Laid-back Lyon (pop. 1,200,000), usually a stopping point between the north and south, elicits cries of forget Paris from weary backpackers. Culinary capital, former center of the silk trade and French Resistance, and ultramodern city, Lyon is friendlier than that other French metropolis. It also has a few more centuries of history, having been a major crossroads since Augustus ordered the construction of roads connecting the provincial capital of Gaul to Italy. Vieux Lyon recalls the city’s wealthy past with ornate 16th-century townhouses. This city is also a stomping ground for world-renowned chefs and an incubator for new culinary genius. If the way to your heart is through your stomach, Lyon will have you at bon apetit.
Flights: Aeroport Lyon-Saint-Exupery (LYS; 04 72 22 72 21), 25km east of Lyon. 50 daily flights to Paris. The TGV stops at the airport, and is cheaper than flying. Sato-busesNavette Aeroport (04 72 68 72 17) shuttle passengers to Gare de Perrache, Gare de la Part-Dieu, and subway stops Jean Mace, Grange-Blanche, and Mermoz Pinel (every 20min. ‚8.20). Air France is at 17 r. Victor Hugo, 2£me (04 20 82 08 20).
Trains: Trains passing through Lyon stop only at Gare de la Part-Dieu, bd. Marius Vivier-Merle (M: Part-Dieu), in the business district on the east bank of the Rhone. Trains terminating at Lyon also stop at Gare de Perrache, pl. Carnot (M: Perrache). TGV trains to Paris stop at both. SNCF info and reservation desk at Part-Dieu open M-F 9am-7pm, Sa 9am-6:30pm; Perrache open M-Sa 9am-7pm.To: Dijon (2hr. 6 per day, ‚21); Geneva, Switzerland (2hr. 13 per day, ‚19); Grenoble (lhr. 21 per day, ‚18); Marseilles (3hr. 17 per day, ‚39); Nice (6hr. 12 per day, ‚48); Paris (2hr. 26 TGVs per day, ‚54-68); and Strasbourg (52hr. 9 per day, ‚39).
Buses: On the lowest level of the Gare de Perrache, at the train station, and at Gorge de Loup in the 96me (04 72 61 72 61 for all three). Perrache station open daily 5am-12:30am. Domestic companies include Philibert (04 78 98 56 00) and Transport Verney ( 04 78 70 21 01), but it’s almost always cheaper, faster, and simpler to take the train. Eurolines (04 72 56 95 30; fax 04 72 41 72 43) travels out of France.
Local Transportation: TCL (04 78 71 70 00), has info offices at both train stations and major Metro stops. Pocket maps are available from the tourist office or any TCL branch. Tickets are valid for all methods of mass transport, including the M6tro, buses, funiculars, and trams, lhr. single-fare ticket ‚1.40; carnet of 10 ‚11, students ‚9. The Ticket Liberty day pass (‚3.80) allows unlimited use of all mass transit for the day. The efficient Metro runs 5am-midnight. Buses run 5am-9pm (a few until midnight).