With its hills and rivers, Lyon’s topography is perfect for this sport: all you need are a pair of running shoes and a bit of motivation. Here is a (totally subjective) selection of the best places to run in Lyon and the surrounding area:
Parc de la Tête d'Or
Located by the banks of the Rhône in Lyon’s 6th district, Tête d’Or Park is the favourite spot for local runners. Do any of them not know their lap time for the park? Lyon’s green lung has a varied environment (including a lake, zoo, greenhouses and rose garden) and a relatively flat 3.8 km circuit, making it ideal for running. It is very busy on weekends and many runners go with colleagues during their lunch break. A little tip: everybody runs in an anticlockwise direction!
Veteran sportspeople can continue their run to Parc de la Feyssine, which is slightly wilder and less frequented than its neighbour. Jogging along its 4 km route feels like a run in the woods.
Les Berges du Rhône
Redeveloped in 2007, the banks of the Rhône have become a central part of life in Lyon. The 7 km stretch links up Parc de la Tête d’Or and Parc de Gerland, offering a clear view of Lyon’s built heritage (including the Opera House, the Croix-Rousse district and the Grand Hôtel-Dieu), away from the traffic. For early risers and late sleepers, the route is lit by night. At the end of your run (and only at the end, otherwise it would be giving up), you can head to one of the many riverboat bars for refreshments.
Les Rives de Saône
From Île Barbe to the Confluence, the pedestrian path along the banks of the Saône is 11 km long. The route, which has been laid out for runners, becomes increasingly wild along the stretch between Vieux-Lyon (Old Lyon) and Île Barbe. This is my favourite place! I love gazing at Saint-Jean Cathedral, Fourvière Hill, the Basilica and Lyon’s characterful architecture. From Maréchal Koenig Bridge, the trail becomes bucolic and shaded until it reaches Île Barbe.
From Kitchener Marchand Bridge until the confluence of the rivers Rhône and Saône, make your way past the innovative, modern buildings until you reach the Musée des Confluences at the tip to admire the breathtaking panoramic view.
The hills: Fourvière and Croix-Rousse
Rising 120 and 90 m high respectively, the hills of Fourvière and Croix-Rousse look out over Lyon and are ideal for urban trails. The choice is yours: you can do intensive cardio training, in particular on the slopes of Montée Nicolas de Lange, Montée de la Chana, Montée de la Sarra and Montée de l’Esplanade, or explore the hills with their history-filled passages and paths. When you reach the top, make sure you stop for a moment to enjoy the exceptional views over Lyon.
The Monts d'or
Looking for untamed nature and wide open spaces? Just a few kilometres to the north-west of Lyon, the Monts-d’or (stretching out over a dozen kilometres) offer more than one hundred routes. The Monts d’or are formed of five hills: Mont-Thou (609 m), Mont-Cindre (469 m), Mont-Verdun (625 m), Mont-Py (565 m) and Mont-Narcel (582 m). With streams, paths, cliffs and woods, this offers a fantastic playground for trail enthusiasts!
Now you know our favourite local spots, what are you waiting for?