Coming to Lyon
Lyon, as a metropol, has many connections with the world. Direct rail routes link it to every major French city, and it also has an international airport.
Flying to France
You can land at the Lyon Saint-Exupéry airport. It is located about a 30-minute Rhône Express shuttle ride away from Lyon Part-Dieu. This shuttle is independent from the TCL, therefore the fare is higher than a metro ticket: a one-way ticket costs €13.20 for under 24s, and €15.90 for over 25s while a round-trip ticket costs €23.30 for under 24s, and €27.50 for over 25s. You can buy your ticket on their website, or at a Rhône Express station, or directly on the train if you couldn’t buy it before.
As Lyon is not serviced by many low-cost carriers, many choose to land in another airport. The most convenient to choose (after Lyon) is Paris Charles de Gaulle, which has its own TGV train station.
Warning: Grenoble airport, despite its relative closeness to Lyon, is totally unconvenient, as it is in the middle of nowhere and the shuttle service is scarce at best.
Many websites can help you look for cheap flights, for instance liligo or skyscanner.
Coming to train
There are two train stations in Lyon: Lyon Perrache and Lyon Part-Dieu. To go to the ENS from Part-Dieu, take the metro B towards Stade de Gerland and alight at Debourg. The entrance to the metro station is right in front of the train station exit (the train station has two exits, the metro station is towards platforms A and B).
From Perrache, take the tram T1 towards Debourg, up to ENS Lyon in order to reach the Monod location, or up to Debourg in order to reach the Descartes location.
You can check the timetables and book your tickets on the SNCF website. There can be discounts if you book early. Britons should note that the Eurostar may be more expensive than a flight. If you land in Paris Charles de Gaulle, the station you’ll be looking for is « AEROPORT CDG 2 TGV ».
Coming by coach
Most international coaches arrive at Perrache station. See above for instructions to go to the ENS from Perrache.
Driving to Lyon
The ENS has a parking lot, accessible from: 9 rue du Vercors, 69007 Lyon (you can look for an itinerary on Google Maps, be careful as there are many one-way streets in the neighbourhood).
However, to access the parking lot, you will need the badge that will be issued to you when you register. Before you have this badge, you will have to arrange with someone to park within the ENS (your buddy,…).
Next to the ENS, also, there is a free parking lot. Still, it is far from recommended to leave a car packed with stuff there with no surveillance for any length of time.
Moving around in Lyon
Lyon has offered an original bike-renting system for several years now, and has since been imitated by many European cities. The idea is quite simple: vélo’v stations are spread across the city, and subscribers can pick up a bike (a vélo’v) in any one of them. The bike can then be returned in any other station. The prices have recently been raised:
– the short-term card valid for 1 day costs €1.50. Then, you may use the system freely up to 30 minutes in a row. The subsequent hour will cost you another €1, and then €2 per extra hour.
– the short-term card valid for 7 days costs €5. Then, you may use the system freely up to 30 minutes in a row. The subsequent hour will cost you another €1, and then €2 per extra hour.
– the long-term card is valid for a year and costs €25, but only €15 for the 14-25 years old. The first 30 minutes of use are then still free, the subsequent hour costs €0.75, and then €1.50 for each extra hour.
– the Técély card, which is necessary for mass transit season tickets, can be loaded with vélo’v subscriptions. There is a €5 fee for the creation of the card, the subscription to vélo’v then costs an extra €5. The advantage of this card (compared to the long-term card) is that you may use your bike for free for up to one hour. Fees for subsequent hours are the same.
Short-term cards can be bought directly in every vélo’v station with a debit card. Long-term card, as well as subscriptions on the Técély card, can be ordered on the TCL website. If you already have a TCL card, then you just have to go to a velo’v point and enter the code you obtained on internet. If you don’t, you’ll either receiver your new velo’v card in your mailbox within 7 days or you can pick it up at a partner point. When you subscribe, a €150 deposit will be required, but it will not be taken from your account. Still, for short-term cards, and depending on the type of your debit card, €150 may be blocked on your account until the end of the validity of your card. The deposit will be cashed should you have taken a vélo’v for over 24 hours and not replaced it.
Using the vélo’v to move around is very pleasant, and usually half an hour is more than enough to go from A to B. If not, there’s always the possibility to put your vélo’v back and pick up another! The other great advantage of the vélo’v is its 24/7 availability, meaning that you won’t be stranded after the last metro has gone.
Still, some problems may arise: stations are at times empty or full (meaning you can’t put your vélo’v back). In the latter situation, you can obtain extra free time to find a station with available spaces. You should also be careful to place your vélo’v back properly (wait for a beep), as the system could think you are still using that bike and cash your deposit after 24 hours.
If you prefer open air bike trips, the Association Sportive offers a MTB loaning service.
Bus, metro, tram
If your calfs are hurting, or simply if it’s raining, there’s also mass transit for you to use. Lyon has 4 metro lines, 5 tramways, many bus lines and a trolleybus. They all run approximatively from 5am to midnight. The ENS is on the metro B line (and thus, has a direct link with the Part-Dieu train station), at Debourg and is on the T1 tramway line (and thus, has a direct link with the Perrache train station) at Debourg or ENS Lyon. Bus line C22 also stop at both ENS Lyon and Debourg, and bus line Zi6 stops at Debourg. Network maps are available here.
One ticket is valid for a trip, even a round-trip, including connections in the entire metro-tram-bus network within one hour. One ticket costs €1.80. Student discounts for under 28s are available for 10-ticket books (€14.30 instead of €16.60).
If you choose not to stay in the residence, a season ticket might be cheaper than individual tickets. Under 28 students will pay a one-off €5 fee to create the card; the season ticket then costs €31 per month. Documents required are listed here.
Ticket-selling machines are available at every tram station and metro station and accept card and cash. Bus drivers only sell individual tickets and only accept cash.
More info (strike details, maps, timetables, …) on the TCL website. Be particularly careful to check this webpage in case of strikes or works on your metro line.
Fares are set by decrees. The exhaustive list of fares is available here. In Lyon, the standard minimum fare is of €5.80. There is a starting fare of €2 and then a per kilometer face ranging, according to the hour, from €0.65 to €1.96. The taxi companies in Lyon are:
– SOS Taxi (24h/24) 0892 69 82 94
– Allo Taxi 04 78 28 23 23
– Taxi Lyonnais 04 78 26 81 81
– Taxi Aéroport 04 72 22 70 90