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With a rich sense of history and compelling architecture, Lyon is undoubtedly a must-see stop during your tour of France. The city is strategically located between Paris and Marseilles and has plenty to offer visitors of all stripes regardless of whether you want to walk its centuries-old streets, tour its most impressive buildings or enjoy its iconic light festival in December. Whatever you choose to do, however, there are a few destinations in particular that cannot be missed.
Explore Vieux Lyon
France is home to seemingly countless historic districts, but Vieux Lyon may be the best. The oldest section of the city, Vieux Lyon has an atmosphere unlike any other place in the country. Walking through the narrow streets is like stepping back in time. Among its highlights is Rue du Bœuf, a cobblestone pedestrian street that has a long list of impressive architecture. You should also make a point to stop in one of the many cafes and restaurants strewn throughout Vieux Lyon and truly get a sense of the region's historical charm.
Relax in the park
Lyon has much more to offer than historical highlights - it is also home to a number of calming urban parks. A good place to start is at Parc de la Tête d'Or - Park of the Golden Head - which covers more than 290 acres. A stroll through the grounds and you'll quickly forget that you're in the middle of a bustling city. You can check out the park's floral garden, zoo and lake or simply admire the beautiful natural scenery.
Tour the museums
Art and France go hand in hand, so it should come as no surprise that Lyon is home to some of the most popular museums in the country, and the best one is certainly the Museum of Fine Arts of Lyon. Located in a former Benedictine covenant, this cultural institution has been a staple of the city for more than 200 years. The museum houses paintings ranging from the 16th century through the 1900s, and features works from famous artists including Cezanne, Van Gogh, Monet, El Greco and Picasso, just to name a few. Even if you're only a casual art fan, you'll surely walk out of the museum impressed.
Look down in wonder at Buckingham Palace, the Palace of Westminster and St Paul’s Cathedral from your glass-walled pod on the London Eye, then gaze out over the Louvre and the Champs-Elysees from the top of the Eiffel Tower.
The scent of rich pine forests lingers in the breeze as the 13th-century ruins of Turaida Castle are revealed before your eyes in the lush Gauja River valley in a medieval sanctuary untouched by the march of time.
The aroma of dark roasted Viennese coffee hangs thick in the air as you tread the cobblestone laneways and bask in the elegant architecture, atmospheric cafes and refined restaurants in one of the most beautiful cities in Eastern Europe.
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