mountains in the Alps Rhône-Alpes region where the Drac River joins the Isère the "Capital of the Alps" has a history of over 2,000 years. A recent high-point was the Tenth Olympic Winter Games, held here in 1968.
Skiing is a popular area pastime and the Grenoble Museum is a city museum of Fine Arts and antiques on the left bank of the Isère, place Lavalette, known for collections of ancient art as well as modern and contemporary art. The Vues d’en Face Festival International du Film Gay et Lesbien de Grenoble is an annual LGBT film festival, with screenings at Cinéma le Club, (9 rue du Phalanstère). See the tourist website link below for more attractions.
Le Cassini Hotel (38142 Le Freney d'Oisans; 33-4-7680-0410) is the new gay ski hotel and restaurtant located between Les Deux Alpes and Alpe d'Huez. They have ten rooms, en-suite with bath or shower; breakfast buffets, four courses dinners, and bar.
Hôtel de l’Europe (22 place Grenette; 33-4-7646-1694), the oldest hotel in Grenoble, fully restored 17th century building in the central square, right across from the gay film festival, with free WiFi.
The Lumière brothers pioneered cinema in Lyon in the 1890s with the invention of the Cinematograph, a compact unit combining the functions of camera, copier and projector in one appliance, making life much easier for traveling operators.
The Musée Lumière, originally Auguste Lumiere's house, displays many of their first inventions along with other early cinematic and photographic artifacts. The Institut Lumière, in the heart of Monplaisir includes The Hanger where the brothers shot their first film "Sortie d'Usine," in 1895. A reproduction of the photorama is here; Louis Lumière’s huge invention of 1901 to project photographs onto a 6-meter high 360° panorama surrounding an audience.
The Lumière Festival takes place in October each year, bringing films, artists, special guests and audiences to movie theaters in Lyon, with awards ceromonies and tributes to filmakers' works and careers. See the website for previous years and upcoming events.
The Opera House has been a fixture in Lyon since 1826, but it’s the 1993 redesign that has made it world-famous – both for its iconic glass top and its massive cost overruns. Even if you’re not an opera fan, it’s worth seeing a show here just to explore this lovely building.
Across the street is the beautiful 17th-century Hôtel de Ville (City Hall), which is notable for its sumptuous facade complete with monumental sculptural elements. Unfortunately, the interior is not open to the public.
Lyon’s position at the confluence of the Saône and Rhône Rivers gives it miles of beautiful waterfront areas to play in. Boat trips along the Saône are a great way to see the old part of the city from a different point of view. Night trips on Fridays and Saturdays are a real treat, as you can enjoy the beautiful old buildings by spectacular floodlighting. The Rhône River banks were more industrial and less scenic until recently, when the land along the river was transformed from a parking lot to a public park. The right bank is now a wonderful place to stroll along a beautiful promenade with lush landscapes and great views.
The spectacular gothic cathedral built between 1180 and 1480 is the star of Lyon’s old city – a neighborhood whose Renaissance roots remain largely intact. St Jean is worth seeing for its fantastic 14th-Century astronomical clock and its beautiful stained glass rose window. Check it out during the daily ringing of the bells, one the hour from noon to 4pm. The archaeological garden next to the cathedral has remains dating back to the 4th century of religious buildings that stood on the site before the cathedral was built.
Some of Lyon’s unique architectural features are the traboules, which are little corridors that link two streets through a building and often a central courtyard. The traboules are usually beautifully designed with Italian-inspired architectural elements and lovely gardens. While they are actually private property, most of them are accessible to the public (but do be respectful of the fact that people do live in the surrounding buildings). Some of the best accessible traboules are between Quai Romain Rolland and Rue St Jean, and between Rue St Jean and Rue du Boeuf.