Impromptu weekend in Lyon

At the beginning of autumn, I suddenly felt like spending a weekend in Lyon. A city that I have often only passed through on business trips that I wanted to take the time to get to know a little better.

Well, of course I had a little idea in mind: Trenitalia has recently launched a Paris-Lyon-Milan line and I was curious to compare the service provided with our good old SNCF.

That’s how I organized a last minute weekend in Lyon.


For once, no plane!

As said in preamble I wanted to test the Frecciarossa (red arrow) of Trenitalia. The carrier offers 3 classes of travel: Standard, Business and Executive, the first two being available in two different atmospheres. Slienzio for those who want to travel in peace and Allegro for those who want to socialize.

I will choose the Executive class for the outbound trip.

In order to make a fair assessment I will take SNCF with a TGV inOui in Business Première on the way back in order to compare the best service of each carrier knowing, moreover, that the SNCF has significantly improved its service on the Paris-Lyon line in this class of travel in order to face the Italian competition.

And without wanting to spoil the end of the story, I will say that the SNCF once again managed to surprise me by its capacity to disappoint me. When you think they are at the bottom of the hole they still manage to dig. Maybe one day they will find oil.


In Lyon I will stay at the Marriott Lyon Cité Internationale. Not the choice of passion but of reason: I was still missing nights to renew my Titatinum status at Marriott. The hotel has already been reviewed twice by Olivier, this will be a third time.


That was more complicated. Lyon is, in my opinion, the capital of French gastronomy and is full of excellent restaurants. The problem is that it is known and that finding a table at the last minute is not easy.

My idea was to try a starred restaurant and a second table more simple and creative.

For the starred restaurant, it is impossible to find a table two weeks in advance in any starred restaurant in the city. A few days before my departure, a table became available at Jérémy Galvan’s and I rushed to make a reservation. A few hours later an email informs me that they are unfortunately unable to honor the reservation.

Well, let’s not take people for idiots. A table became available and they preferred to take a table for two rather than a table for one and this echoes complaints I hear more and more around me about restaurants refusing or making it more complicated for single people to make reservations. Personally I find it detestable. Anyway.

For lack of anything better, I will choose to fall back on a local institution: Léon de Lyon.

For the second part of the challenge it will be simpler and my “simple and creative” restaurant will be Substrat.


Here there will be a double challenge: to see most of Lyon in one day and with a leg that still bothers me a lot in my movements even if since my return from Australia my physiotherapist tries to do miracles.

Mission accomplished but at the price of pains which will make me say that my itinerary was the good one but that it would have been better to do it on two days.

No big deal, it just made me want to return more often.

The itinerary of the stay

This gives us in the end :

1IntroductionPreparing a last minute weekend in Lyon
2TrainParis-Lyon, Trenitalia Frecciarossa, Executive Class
3HotelMarriott Lyon Cité internationale
4RestaurantLéon de Lyon
6DiaryThe essential of Lyon in one day
7TrainLyon-Paris, SNCF, TGV inOui Business Première

Bertrand Duperrin
Bertrand Duperrin
Compulsive traveler, present in the French #avgeek community since the late 2000s and passionate about (long) travel since his youth, Bertrand Duperrin co-founded Travel Guys with Olivier Delestre in March 2015.

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