Where to stay in Lyon first time: 7 Best areas & Safe arrondissements

Finding where to stay in Lyon as a first-time visitor can be a headache. That’s why, in today’s article, I will help you to find safe places to stay in Lyon for first-time visitors.

I will share with you what I believe are the best and safe areas to stay in Lyon for first-timers and tourists, along with a helpful map and areas to avoid. I’ll also share where I stayed in Lyon and recommend some of the best hotels for all budgets.

Lyon is the third-largest city in France, after Paris and Marseille. Located at the confluence of the Rhône and Saône rivers, in the central-eastern part of the country, Lyon is known for its rich history, cultural heritage, and gastronomy. 

The historic center of Lyon is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The city is known for its well-preserved Renaissance architecture, traboules (hidden passageways), and impressive landmarks such as the Basilica of Notre-Dame de Fourvière and the Cathedral of Saint-Jean.

Lyon is often considered the gastronomic capital of France. The city is renowned for its traditional bouchons, which are small, traditional restaurants serving local Lyonnaise cuisine. The culinary scene in Lyon is influenced by famous chefs like Paul Bocuse.

Lyon has a historical association with the silk industry. During the 19th century, it was a major center for silk production and weaving, and you can learn about this history in the city’s Silk Museum.

Is Lyon safe to visit?

Yes, Lyon is generally safe to visit. But it’s always a good idea to be aware of pickpockets in crowded places when traveling in any unfamiliar place.

You should avoid walking around the train stations at night, try to travel in a group. Take extra alert in touristy spots and crowded areas like Place des Terreaux, Gare Part Dieu and Guillotiere. With proper precautions, you can enjoy your visit.

Where to stay in Lyon for the first time?

The best and safe areas/arrondissements to stay in Lyon for first-timers and tourists are Presqu’ile (1st arr. & 2nd arr.), Vieux Lyon, Fourvière, Part-Dieu, Brotteaux, and Guillotière. It’s important to be cautious and use common sense wherever you are.

Presqu’ile is the most popular area to stay in Lyon for the first time. This is the heart of Lyon, encompassing the 1st and 2nd arrondissements, located between the Rhône and Saône rivers. Staying here offers easy access to major landmarks, shopping streets, and a vibrant atmosphere.

The historic Old Town is a UNESCO World Heritage site, known for its medieval and Renaissance architecture. This area offers a charming experience with narrow cobblestone streets, traboules (hidden passageways), and a plethora of restaurants serving traditional Lyonnaise cuisine.

Fourvière (5th arr.) offers stunning panoramic views of Lyon. It’s known for the Basilica of Notre-Dame de Fourvière and the Roman theater. While it’s a bit away from the city center, it provides a quieter and more scenic environment.

In addition to the Presqu’ile, and the western bank of the Rhône, you can also consider staying in the districts in the eastern bank of the Rhône including Part-Dieu, Brotteaux, and Guillotière. These areas have some affordable hotels and are very well-connected to the city center. 

During my trip to Lyon, I stayed in the Bayard Bellecour. It was a 3-star budget-friendly hotel in central Presqu’ile. Easy walking distance from the sights, the metro, and the river. My room was safe, quiet, and comfortable. Breakfast was fabulous with many choices.

Below is a map of the popular areas in Lyon for first-time travelers. You can scroll down to view the live map.

Map of the safe areas to stay in Lyon first time
Map of the safe areas to stay in Lyon first time

Let’s get into the details of the recommended areas to stay in Lyon, especially for first-time visitors. I’ll provide you with some suggestions for the best places to stay in each area, catering to every budget. 

All hotels in Lyon have been carefully selected by me from well-known and secure booking sites such as booking.com, with guest review scores of at least 8.0 or higher at the time I chose them. 

If you don’t like my suggestions (perhaps they don’t suit your budget or preferences), you can click the “MORE HOTEL DEALS” button where you can choose your own hotel.

7 Safe areas & arrondissements in Lyon for first-timers and tourists:

1. Presqu’ile (1st arr. & 2nd arr.)

Presqu’ile, which includes the 1st and 2nd arrondissements, is an excellent base for first-timers and tourists who enjoy being in the midst of the action, with easy access to key attractions and amenities. Presqu’ile is a safe area in the heart of Lyon, making it a convenient location for exploring the city.

Presqu’ile is known for its excellent shopping opportunities. Rue de la République, one of the main shopping streets in Lyon, offers a wide range of shops, boutiques, and department stores.

Presqu’ile is home to several cultural attractions, including the Opéra Nouvel, Place des Terreaux, and Place Bellecour. You’ll find museums, theaters, and historical sites within easy reach.

Presqu’ile boasts a vibrant culinary scene with numerous restaurants, cafes, and bistros. It’s a great place to try traditional Lyonnaise cuisine. Additionally, the area comes alive at night with various bars and entertainment options.

Being centrally located, Presqu’ile provides easy access to transportation hubs like Lyon Part-Dieu train station and Perrache train station. This makes it convenient for those arriving by train.

Best places to stay in Lyon in Presqu’ile for first-timers:

Luxury ($$$): InterContinental Lyon – Hotel Dieu, 5-star hotel, centrally located on 2nd arr, close to everything, easy distance from metro stations, major sights, restaurants, and bars. They have delicious breakfast with plenty of choices. There is also a parking, 24-hour front desk, and currency exchange.

Mid-range ($$): Mercure Lyon Centre Beaux-Arts, great 4-star hotel in a prime location in Presqu’ile, close to the metro, shops, museums, and the old town. Easy distance from Bellecour Square and Place de la République. Rooms are good size and have all the necessary amenities.

Apartment ($$): Aparthotel Adagio Lyon Patio Confluence, 4-star accommodation set in a quite vibrant part of the city, easy distance from Sainte-Blandine Tram Stop, Lyon-Perrache Train Station, and Perrache Metro Station. You can find many boulangeries and patisseries nearby. Rooms are spacious with a small kitchenette and comfortable beds.

Budget ($): Hotel Saint Vincent, 3-star hotel located in a quiet convenient location, next to the river and pedestrian footbridge across it to the old town. 10 mins walk to the metro station. Plenty of restaurants and cafes in its surroundings. You can try typical Lyonnais cuisine at the Les Trois Filles Bouchon nearby.


2. Vieux Lyon (5th arr.)

Vieux Lyon, situated in the 5th arrondissement, is a fantastic location for tourists who want to stay in the historic Old Town of the city. This area is located at the foot of Fourvière Hill, on the west bank of the River Rhone, with easy access to the downtown Presqu’ile, the Basilica and Roman Theater.

Vieux Lyon is a UNESCO World Heritage site with well-preserved Renaissance architecture, narrow cobblestone streets, and hidden traboules (passageways). Staying here immerses you in the rich history of the city.

The Old Town is home to significant cultural landmarks, including the Basilica of Notre-Dame de Fourvière, the Cathedral Saint-Jean, and the Museum of Miniatures and Cinema. You’ll be surrounded by centuries-old buildings and landmarks.

Vieux Lyon is renowned for its traditional Lyonnais cuisine. The area is dotted with bouchons, which are traditional restaurants serving regional specialties. It’s an excellent opportunity to indulge in local culinary delights.

The Old Town features a variety of unique and boutique shops. You can explore artisanal stores, antique shops, and craft markets.

Consideration: The streets in Vieux Lyon can be steep, and some areas might have limited accessibility. 

Best places to stay in Vieux Lyon for first-time tourists:

Luxury ($$$): Cour des Loges Lyon, A Radisson Collection Hotel, great 5-star hotel in  the heart of the old town, close to many wine bars and places to eat. Within walking distance from Saint-Jean-Baptiste Cathedral and Basilica of Noter Dame de Fourvière. It has an indoor swimming pool, a Michelin star restaurant, wonderful breakfast, family rooms, and a fitness center.

Mid-range ($$): Appartement Saint Jean, 4-star accommodation in central Old Town of Lyon,  close to all the important areas, easy walk from Gadagne Museum and Saint-Jean Cathedral. You can find lots of delicious restaurants nearby.

Budget ($): Le Jardin Suspendu – Vieux-Lyon, good value for money 3-star sustainable apartment in the old town, between the river and Fourviere, within a short distance from Fourviere Roman Theater, Musée Miniature et Cinéma, and Basilica of Notre-Dame de Fourvière. Take note that there are some stairs to climb if getting to the apartment by foot.


3. Fourvière (5th arr.)

Fourvière, located in the 5th arrondissement, is a great base in Lyon if you appreciate a tranquil environment, historical sites, and stunning views.

Fourvière Hill provides some of the most stunning panoramic views of Lyon. You can enjoy breathtaking vistas of the city and the surrounding landscape, especially from the esplanade in front of the Basilica of Notre-Dame de Fourvière.

The area is home to the Roman Theater of Fourvière, an ancient amphitheater dating back to Roman times. This historical site is worth exploring for those interested in Lyon’s rich history.

In addition to the Basilica and Roman Theater, Fourvière features the Tour Métallique (Metallic Tower) and the Chapel of Saint Thomas. The district is rich in religious and historical landmarks.

The hillside is adorned with greenery and gardens, offering a refreshing escape. Parc des Hauteurs, located near Fourvière, is a lovely park where you can relax and enjoy nature.

Best places to stay in Lyon in Fourvière for first-timers:

Luxury ($$$): Villa Maïa, 5-star accommodation located on Fourvière Hill, 5-10 mins walk from  the old town and Ancient Theater of Fourvière. It partnered with 1 star restaurant Michelin Têtedoi. It has beautiful views over the city, an indoor pool, and valet parking.

Mid-range ($$): Fourvière Hôtel, popular 4-star hotel situated on Fourvière Hill above the Old Town, offering stunning city views. The hotel has soundproofing rooms, an outdoor pool, sun terrace, and excellent breakfast. Great location to see the lights festival. Easy access to the Fourviere funicular, taking you to downtown with many shops and restaurants.

Budget ($): Centre Jean Bosco, good value for money accommodation located in the  5th arr.,  in a beautiful hillside position. It has lovely views of the Roman amphiteatre. Very close to the Basilica of Notre-Dame de Fourvière, 10 mins walk from Vieux Lyon Metro Station. The walk up the hill is steep! 


4. Part-Dieu (3rd arr.)

Part-Dieu, located in the 3rd arrondissement of Lyon, is the central business district and major transportation hub in Lyon, hosting the Part-Dieu train station. It is a great base if you want convenient access to transportation and close proximity to downtown Lyon.

Part-Dieu is generally a safe area to stay as long as you practice normal common sense precautions. Avoid waking along around the stations late at night, take care of your belongings, and beware of your surroundings.

The district is home to the Part-Dieu Mall, one of the largest shopping centers in Europe. If you enjoy shopping, you’ll find a wide range of stores, boutiques, and restaurants in and around the mall.

Part-Dieu features modern architecture and infrastructure, including the iconic Tour Part-Dieu skyscraper. Many offices, corporate headquarters, and business facilities are situated in this area.

Part-Dieu has a diverse range of dining options, from casual cafes to upscale restaurants. You can explore international cuisine as well as local eateries within the district.

Best places to stay in Lyon in Part-Dieu for travelers:

Mid-range ($$): Best Western Hotel du Pont Wilson, 4-star hotel located in the 3rd arr., in the business district of Lyon. It is just opposite the Presqu’ile, near Liberté Tram Stop, 15 mins walk from Part-Dieu Train Station.  

Mid-range ($$): Mercure Lyon Centre – Gare Part Dieu, 4-star hotel near Gare de Part-Dieu TGV Train station, 20 mins  walk from Parc de la Tête d’Or. Convenient place to stay if you are coming/going from the airport. Easy access to The Rhone Express Tramway  for services to Lyon-Saint-Exupéry Airport.  

Budget ($): At home in lyon, 3-star good value for money accommodation, only a few mins walk from Lyon Part-Dieu Train Station, and 20 mins bus/metro ride to Bellecour Square. The hotel has paid airport shuttle service, parking, and 24-hour front desk. It has a well equipped kitchenette, so you can cook.


5. Brotteaux (6th arr.)

Brotteaux, located in the 6th arrondissement, is an upscale residential neighborhood known for its 19th-century architecture and tranquil atmosphere. It’s a good choice if you want a quieter stay while still having access to amenities.

Brotteaux is situated near Parc de la Tête d’Or, one of Europe’s largest urban parks. This expansive green space provides a peaceful escape and offers a variety of outdoor activities.

The district is home to cultural venues such as the Brotteaux Palace and the Salle Rameau. These venues occasionally host events, concerts, and exhibitions, providing opportunities for cultural enrichment.

Brotteaux has good access to public transportation, including tram and bus services. This makes it easy to connect to other parts of Lyon, including the city center and key attractions.

Best places to stay in Lyon in Brotteaux for visitors:

Mid-range ($$): Warwick Reine Astrid – Lyon, great 4-star hotel located in front of Tête d’Or Park, and near the Cité Internationale and Massena metro station. Apartments are spacious and have great amenities. Great location if you want to be near the park.

Mid-range ($$): Okko Hotels Lyon Pont Lafayette, 4-star hotel located in the 6th arr., in front of the Rhône River banks, an easy walk from the Presqu’île, Place des Terreaux and Opéra de Lyon.

Budget ($): Hôtel Edmond W Lyon Part-Dieu, popular lovely 3-star hotel in a quiet area accessible by  Metro A  and Metro B. There are lots of restaurants and bakeries around.


6. Guillotière (7th arr.)

Guillotière, situated in the 7th arrondissement, is one of Lyon’s most multicultural neighborhoods, offering a diverse range of cultures, cuisines, and experiences. This area comes alive at night with numerous bars, clubs, and entertainment venues

Compared to some more central neighborhoods, Guillotière can offer more budget-friendly accommodation options. It’s a suitable choice for travelers looking for affordability.

Like other popular areas in Lyon, Guillotière is fine to book your accommodations. It’s essential to be aware of your surroundings, be cautious in crowded areas, and avoid walking alone at night.

Best places to stay in Lyon in Guillotière for travelers:

Budget ($): MEININGER Hotel Lyon Centre Berthelot, popular hotel, featuring a big family and a group of friends. It has a good location close to the metro, tram, waterfront promenade. 

Mid-range ($$): Mama Shelter Lyon, 3-star hotel located close to the Jean-Macé Metro Station, offering services to Stade de Gerland and Lyon-Part-Dieu Train Station. 20 mins walk to the city center.


7. La Croix-Rousse (4th arr.)

La Croix-Rousse, located in the 4th arrondissement, is a distinctive and historic neighborhood known for its silk-weaving heritage, bohemian atmosphere, and a unique local experience.

La Croix-Rousse has a rich history as the traditional silk workers’ district. The traboules (hidden passageways) and historic architecture reflect the neighborhood’s connection to Lyon’s silk industry. You can also  learn about the history of silk weaving in Lyon at theThe Maison des Canuts.

The daily market at La Croix-Rousse offers a variety of fresh produce, local specialties, and handmade goods. Exploring the market provides a glimpse into the local lifestyle.

La Croix-Rousse is situated on a hill, providing panoramic views of Lyon. The scenic overlooks from the Jardin des Chartreux and the esplanade offer breathtaking perspectives of the city.

The neighborhood is dotted with unique shops, vintage stores, and cozy cafés. It’s a great place to discover one-of-a-kind items and enjoy a leisurely coffee in a relaxed setting.

The slopes of La Croix-Rousse are known as “Les Pentes,” and they are home to a mix of residential buildings, workshops, and cultural spaces. Wandering through the narrow streets is a delightful experience.

Best places to stay in Lyon in La Croix-Rousse:


In conclusion, Presqu’ile (1st arr. & 2nd arr.), Vieux Lyon (5th arr.), Fourvière, Part-Dieu, Brotteaux, and La Croix-Rousse are the best places to stay in Lyon for first-timers and tourists. These are generally safe and convenient areas that offer a variety of accommodations for all budgets.

Regardless of the neighborhood you stay in Lyon, it’s always essential to take standard precautions, take care of your belongings, and be aware of your surroundings to have a safe trip.

You can continue reading other destinations in France in these articles:

There you have it, my recommendations for the most popular and safest neighborhoods that you can stay during your first trip to Lyon. I hope you enjoyed my article and find it both informative and helpful.

If you have any questions or would like to share your thoughts, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment below. Your feedback is invaluable and helps me continue to create more quality content.

About Author: Ocean Cameron

I'm Ocean, founder and main editor of travelhotelexpert.com. I’m a passionate traveler who specializes in uncovering the best hotels and locations in every city, especially for first-timers, all without the need for a car.

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