Discovering the Lyonnais begins with admiring its flamboyant capital. Lyon is brimming with treasures and renowned for its prestigious buildings. The historic city centre, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, boasts some remarkable architecture. As well as this gem, you have the Fourvière hill and its basilica, and the Presqu'île district, between the Rhône and the Saône. The many museums will fascinate enquiring minds with a thirst for knowledge. These visitors will enjoy a look at the Museum of Fine Arts, whose collections offer a journey to other times and places; the Confluence Museum, which explores the meaning of life; or the unusual Museum of Fabrics and Decorative Arts.
There are also many good reasons to visit Saint-Étienne, a City of Art and History offering heritage and culture, in particular its famous Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art. If you are keen to broaden your knowledge, you can discover the Gallo-Roman ruins of an ancient Vienne district at the archaeological site of Saint-Romain-en-Gal, on the banks of the Rhône. History-lovers will be interested in Couzan Castle, a medieval fortress, and Bastie-d'Urfé Castle, a superb Renaissance edifice.
On your travels, you can admire characterful villages such as Pommiers, Saint-Haon-le-Châtel, Saint-Maurice-sur-Loire, Sainte-Croix-en-Jarez, and Charlieu with its Benedictine abbey, which punctuate the multi-faceted landscapes of this colourful region.
Nature also has a great deal to offer. In the Pilat Regional Nature Park, walkers will be captivated by the spectacle of the vineyards, pine forests and green meadows, or at 1,432 metres above sea level, by the views from the top of the Pilat massif. The Land of Golden Stones, in Beaujolais, has 39 villages including Oingt and Bagnols, among its many gems. The Loire Gorges site is another popular tourist destination, dotted with typical villages and medieval castles. Its star attraction is Lake Grangent, an impressive 28 kilometres long.
When it comes to gastronomy, the region's reputation precedes it, thanks to Lyon's famous bouchons (restaurants serving local specialities). They offer typical dishes such as sausages, salad Lyonnaise, quenelles and cervelle de canut (a kind of cheese spread), all washed down with a glass of Côtes du Rhône or Beaujolais.