Say 'Lyon', and in France people reply 'gastronomy'. Famous for its restaurants, the secret of the Lyonnais tradition of fine eating undoubtedly lies in the Italian chefs brought to the city by Catherine de Medici in the 16th century.
Stendhal passing through Lyon in 1837, evoked Lyonnaise cuisine: "I know one thing we do very well in Lyon, the food beautifully, and in my opinion, better than Paris. Vegetables especially are divinely dressed. In London, I learned that we grow twenty to two species of potatoes, in Lyon, I saw twenty to different ways to prepare them, and at least twelve of these ways are unknown in Paris".
Lyon is also famous for its many enchanting historic quarters. The old city is crossed with ancient passageways called Traboules which plunge you into small alleys full of reminders of Lyon's renaissance past.
Lyon is built on two rivers, the Rhône and the Saone. This particular mix of water and beautifully illuminated buildings has led the city in recent times to stage what has become a national landmark in the French annual calendar of festivities : the Fête des Lumières. The whole historic quarter becomes a giant palette of lights in December with its most famous buildings lit up in often amusing and original ways.