Lyon holidays | Short & City breaks | Travel

Lyon holidays: Best hotels and restaurants - where to stay & where to eat in French city | Short & City breaks | Travel

Hotels Lyon: 3 stars

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Hôtel Silky by HappyCulture




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Hôtel Le Roosevelt




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Mercure Lyon Centre Saxe Lafayette




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Quality Suites Lyon Confluence




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Lyon holidays: With so much culture to lap up in French city, where is best to stay and eat (Image: Getty Images/Villa Maia/Food Traboule)

Pushing through an old wooden door at the side of the street I enter a dark, covered, stone passageway. At the end, I see another door, surrounded by a halo of light and make my way towards it with trepidation. I reach out for the handle, twist, and open.

Narnia-like, I emerge into a different street to the one I left behind. Before me lies a bustling thoroughfare, crammed with tourists and locals alike, the strains of a cellist busker carrying on the wind. There’s no magic at work here though, I’ve passed through just one of the many hundreds of secret covered passageways – or ‘traboules’  – in Lyon.

The first traboules date back to the fourth century; they were used by silk workers in the 19th century and then later by World War II resistance members in the 20th century. In short, these traboules – and indeed, Lyon itself – are steeped in history and just one of the many reasons holidaymakers should head to this sometimes overlooked beautiful city in France.

I’ve come here after a few days skiing with friends in the Alps and normally dislike travelling alone, but in Lyon, I hardly feel the pang of loneliness at all. So, with so much culture to lap up, where is best to stay and eat?

Where to stay in Lyon

To be in the centre of the city but without the freneticism of main roads and crowds, the affordable yet chic four-star Hotel de L’Abbaye in Lyon is an excellent choice. Within walking distance of the famous Place Bellecour, the largest square in Europe, the enchanting boutique hotel, designed in the style of a Neo-Renaissance Florentine palace, is situated right next to the picturesque Romanesque church Basilica of Saint-Martin d’Ainay. I’m staying in one of the hotel’s smaller rooms (there are 21 in total) and my large windows open up onto a fantastic view of the building.

The hotel feels stylish and calm, and nods to its erstwhile historic function as the abbey’s presbytery are in evidence, with a grand spiralling stone staircase forming the core of the building. It appears to be Art Deco in style with a modern twist, decorated by design duo Pierre-Emmanuel Martin and Stephane Garotin from Maison Hand.

My intimate bedroom features dual-tone dark grey and white walls with touches of gold, from the full-length mirror to the showerhead. I’m told this floor is infused with a 1970s flavour, the second floor with Maison Hand’s signature contemporary style and the third floor with a mix and match bric-a-brac feel. L’Occitane products are provided in the bathroom as are robes and slippers.

Meanwhile, the breakfast at Hotel de L’Abbaye receives wide praise on TripAdvisor. Entirely self-serve, the repast serves up fresh bread, tasty granolas, a cooked breakfast station, continental offerings and fresh fruit and juices. Flowers decorate each table which adds a pleasant, rural, homely vibe matched by the easy-listening music in the background. Sunlight floods in as I eat, bouncing off the enormous, curved gold sheet of a lampshade in the middle of the rook. It’s worth noting that breakfast seems to be latecomer-friendly – there is still plenty on offer close to ending time when I stay there.

There’s also a small cosy café overlooking Place d’Ainay which is open throughout the day and serves cakes and similar delicacies. Staff here are very friendly indeed and eager to help with city recommendations and advice

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