If you’re in search of ways to impress your loved one, consider Lyon, and the following romantic spots:
A picnic at Parc de la Tête d’Or
The first stop on any lover’s getaway is the Parc de la Tete d’Or. Though teeming on weekends with a medley of families, couples, and errant rollerbladers, the park is massive enough to counterbalance the crowds. After an appropriately Victorian picnic under a tree, walk your lover over to the Zoo or Botanical Gardens. Although the Gardens offer more privacy, the Zoo is equally delightful and, as the only free zoo in France, well worth a visit.
A stroll through Vieux Lyon
On the other side of town, Vieux Lyon offers a different – though similarly crowded – romantic atmosphere. Stretching under St. John Cathedral, the winding, and conveniently cobble stoned streets, of Vieux Lyon lend themselves perfectly to hand holding. All night long, the endless restaurants and bars of Vieux Lyon fill up with starry-eyed couples curled up over a bottle (or two) of wine. (Avoid the noisier Irish pubs for a more intimate ambiance.)
A visit to Fourvière Theater
From Vieux Lyon, take the Funicular up to the nearby Fourviere Theater – a sprawling roman ruin looming over the city. An ideal picnic spot on sunny afternoons, the Theater also hosts periodic concerts of an impressive array of artists including Coldplay, Vanessa Paradis, and Massive Attack. However, since these tickets can be relatively expensive, take advantage of the quieter moments and spread out on a blanket with your girl or boyfriend. On weekends, the theater is fairly quiet and speckled with random students working on laptops and families exploring the ruins.
Enjoy views of Lyon from Mont d’Or
For a more intimate moment, far from the tourist hordes, take a detour into the 9eme arrondisement of Lyon. The neighborhoods of Mont d’Or are known for their upscale inhabitants and you’re sure to spot the latest BMW and Porche models. Even if you can’t afford the rent up here, the views from this corner of Lyon are free and incredible. The winding roads up to Mont d’Or offer picturesque views and give the sensation of being in the French mountainside (rather than one of it’s largest cities). Stop at the lookout point halfway up the mountain (with one road, its impossible to miss!) Here you’ll find superb views of Lyon (best enjoyed at sunset) – with few crowds, and easy accessibility, the spot is one of the best-kept and most romantic secrets of the city.
Photo of Place Bellecour, Lyon, by timtom.ch