When staying in Lyon itself, you'll have a number of options. This is the third-largest city in France, and each of the neighbourhoods has a distinct character. Brotteaux is a well-to-do central quarter, close to the gorgeous Parc de la Tête d'Or. You can go for morning strolls here on the way to the bakery and have a picnic by the central lake when it's sunny. États-Unis (literally 'United States') is a residential neighbourhood built up in the 1920s and '30s, with a modern character in contrast to the rest of the city. Croix-Rousse is a centrally located, former industrial area straddling the River Rhône, an excellent example of classic Lyonnais architecture. Presqu'Île is the true heart of the city, with upmarket shops and many of the best Lyon restaurants. Wherever you stay, when you rent a car in Lyon you'll have easy access to all of this and more.
This vibrant and multicultural city always has something going on, with regular events throughout the year. The Lyon Light Festival sees the town come to life at the approach of winter, with installations that illuminate the look of the city. Of course, there are plenty of events in the summer too, such as Jazz à Vienne, a two-week music extravaganza. This is held Roman-style in the open air, making the most of Lyon's sunny summer weather. You'll want to explore Old Lyon, with a multi-layered history stretching back thousands of years. The 14th-century Lyon Cathedral is one of the main highlights here, along with the grand public square, Place Bellecour. On rainy days, you can also soak up plenty of culture indoors. The Musée des Confluences offers an enticing look at natural history inside a supermodern glass and metal structure. The Lyon Museum of Fine Arts is housed in a converted Benedictine convent.
When you plan your flight to Lyon you can consider your preferred activities in the Rhone-Alpes region of France, and when best to visit. Temperatures soar to around 30°C in high summer, when you can enjoy exploring the city and region in the sunshine. Spring and autumn tend to see fewer crowds, making these ideal times to come if you prefer a quieter trip. With its proximity to the Alps and the Swiss border, there are skiing possibilities and additional excursion options in winter. As far as the food is concerned, there's never a bad time to explore Lyon's culinary scene. You'll find all manner of restaurants here, including plenty of local specialities to try. These include a number of sausages, including seasoned andouillette and pistachio sausage. Lyonnaise potatoes are a hearty pan-fried accompaniment to many meals.
Now that you know all the best things to do in Lyon, you'll need some knowledge of the local driving regulations. Car hire in France is a breeze, and there's nothing too complicated in comparison to driving in the UK. The one main exception is that you'll drive on the right side of the road. Be sure you have your driving licence, insurance, and passport in the car. You'll also need to keep a warning triangle, breathalyser kit, headlamp beam deflectors, a spare bulb kit, and reflective jackets in the car. In an emergency, including when your car breaks down, call 112. There are also orange help phones installed on motorways at 2km intervals.