The ENS is conveniently located less than half an hour by subway from the major city centers so there is no doubt that you will be able to enjoy the best of Lyon when you’re living in Gerland. Whether you’re more into a fun night out with friends, cultural events, terrific concerts or a classy time downtown, you’ll always find something – just follow our tips. And if this is not enough for you, check out the petit paumé.
Just chilling with friends…
Because taking a break is also important, here are some ideas to have a relaxing time:
The Gerland Park
This is one of the most convenient spots, since it’s only a ten-minute walk south from the school. Nice place to hang out, especially since it’s located along the banks of the Rhône; and you’ll probably enjoy the way it’s lighted up at night, with the theme of a “chromatic garden.” Fun fact: for those of you seeking a little more adrenaline, there’s a skating park; and for the thirsty ones among you, there’s also a bar… More info on the official website.
The parc de la tête d’or
NYC has Central Park, but we’re ready to bet the Parc de la Tête d’Or is even better. Want to know why? Easy: it’s the only park in Europe to have a free zoo; it also has a rose garden with more than 350 types of roses and a 40-acre lake. The “arborican” plain is a faithful reconstitution of the African savannah, with among other attractions giraffes and elephants. It’s located at the north of Lyon, and considered to be one of the biggest and most beautiful city parks in France. What’s there not to like?
The Fourvière hill
Perfect for a little trip back in time: you go from the quaint charm of Vieux Lyon houses to the Roman amphitheaters where the famous Fourvière nights take place in summer and finally end up next the basilica Notre-Dame de Fourvière, with a jaw-dropping view of Lyon. More info here.
The Rhône banks
Open since 2007, the Rhône banks have numerous highlights : a bicycle trail that will get you to Bellecour in 15 minutes from the ENS ; many green ways ; spaces for pétanque, beach volley, and even – yes, this is a real thing – for bodybuilding. At night, the lighting is particularly well done. And all along the quays, that’s where you’ll find the Lyon péniches More info here.
Having fun and getting to know more about a culture are not at all mutually exclusive in Lyon…
Since “you don’t inherit culture, you must conquer it” (André Malraux, French writer), here are some tips to conquer Lyon culture in all its diversity:
The Lyon Opera
Let us introduce as the city’s cultural heavyweight: the Lyon Opera! Its architecture reflects very well the events programmed there: you’ll find classics as well as contemporary creations in every field represented, be it opera, dance, or concerts. But that’s not all: the opera also has a peristyle, the front arch where jazz concerts take place during the whole summer, with a bar set up just for the occasion; and the amphitheater (that also has a bar!) where concerts are given all year in a hushed atmosphere. Official website.
The Célestins theater
This is “an Italian-styled theater that blends in tradition and modernity,” where everyone can appreciate the work of great playwrights at very affordable prices. Official website.
The Museum of Fine Arts
Lyon is definitely a worthy rival of Paris in terms of the music scene; this is less the case with museums but the Museum of Fine Arts nevertheless has interesting works in its collections, especially in the antiquity field. Official website.
The Lyon Historical Center on the Resistance and Deportation
This museum is very well thought out, with regular screenings of movies about the French resistance during WW2, a permanent collection that offers an in-depth look on the topic, and a temporary exhibition. The place itself will bring you immediately back into an era that is fortunately over now. Official website.
The Contemporary Art Museum
If art isn’t really your thing, visiting museums of contemporary art is usually an off-putting experience. The Contemporary Art Museum here in Lyon is usually an exception to the rule, as many of its exhibitions reveal new passionate artists and interesting works that are full of life and speak to us. Official website.
And don’t forget…
Of course this list is only a fraction of everything that you can do in Lyon : don’t hesitate to check out as well the Maison de la Danse (dance shows), the Villeurbane TNP (theater), the National Orchestra of Lyon, the Lumière Institute (with a museum about the origins of cinema and a yearly award ceremony), etc.