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How To Reach Lyon
Situated in the east-central part of France, at the meeting point of the rivers Rhone and Saone, Lyon is considered to be the most important tourist destination in the country after Paris. Its strategically significant location also puts it on the road and rail routes between important cities like Paris and southern France, Paris and Italy, and Spain and other European cities. It wasn’t too long ago that Lyon was considered nothing more than a dull and drab city whose only claim to fame was the culinary genius, Paul Bocuse. With a steep rise in commercial and artistic development, Lyon witnessed a rise in its economic drive as well; owing all its success to the growing tourist community whose numbers have been on a steady rise. Whether you’re on a multi-city France tour or out for a simple weekend getaway, here is what you need to know about some of the most convenient ways to reach Lyon.
The Saint-Exupery Airport in Lyon is the international airport in the city that connects it to most other locations around Europe and the rest of the world. Travelling from India requires connecting flights with one or two stopovers in places like Moscow, Paris, Dubai, Frankfurt etc. since there are no direct flights between the two regions yet. From the airport, the Rhonexpress tramway is the best way to reach Lyon city centre. There are also new shared shuttles operating to and from the airport, which began operations in 2019. A much cheaper option is to catch a bus from the airport to the La Verpilliere railway station and then catch another regional train from here to either Part Dieu, Jean-Mace or Perrache railway station.
Travellers can also fly to Geneva Airport using low-cost airlines and then catch a train from the airport to Geneva’s main railway station Cornavin. From Cornavin, direct trains run to Lyon; the entire journey takes about 2.5 hours.
Another option is to fly into Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris and then catch a high-speed TGV train directly to Lyon Part Dieu Station. Indian travellers often choose to go down this route since it is faster, cheaper and more convenient.
If you are travelling to Lyon from any part of France, trains are usually the most convenient way to reach the city. There are three main railway stations serving local and national regions in Lyon – Perrache, Part Dieu and Saint-Exupery railway station. Smaller stations like Saint-Paul, Vaise, Jean-Mace, Venissieux and Gorge de Loup serve regional and suburban locations.
While bus services are regularly available to and from the Perrache station, some travellers might also be tempted by the idea of driving down the scenic French roads to reach Lyon. Direct routes make it easy and convenient to simply rent a car and drive down the highway; take A6 if coming in from Paris in the north; A7 from Nice, Spain, Marseille or Italy in the south; A43 from northern Italy or from the Alps in the east; A47 from western France; and A42 from north-eastern regions like Germany and Geneva.
Lyon’s city centre isn’t very big and can be explored mostly on foot. Additionally, metros serve a lot of key locations and are an efficient way to go about the city. All metro stations are generally within 10 minutes of walking distance apart. Apart from metros, there are also tram lines that can be used to reach the suburban regions of Lyon.
There are also more than 100 bus lines, which are one of the cheapest and most convenient ways to explore Lyon. The electric buses, also known as trolley buses, are common here as well. Lyon is one of the very few French cities remaining that still uses these buses.