July 25, 2024

Bordeaux is thought world wide for its wines, whereas Lyon is legendary for its meals and little eating places. So whereas there are many variations between the 2 French cities, they definitely have culinary delights in frequent. Personally, I really like each cities very a lot. Having lived in Paris, it was straightforward for me to hop on the quick TGV trains, reaching Bordeaux in simply over 2 hours, and Lyon in slightly below 2 hours. Every metropolis provides a singular vacation spot, very particular person and particular, and so French.

Consuming and consuming after a day’s value of sightseeing could be very a lot a fundamental a part of the itinerary when visiting both metropolis, with each providing nice wines from their surrounding countryside and conventional delicacies. In Bordeaux, the emphasis is extra on wine tasting, whereas in Lyon, the native delicacies served within the well-known bouchons is a must-try.

As a primary indication of how the cities differ, perhaps I can say that Bordeaux is a grander and chicer metropolis, the place you’d carry your designer bag whereas strolling alongside the huge boulevards while you go to Lyon, you’d don your most comfy footwear, and go and play conceal and search within the warren of lanes, hills, and most significantly, within the traboules, the hidden connections between streets and homes on the hills of town.

Lyon vs Bordeaux – 7 Key Variations To Contemplate Earlier than You Go to


Bordeaux Is Nearer To The Atlantic Coast

Bordeaux lies on the Garonne River in France’s southwestern Nouvelle-Aquitaine area, near the Atlantic Coast. Surrounded by wine nation, town itself shouldn’t be not like a smaller model of Paris, with stunning sandstone buildings, and limitless walks alongside the huge river. Bordeaux’s structure is a harmonious mix of historic and up to date kinds. Town showcases elegant 18th-century neoclassical buildings alongside fashionable buildings like La Cité du Vin. Famend for its UNESCO-listed city ensemble, Bordeaux’s structure is a charming mixture of grand châteaux, huge boulevards, and picturesque riverside facades.

Lyon Is Close to The Alps

Lyon, on the different finish of France, within the south-eastern Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes area, is inside straightforward attain of each the Alps in addition to the Mediterranean Coast, plus after all, Provence. Very hilly, Lyon is a warren of steep climbs — with funicular trains serving to you stand up them — and has not just one river however two: The Rhone and the Saone, which merge proper within the coronary heart of town.

Lyon, France


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Dimension And Getting Round

Bordeaux Is Simpler To Maneuver

Each cities are completely straightforward to discover on foot, with most sights in shut proximity to the previous facilities. Bordeaux had, in 2022, just under a million inhabitants. Many of the metropolis is definitely walkable. There’s a good and in depth public transport community taking you from the Bordeaux St. Jean practice station, at which you’d arrive by practice from Paris to the previous middle, or you possibly can stroll because it’s solely half a mile.

Lyon Sprawls Additional

Lyon accommodates a formidable 1.8 million individuals, with a good few utilizing Lyon as a commuter base for Paris. To succeed in Lyon, you head to the primary Lyon Half Dieu station when coming from Paris and have a simple 20 stroll into the middle. Watch out when shopping for tickets as a result of there may be additionally the Lyon Saint Exupery TGV station. I’m actually not too certain why you’d go to Saint Exupery, because it lies a lot farther from the middle, with the tram into the Centre Ville taking round 40 minutes, however individuals do, so don’t purchase the unsuitable ticket.

Whereas the middle shouldn’t be large, it’s steep in locations, so that you may wish to take the little, shiny crimson funiculars up the hills. It’s a lot simpler to journey up and stroll down.

A summer day in Bordeaux, France

A summer time day in Bordeaux

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The Climate

Bordeaux Has Coastal Influences

Whereas Bordeaux enjoys a temperate local weather influenced by the close by Atlantic Ocean — which makes for heat summers with highs within the 80s Fahrenheit and gentle winters with lows within the 40s — it may possibly get colder. I visited as soon as in December and driving out of Bordeaux one morning, the vines within the vineyards have been frosted over, with a cold fog hanging over the fields; it was stunning.

Lyon Will get Alpine Climate

Lyon, however, has climate influenced by the close by Alps, making for comparable temperatures in summer time, however winter can get a little bit colder, with temperatures within the 30s Fahrenheit. The very best instances to go to each cities are spring and autumn — except you wish to pop to the Atlantic or the Mediterranean Coasts for a seaside keep, through which case, summer time is clearly greatest. In Lyon, December is the time for the Mild Competition, which is gorgeous, and ideas Lyon a little bit towards a winter go to.

A traboule in the historic center of Lyon

A traboule within the historic middle of Lyon

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Points of interest

Bordeaux Has A Extra Compact Heart

Each cities have loads of historical past and previous metropolis facilities that supply gorgeous sights, museums, and pedestrianized streets the place individuals can cease, store, and have espresso. Bordeaux’s must-see sights embody the Grosse Cloche, the stunning medieval clock tower, and the Porte Cailhau, one of many historic metropolis gates. The Rue Sainte Catherine is nice for buying and is reportedly Europe’s longest buying avenue. Talking of buying: Twice a 12 months, often in spring and winter, there’s a great vintage market held on the grand Place de Quinconces. That one is effectively value planning your journey round.

Probably the greatest issues to do in summer time is play within the fountains in entrance of the Place de la Bourse. The Miroir d’Eau, or water mirror, is often a sedate sheet of water providing unbelievable reflections for photographers, however in summer time the fountains supply an effective way to chill down, or, if you’re too shy, then at the least watch different individuals getting a very good soaking.

Lyon Has Three Facilities That Want Exploring

Lyon has a lot historical past, together with two Roman amphitheaters, the 2 historic quarters on the hills, Fourvière and Croix Rouge, and the stately Fourviere Basilica. In between the 2 rivers, you’ve the peninsula Presqu-Ile, “practically island,” with the good confluence area, the place the 2 rivers meet, and a buying quarter that’s similar to Paris, with grand boulevards, grand squares, and many outlets, cafes, and eating places.

Lyon’s traboules are an totally distinctive and great attraction within the metropolis. Each historic hills on both facet of the rivers are riddled with passages, stairwells, and hidden doorways that join homes, lanes, and former residences with the river. You may get maps of the varied traboules — these that are open to the general public — from the Tourism Data Facilities, and even obtain an app that exhibits you the best way.

The interior of a bouchon in Lyon

The inside of a bouchon in Lyon

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Eat, Drink, And Be Merry

In Bordeaux, It’s All About The Wine

Bordeaux has the wine, wine bars, the Wine Museum and Competition, and a few iconic native treats, such because the canelé, a small rum and vanilla-soaked pastry that’s crisp on the surface and gentle within the center and goes completely with freshly brewed espresso. And whereas Bordeaux definitely has loads of good eating places and native delicacies, there isn’t a doubt that you don’t come to Bordeaux for the meals, however for the wine.

In Lyon, It’s All About The Meals

Lyon, however, is foodie heaven, with the Lyonnaise delicacies well-known, with even among the greatest eating places in Paris being proudly Lyonnaise. However it’s the bouchons, tiny little eating places serving conventional, hearty delicacies, that make Lyon such an important place to eat till you drop. That it was additionally the bottom of Paul Bocuse, French chef extraordinaire, is simply by the by. Head out on a Gastronomy & Bouchon Tour with a neighborhood information to listen to extra.

A beach on Cap Ferret near Bordeaux

A seaside on Cap Ferret close to Bordeaux

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Day Journeys

Bordeaux’s Sights Largely Lie On Its Doorstep

In Bordeaux, you actually must journey exterior to get pleasure from all of the vineyards. The very best place to go to is quaint Saint-Emilion, which in itself is a beautiful place, and on the best way there you possibly can cease off at just a few vineyards. Essentially the most gratifying method is by a bespoke tour that caters to your likes and pursuits. One other day journey from Bordeaux must be to Arcachon on the coast, a spot for oysters and the attractive seaside. Take a ferry throughout to Cap Ferret, one of the crucial serene seaside locations in France.

Lyon Has A Selection Of Non-obligatory Excursions

In Lyon, you possibly can pattern the foodie delights proper within the historic facilities; that mentioned, the Alps are inside touching distance, and with it some stunning Alpine cities. A must-see is Annecy which headed the TravelAwaits Better of Journey Awards for Finest Worldwide Small Cities. There may be additionally Vienne on the Rhone River, to not be confused with Vienna in Austria. Vienne was a significant Roman metropolis of the day and is studded with superb ruins.

A bouchon in Lyon, France

A bouchon in Lyon

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Folks and the Ambiance

Bordeaux Is Weighty With Class

Each cities are enticing, architecturally interesting, and crammed with new vitality. Bordeaux feels bourgeois and opulent, and the persons are fairly conventional and will be seen as distant. That mentioned, the attitudes have advanced dramatically and outsiders usually are not unwelcome. 

Lyon Is Stuffed With Mediterranean Appeal

Lyon, is way more various and fashionable, as you’d count on from the larger metropolis. The individuals in Lyon are a bit extra laid-back, accessible, and open-minded, however the conventional previous households in Lyon nonetheless give the impression of snobbishness. 


Keep Near the Outdated City in Bordeaux

The very best space to remain is Bordeaux’s middle space which is near the favored vacationer sights, buying areas, quite a few lodges, and energetic nightlife. With a broad vary of lodges, bars, and eating places, the Gare Saint-Jean space is a less expensive, however equally handy location inside straightforward strolling distance of the previous city. 

Keep in One among Lyon’s Distinctive Neighborhoods

As for lodging in Lyon, probably the most handy base for visiting varied elements of town on foot is Presqu’ile, the central space between the 2 rivers. It additionally hosts the vacationer info middle. Different choices embody the hills of Lyon in Fourvière, the place lodges have historic connections and overlook the Lyon Outdated City. 


So, which metropolis wins? Each are simply accessible from Paris by practice, each are nice locations filled with surroundings and historical past. One is nearer to the ocean, the opposite nearer to the mountains, one is ideal for wine fanatics, the opposite for foodies — and wine fanatics. Bordeaux will be mixed with a seaside trip, whereas Lyon can simply be a part of a keep in Provence, within the Alps, or certainly on the Mediterranean.

As I discussed, I really like each. However, if pushed, in the event you actually solely have time to see one metropolis exterior of Paris, then I might select… drumroll… Lyon. Why, I’m not too certain, however the steep hills (keep in mind, you possibly can take the funicular) dotted with the key passages, the tiny little eating places, the nice meals, the unimaginable murals on the facet of buildings, and the 2 rivers are exhausting to beat.


Is Bordeaux Larger Than Lyon?

No, Lyon is the larger of the 2 cities. It has twice as many individuals as Bordeaux and is France’s third-largest metropolis. Lyon can also be a bit costlier since it’s a larger and extra enticing metropolis than Bordeaux. 

Why Go to Lyon, France?

Lyon is named the culinary capital of France and the meals is superb in its many eating places. Plus, previous Lyon has an unimaginable depth of historical past with loads of fascinating museums within the previous city, Roman ruins, and unbelievable public artwork.

Why Go to Bordeaux, France?

Bordeaux has been topped the World Capital of Wine for its unimaginable Bordeaux wines. From charming streets within the previous city lined up with wine bars to limitless seashores alongside the Atlantic Ocean, Bordeaux makes for a enjoyable place to go to for {couples}. 

Which Has Higher Public Transportation, Bordeaux or Lyon?

The Lyon Metropolis Card covers most if not all public transportation. In contrast to Lyon, Bordeaux doesn’t have an equal card however the trams will cheaply get you anyplace within the metropolis middle. TGV high-speed practice will get you quickest to each cities from Paris.

Bordeaux vs Lyon: Which Metropolis Provides Higher Day Journeys?

Each cities supply wonderful day journeys. From Bordeaux, you possibly can go to the well-known wine nation for some wine tasting and the gorgeous Atlantic coast, whereas Lyon is barely two hours from the French Alps and three hours from the Mediterranean Sea.