Lyon vs. Bordeaux

Choosing between Lyon and Bordeaux for your next adventure might feel like a challenge. Both cities dazzle with their distinct charm, leaving you torn between Lyon's vibrant history and Bordeaux's world-famous vineyards. Lyon, the gastronomic capital of France, and Bordeaux, the gateway to the largest wine-growing area, both promise unforgettable experiences. Which one will steal your heart?
Lyon vs. Bordeaux

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As you embark on this journey of decision, you will discover what makes both Lyon and Bordeaux so special. Their unique offerings beckon you to explore and experience. Dive in, and let’s unravel the wonders of these two extraordinary French cities together. Continue reading to discover which city is the perfect fit for your next getaway.

History & Culture

Stepping into Lyon and Bordeaux is like stepping into a time machine. The history of these cities is rich, and their culture is vibrant. But they offer different flavors for your taste buds of history and culture.

Lyon is a city that thrives on its history. It’s like a living museum with a strong Roman past. Stroll through the cobblestone streets of Vieux Lyon, and you’ll be transported to another era. Here, the Renaissance architecture tells tales of a time gone by.

Bordeaux, on the other hand, boasts of an elegant neoclassical style. The city is a UNESCO World Heritage site, full of grand buildings from the 18th century. Walking through Bordeaux feels like being in a period drama, complete with a beautiful backdrop.

When it comes to culture, Lyon is a powerhouse. It is home to the Lumière brothers, pioneers of cinema. Every year, the city celebrates this legacy with the Lumière Festival, showcasing classic and modern films.

Bordeaux, though, is the capital of wine culture. The city’s love for wine is evident in its wine museums and tastings. It also hosts the Bordeaux Wine Festival, a must-visit for any wine enthusiast.

In summary, if you’re a history buff, Lyon’s Roman past might fascinate you more. But if you appreciate grand architecture, Bordeaux will charm you. For a film enthusiast, Lyon’s culture will be intriguing. But if you’re a wine lover, Bordeaux’s culture will be more appealing.

Attractions & Activities

Lyon and Bordeaux are not just about history and culture. They’re also filled with attractions and activities that will keep you entertained. Let’s see what each city has to offer.

In Lyon, one of the must-visit attractions is the Basilica of Notre-Dame de Fourvière. Perched on a hill, it offers panoramic views of the city. For a more adventurous activity, you can explore the Traboules. These secret passageways, used by silk workers in the past, are unique to Lyon.

Bordeaux, on the other hand, offers attractions like the Place de la Bourse. This square is famous for its Water Mirror, the world’s largest reflecting pool. As for activities, you can take a river cruise on the Garonne. It’s a great way to see the city from a different perspective.

Lyon is also home to several beautiful parks. Parc de la Tête d’Or, the largest urban park in France, is perfect for a leisurely stroll. And if you’re interested in puppetry, you can catch a show at the Maison de Guignol.

In Bordeaux, you can explore the Cité du Vin. This wine museum offers interactive exhibits about wine production. And if you’re an art lover, don’t miss the Musée des Beaux-Arts, one of the largest art galleries in France.

In conclusion, Lyon offers a mix of historical attractions and unique activities. Bordeaux, on the other hand, offers elegant sights and wine-related activities. So, whether you’re an adventurer, a nature lover, or a wine enthusiast, both cities have something for you.


While Lyon and Bordeaux might not come to mind when you think of beaches, you’d be surprised. Both cities offer access to different kinds of beach experiences.

Lyon, located inland, doesn’t have beaches within the city. But, don’t worry. A day trip to the Mediterranean coast is easy. You’re just about 320 kilometers (about 200 miles) from the glamorous beaches of the French Riviera. Imagine yourself basking in the sun on the sandy shores of Nice or Cannes.

Bordeaux, on the other hand, gives you access to the Atlantic coast. Just about 60 kilometers (approximately 37 miles) away is the Arcachon Bay. Here, you’ll find sandy beaches and dunes, perfect for a relaxed day out. The Great Dune of Pilat, the tallest sand dune in Europe, is a sight you can’t miss.

If you’re looking for a beach holiday, your choice between Lyon and Bordeaux could hinge on your preference. Do you dream of the sparkling waters of the Mediterranean or the surfable waves of the Atlantic? The decision is yours to make.

Eating, Drinking & Nightlife

Talking about France and not mentioning food and drink is impossible. Lyon and Bordeaux offer fantastic culinary scenes, each with its own distinct flair.

In Lyon, the food scene is legendary. Known as the gastronomic capital of France, Lyon is the place for you if you love food. The city is famous for its ‘bouchons’ – traditional restaurants serving hearty local dishes. Imagine yourself tucking into a plate of coq au vin or quenelles.

Bordeaux, though, is a paradise for seafood lovers. The city’s location near the coast means fresh seafood is plentiful. Picture yourself enjoying a plate of fresh oysters, straight from the Arcachon Bay.

When it comes to drinking, Bordeaux is the undisputed queen. As the wine capital of the world, Bordeaux offers you the chance to taste some of the best wines. You could be sipping on a glass of Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot in one of the city’s many wine bars.

Lyon, while it might not match Bordeaux’s wine status, has a growing craft beer scene. If you’re a beer lover, Lyon will surprise you with its range of local brews.

As for nightlife, both cities offer vibrant scenes. Lyon’s nightlife is more laid-back, with cozy bars and jazz clubs. Bordeaux, though, is known for its lively bars and nightclubs.

To sum up, if you’re a food lover, Lyon might be more appealing. But if seafood and wine are your thing, Bordeaux is the place for you. Whether you prefer a relaxed evening with jazz music or a night of dancing, both cities have got you covered.


Shopping in Lyon or Bordeaux, which one will make your heart beat faster? Both cities offer a blend of the old and the new, each with its own unique charm.

In Lyon, you’ll find a mix of chic boutiques and traditional markets. The city’s old town, Vieux Lyon, is the perfect place to pick up unique souvenirs. Picture yourself strolling through the cobblestone streets, exploring antique shops and art galleries.

Bordeaux, on the other hand, is a shopaholic’s dream come true. The city is known for its stylish boutiques and major brand stores. Imagine yourself wandering along Rue Sainte-Catherine, one of the longest shopping streets in Europe, dotted with trendy shops.

If you’re a foodie, Lyon’s markets are a must-visit. You can find everything from fresh produce to local delicacies. Picture yourself tasting local cheese or charcuterie at one of these markets.

Bordeaux also doesn’t disappoint when it comes to food shopping. The city’s markets offer a wide range of local and organic products. Picture yourself sampling fresh oysters or picking up a bottle of Bordeaux wine.

In conclusion, whether you’re a lover of boutiques, markets, or food shopping, both Lyon and Bordeaux have something to offer. The choice depends on your personal shopping style and preferences.


When it comes to accommodation, both Lyon and Bordeaux offer a wide range of options. But, each city has its own unique style and charm.

Lyon is known for its historic hotels located in old buildings. Imagine yourself staying in a room with a view of the city’s historic landmarks. If you’re on a budget, don’t worry. Lyon also offers a range of affordable guesthouses and B&Bs.

On the other hand, Bordeaux is known for its elegant boutique hotels. Picture yourself waking up in a stylish room, then stepping out to explore the city’s stunning architecture. For budget travelers, Bordeaux offers numerous budget-friendly options, including hostels and budget hotels.

If you prefer a home away from home, both cities offer a wide range of vacation rentals. You can find everything from cozy apartments to luxurious villas.

In short, whether you’re looking for a luxury hotel, a budget-friendly option, or a homely vacation rental, both Lyon and Bordeaux have plenty to offer. The choice depends on your personal preference and budget.

Family-Friendliness & Children’s Activities

Is Lyon or Bordeaux better for a family getaway? Each city has a range of activities that both you and your kids will love.

In Lyon, there are plenty of family-friendly sights. For example, the Parc de la Tête d’Or offers plenty of space for your kids to run around. Can’t you just see your children laughing as they visit the zoo or ride the mini-train?

Bordeaux also boasts an array of activities for children. The Bordeaux Lac offers beaches and a safe swimming area that your kids will love. Picture your children building sandcastles or splashing in the water.

If your kids love history, Lyon’s Gallo-Roman Museum will be a hit. Imagine your children’s eyes lighting up as they explore the ancient ruins and artifacts.

In Bordeaux, the Cité du Vin is a must-visit for older kids. Through interactive exhibits, they can learn about the history of wine. Can’t you see your teens immersing themselves in the fascinating world of wine?

In conclusion, both Lyon and Bordeaux offer a range of family-friendly activities. Whether your family loves exploring nature, visiting museums, or playing at the beach, both cities have something to offer.

Getting There & Getting Around

Whether you’re headed to Lyon or Bordeaux, getting there and getting around is easier than you might think.

To get to Lyon, you can take a flight to Lyon–Saint Exupéry Airport, located about 20 miles (32 kilometers) east of the city. Picture yourself landing at the airport, ready to start your adventure.

Getting to Bordeaux is also straightforward. Bordeaux-Mérignac Airport is only about 7.5 miles (12 kilometers) west of the city. Can’t you just imagine stepping off the plane, eager to explore Bordeaux?

Once you’re in Lyon, you can easily get around by bus, tram, or metro. Think about how convenient it will be to hop on a tram and head to your destination.

In Bordeaux, you can also use public transportation. The city has an extensive tram and bus network. Picture yourself boarding a tram, ready to explore the city.

In summary, whether you’re going to Lyon or Bordeaux, getting there and getting around is straightforward. Both cities have well-developed transportation networks, making your travels a breeze.


Is the weather better in Lyon or Bordeaux? Let’s take a closer look.

In Lyon, summers are warm with average temperatures ranging from 59°F to 79°F (15°C to 26°C). Imagine enjoying a warm summer day in Lyon, exploring the city under a bright sun.

Bordeaux, on the other hand, has mild summers. The temperatures here average between 61°F and 80°F (16°C to 27°C). Can’t you feel the pleasant warmth of a Bordeaux summer day?

During winter, Lyon can be quite cold, with temperatures dropping to around 32°F to 45°F (0°C to 7°C). Picture yourself bundled up, watching the city transform under a blanket of snow.

Bordeaux winters are milder, with temperatures ranging from 37°F to 51°F (3°C to 11°C). Imagine taking a brisk walk on a clear winter day in Bordeaux.

So, whether you prefer warm summers or mild winters, both Lyon and Bordeaux have their unique weather conditions. Consider your preferences when deciding your destination.


How safe is Lyon compared to Bordeaux? Safety is an important factor to consider when choosing your destination.

Both Lyon and Bordeaux are generally safe cities. Like any other city, petty crimes like pickpocketing can occur, so always keep an eye on your belongings. Can’t you see yourself being alert and mindful, ensuring a smooth trip?

In Lyon, it is safe to walk around during the day, but some areas might be best to avoid late at night. Picture yourself exploring Lyon during the day, taking in the sights and sounds.

In Bordeaux, it is also safe to stroll around, even after dark. Imagine yourself walking along the Garonne River, enjoying the city’s nighttime beauty.

In terms of unique safety concerns, Lyon has some hilly areas that might be difficult to navigate for those with mobility issues. Imagine yourself planning your routes to accommodate this.

In conclusion, both Lyon and Bordeaux are quite safe for visitors. Just remember to be aware of your surroundings, and you’ll have a great time in either city.


Thinking about the cost of your trip to Lyon or Bordeaux? Let’s compare.

When it comes to accommodation in Lyon, a standard hotel room can cost around 100 Euros, that’s about 120 US dollars. Picture yourself enjoying your stay without breaking your budget.

In Bordeaux, you might find that a similar hotel room costs slightly less, around 90 Euros, or approximately 110 US dollars. Imagine staying in a comfortable room and saving a few dollars.

Dining in Lyon can be quite affordable too. A good meal in a restaurant may cost around 20 Euros, roughly 24 US dollars. Can’t you almost taste the delicious food?

In Bordeaux, the cost of a meal is similar, around 20 Euros, or about 24 US dollars. Imagine yourself indulging in the local cuisine without worrying about the cost.

Transportation costs are also reasonable in both cities. In Lyon, a public transportation ticket costs around 2 Euros or about 2 US dollars. In Bordeaux, a similar ticket costs 1.70 Euros or approximately 2 US dollars. Imagine yourself exploring the city without spending a lot on transportation.

So, whether you’re heading to Lyon or Bordeaux, you’re sure to find options that suit your budget. Your decision might come down to the type of experiences you’re looking for rather than cost alone.

Which Is Better – Lyon or Bordeaux?

Now, it’s time to decide. Lyon or Bordeaux? Let’s summarize.

Lyon offers a unique blend of history and culture, with its Roman ruins and Renaissance architecture. It’s also known for its vibrant food scene. If you’re a history buff or a food lover, Lyon could be the perfect destination for you.

Bordeaux, on the other hand, is famous for its wine and beautiful architecture. It also has a vibrant nightlife. If you’re a wine enthusiast or love architecture, Bordeaux might be the place for you.

In terms of family-friendliness, both cities offer plenty of activities for kids. However, if you’re looking for a beach destination, Bordeaux might be a better option as it’s closer to the coast.

When it comes to cost, both cities are quite affordable, offering good value for money. The decision might come down to what type of experiences you’re looking for.

Finally, when considering safety, both cities are relatively safe, but as always, it’s important to be aware of your surroundings.

In the end, whether you choose Lyon or Bordeaux might come down to personal preference. Both cities offer unique experiences and are sure to leave you with lasting memories.