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    Car hire in Lyon – With the best rental options

    The French city of Lyon is the third largest in the country and the capital city of the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region. It is one of the main entry points for visitors wishing to visit the French Alps and its numerous ski resorts. Neighbouring Switzerland and Italy are also a popular destination for those who visit Lyon. Central Lyon is a mixture of Roman, Medieval, Renaissance and modern architecture. If you decide on a car hire in Lyon, then you’ll not only be able to uncover much of the city, but also beautiful surrounding countryside. Lyon is a vibrant place, with plenty of bars, quaint coffee houses and tantalising restaurants to enjoy.

    With more than 60 years car hire industry experience, Auto Europe through its trusted partner network is able to offer you great quotes, special deals and amazing offers on your next car hire. We provide standard car hire, luxury car hire, motorhome hire and a transfer service throughout France and Lyon. Partnering with local and international car hire supplier’s, means that our customers can benefit from a large fleet of vehicles, and lots of convenient locations. Contact our reservation agents today on +44 123 3225 114 if you’re thinking of hiring a car during your next trip. In addition, our customers' car hire reviews in Lyon provides comments from previous rentals of our service.

    How is the traffic in Lyon?

    Traffic congestion in Lyon can be problematic especially in central locations and during rush hour. Key areas to avoid if possible are along the river front, its bridges and major intersections. The A42, A43 and E15 motorways are also renowned for being problematic and experiencing traffic backlog. Likewise, routes taking you to and from Lyon International Airport can experience congestion. Lyon old town is a labyrinth of narrow roads, one-way streets and restricted access – all of which make for driving in this part of town, a challenging experience.

    Where can I park my car hire in Lyon?

    Lyon consists of nine districts, all of which have ample parking opportunities. It is difficult to find free parking, but in many places you can get up to 15 minutes parking for free. When you collect your car rental in Lyon, it is important to remember that parking in the city is limited to a maximum stay of one hour and a half. This is especially the case in busy districts and central locations. You can park for more time in the Tempo Zone and during Sundays and public holidays. A great benefit to visiting the city during August, is that parking is free during the whole month. Parking restrictions generally apply from 9am until 7pm, Monday to Saturday. TCL car parks are available throughout the city, but leaving your car overnight isn’t allowed.

    Lyon International Airport

    Located 13 miles southeast from central Lyon, Lyon Airport is the third largest airport in France. The airport consists of two terminals, both of which handle around 8.5 million passengers yearly. There are good connections to and from the airport and the city via rail, tram, bus and taxis. The airport serves the whole region of Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, and is especially popular for visitors looking to explore the French Alps and nearby ski resorts.

    Lyon Airport (LYS)
    Address: B.P. 113, 69125 Lyon-Saint Exupéry Aéroport, France
    Website: Lyon Airport
    Telephone: +33 0 826 800 826

    What to do in Lyon

    Not every city can boast the sheer amount of interesting sites like Lyon can. From what seems like endless history, a strong cultural heritage and culinary wonders round every corner – Lyon will keep you mesmerised for days. Enjoy a traditional French market, a world-renowned museum or simply rent a car in Lyon and head towards its newer districts for some great shopping opportunities. The following are some great options of things to do during your time in this beautiful city.

    • Lyon Fine Arts Museum: As the largest French Museum outside of Paris, the Lyon Fine Arts Museum has a vast and impressive collection. Located at Place des Terreaux, in central Lyon, the museum is housed in a beautiful 17th Century Benedictine Abbey. The museum is set out over five sections, with a garden. Through its 70 galleries, it portrays fine art from various civilisations, their cultures and history. With additional exhibitions throughout the year, the museum will take you back through 5,000 years of art history, and includes interactive activities.

    • La Renaissance Du Vieux Lyon: The old quarters of Lyon are beautiful, cultural and oozing in historical richness. You can either decide to wander the streets alone or with a guided tour. Either way, you’re sure to be fully impressed with the lively and interesting array of important places on offer. Not the best place to shop, but a great place for eating out, having a coffee or simply flavouring local life. The Musée du Cinema et de la Miniature is located here, it is open until 5:30pm, and has loads to see and do.

    • Confluence Shopping Centre: If shopping is high on your list of priorities, then look for a bargain at the city’s modern Confluence Shopping Centre. Easily reached by public transport, including the pleasant ferry, this is a large shopping centre in the heart of Lyon’s new district. On offer are lots of shops, selling a large variety of goods and services. Here you’ll also find restaurants, coffee shops and little eateries. From the top floor you’ll gain wonderful views over the area and lower floors. Wi-Fi is provided but is limited and a supermarket is located on the lower floor for those wishing to buy fresh food.

    • Gallo-Roman Museum: This is a wonderful Roman amphitheatre and museum. The museum has a rich array of Roman artefacts, from coins, weapons and artwork. It beautifully depicts life in Lyon during the Roman times. Along with interactive displays, it also houses a large exhibition of Roman mosaic tiles and glass. Outside you are presented with a very large and impressive amphitheatre. From the top you will get amazing views over the site and city. This is a remarkable place, and a must visit when you are in the city. It is also relatively inexpensive to enter, and can be easily reached with convenient local transport connections.

    • Marche Alimentaire St-Antoine Celestins: If you’re looking to experience the hustle, smells and vibrant atmosphere of a traditional French market, then a visit to Marche Alimentaire St-Antoine Celestins is a must. This upscale experience provides lots of wonderful foods, cheeses, breads and hams. The market is located adjacent to the river front, which makes it a pleasant place to stroll and enjoy views over Vieux Lyon. The market opens early but remains open for much of the day. It is also the ideal place if you’re looking for regional pottery.

    Best day trips with my car rental in Lyon

    Although visiting Lyon and exploring this magnificent city is a great idea, opting to explore its surroundings is an even better decision. Being at the heart of the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region, means that with a car hire in Lyon, you can easily reach some of the best areas in France. History, culture, monuments, an abundance of interesting places and world renowned vineyards are just a few things on offer. By venturing further, you’ll be gifted with amazing mountain views, picturesque villages and wonderful rivers. We recommend visiting the following locations during your trip.

    Chazelles-Sur-Lyon: In a little under an hour by car, you’ll be able to explore this beautiful town just west of Lyon. Along with its quaint coffee houses, traditional restaurants and shopping, Chazelles-Sur-Lyon boasts the Musée du Chapeau. Focusing on the towns hat making tradition, this museum takes you on a journey through hat manufacturing throughout the years – the craft, the styles and evolution. The museum introduces you to this art in a novel and informative way, with interactive events and the option to even have your very own custom made hat.

    Cerdon Grottes: Heading out from Lyon, a trip to the prehistoric site of Cerdon Grottes will take around an hour to reach by car. The site is a collection of caves that have been used as far back as prehistoric times. A beautiful place, mesmerising and very intriguing – here you’ll be taken on a guided journey through, how humans have used these caves throughout history. From dwellings, to storage and refuge, these caves have adapted throughout time. Along with the caves impressive structure, you’ll also be blessed with magical views over the while area.

    Dijon: Heading north from Lyon, in just over 2 hours by car you’ll reach Dijon. Located in the Burgundy region, Dijon is a historically rich city and a magical place to explore. It’s traditional medieval half-timbered centre are simply beautiful, along with its Renaissance architecture. Uncovering the city, you’ll come across the Musée des Beaux-Arts – a museum tastefully located inside the Palace of the Dukes of Burgundy. The Les Halles Market, selling tantalising culinary delights, and the 15th Century tower of Philippe le Bon.

    Grenoble: If you’re looking for a more mountainous experience, head towards Grenoble. You’ll reach this city in a little over an hour by car from Lyon. Grenoble is a large city which is nicely nestled into the foot of the Alps. The city is often visited by those who are looking to continue their journey into the Alps, for winter sports or splendid mountain views. However, the city itself has much to offer and well-worth exploring. The Jardin de Ville, Place Victor Hugo and La Bastille hill, are just a handful of places you should see when visiting. Bastille Fortress provides wonderful views over the city and the French Alps, being easy to reach by cable car.

    How to get around Lyon

    The Lyon public transport network is modern, well-maintained and relatively inexpensive to use. The whole system is well integrated, linking both the city and the airport, together with the local region. Links are also available to destinations throughout France and internationally. The public transport network consists of buses, trams, metro, rail, ferry and funiculars – all of which make getting around the beautiful city of Lyon fast, east and stress-free. Transport runs from 5am until midnight, with tickets available for the whole network from the drivers and from metro ticket machines.


    The city bus network is extensive and will take you throughout the city and its suburbs. The network consists of standard buses, trolley buses and coaches for destinations further afield. In addition, two funicular routes exist between Vieux Lyon to Saint-Just or Fourvière. Eurolines provides coaches throughout France, to cities such as Paris and Marseille. The city bus terminal is attached to the Perrache Train Station. From this train station you can also change to trams, local buses, trains, metro, taxis and access the local bicycle network.


    As a fun and relaxing way to view the city and get to your destination, consider using a river ferry. Known as the Vaporetto, this ferry service runs from the Confluence Shopping Centre to the Vieux-Lyon old district. There is a total of four stops along its route; Confluence, Bellecour, Saint-Paul and Vaise. We highly recommend this form of transport as it is a very pleasant way to see Lyon from the river – ideal during summer and spring time.


    Lyon has an extensive bicycle network which was finished in 2005. This is another great way to get around the city and see the sights. Bicycles can be hired for a small fee at any of the 340 bicycle stands. The service is free for the first 30 minutes, at the end of your rental, simply return it to one of the bicycle stands. Lyon was the first French city to incorporate a bicycle renting scheme into its public transport system.


    Lyon taxis are cream in colour with a taxi sign upon its roof. Taxis are metered but we always recommend discussing the estimated cost to the journey with the driver before setting off. Taxis can be pre-ordered or picked-up at any of the cities taxi ranks. Taxi ranks are located in the city centre, at major attractions and main transport hubs. Although, this is an expensive way to get around Lyon, relative to the other transport options available – a taxi is a stress-free way to get to more remote areas.


    Lyon Metro has a total of four lines – A, B, C and D. The system has 42 metro stations and you can expect a metro train every two minutes. Metro trains are well-kept and modern. The metro system was opened in 1974 and to date covers less than 20 miles. A fast and convenient way to see the city and get to more central locations, tickets can be purchased from ticket machines at the metro stations. Lines run from Gare de Vaise to Gare de Venissieux, Cuire to Perrache, Perrache to Vaulx-en-Vellin La Sole and lastly Republique Villeurbanne to Stade-de-Gerland.


    The city has two railway hubs – Lyon Part-Dieu Train Station and Lyon Perrache Train Station – the latter provides regional train services. Lyon Part-Dieu offers a TGV train service throughout France, to Paris, Nice, Toulouse, Nantes, Lille and many more. TGV trains also operate to other cities in neighbouring countries, such as Turin, Geneva, Frankfurt, London, Brussels, Madrid and more. From these central train stations visitors can interchange with all the other city wide transport options. A further five smaller train stations exist in Lyon, these are Vaise, Saint-Paul, Jean Mace, Venissieux and Gorge-de-Loup.

    Can I hire a campervan in Lyon?

    Although the majority of visitors to Lyon opt for hiring a car, there is another viable alternative that may be better suited. Consider a campervan hire in Lyon instead. With a motorhome you can explore the area and make the most of cheaper campsites compared to hotels.

    Useful links

    Official Lyon Tourism Website