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Key facts for hiring a car in Lyon

  • Car hire locations

    There are over 15 car hire locations in Lyon and 13 rental desks at the airport. Not arriving by plane? There’s even more choice at the central train station. The most popular supplier is Europcar, and people usually go for smaller city cars in this location.

  • Most popular months

    July and August

  • Useful lingo

    Diversion – déviation
    Parking gratuit – free parking

  • Time difference

    GMT + 1

  • Currency

    Euro (EUR, €)

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Hire a car in Lyon

With its fascinating history of silk, there is a limitless selection of things to see within Lyon’s borders and beyond.

Lyon might just be city break perfection. The city is world-renowned for its gastronomy, but it’s also located near to some of France’s most prestigious wine regions. France’s third city is already sounding pretty appealing, right?

Two rivers wind through Lyon’s beautiful districts, and there is so much architecture to see. Expect to wake up to open-air markets each morning, and dine on princely feasts by night. Depending on the season, concerts and ice-rinks bring La Place Bellecour – one of the largest open squares in Europe.

Top rated suppliers for Lyon

  • Sixt

    Average Rating 8.2 – “The staff were helpful and efficient, we were able to collect and drop off the car in just a few minutes.”

  • Keddy

    Average Rating 8.1 – “The car drop-off was extremely quick - all the paperwork was already done even before we had unloaded the car. The car was virtually new and in spotless condition. The entire procedure from start to finish was completely hassle-free; very easy!”

  • Dollar

    Average Rating 8.0 – “New car and lots of space in the car for children and gear.”

  • Avis

    Average Rating 7.9 – “We appreciated the friendly and competent staff and were glad to get an upgrade.”

Local knowledge

When to visit

Weather
Lyon has a continental climate; winters are cold, summers are traditionally hot and humid. It does get its fair share of rain, so it’s good to prepare for this, although it tends to be dry during winter. The summer can be prone to thunderstorms.

Festivals
There are many festivals throughout Lyon’s calendar, from Fête de la Musique in June, to the Grand Lyon Film Festival in October. The most spectacular visual feast is Fête des Lumières – millions of people head to the city for this event each December.

Driving tips

The airport is located fairly far from the city centre and aside from renting a car, there is no cheap mode of transport to the centre of Lyon. The main public transport route is a tram network and a return ticket for this will set you back €25! By car, the journey is about half an hour.

Service stations are known as aires – some are very big and even have camping facilities.

Look out for when Black Saturdays occur during the French summer. They are usually around late July / early August and are named after the sheer volume of French holidaymakers driving out of their cities to go on vacation.

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Life in Lyon

Gastronomy

Fill your boots
Many believe Lyon to be the food capital of the world. Lyonnaise cooking might be the most famous comfort food there is. Homely grub is served up all over the city in Bouchons – restaurants known for meat-dominated dishes. If you’re looking for something lighter, try a crisp salad: In Nice it’s Niçoise, in Lyon it’s Lyonnaise.

Something sweet
For afters, treat your taste buds to the joys of the bright coral pralines roses – a 17th century French recipe. These sugar-coated, caramelized almonds are irresistible to look at and just as delightful to eat. Also look out for Coussin de Lyon – chocolate and marzipan treats. Aim to find out the story behind this striking green pillow-shaped confectionery.

Where to road trip

Chaîne des Puys

3 hours west (with tolls)
Impressive chain of cinder cones, lava domes and explosion craters. On a clear day, you can see Mont Blanc from the peaks.

Geneva

1hr 50 mins northeast
Cross over the border into Switzerland to the home of the UN.

Montélimar

1hr 45mins south
World famous for its nougat, and filled with tree-shaded boulevards.

Grenoble

1hr 20mins southeast
Ski capital of the alps with bubble-shaped gondolas.

Life in Lyon

Discover Lyon

Traboules
Seek out some of Lyon’s 400 mysterious secret passageways. Built so that merchants could carry their silk products unscathed to and from market, this unusual part of French history is worth unearthing. Traboules open to the public are marked with a special seal.

Parc de la Tête d'Or
Lyon’s version of Central Park is said to be the largest urban park in Europe. Hours of fun are to be had here – there is even a free zoo inside.

Fête des Lumières
In early December, the city is illuminated by a light show like no other. During religious celebrations, Lyon becomes a kaleidoscope of colour – the streets are decorated with a display of elaborate lanterns and imaginative projections are on buildings and on bodies of water.