Could there be any town that’s more French than Lyon? Paris is too wrapped up in being Paris, Marseille has the whole Mediterranean thing going on, likewise Nice. Bordeaux is stiff competition, but maybe a bit too caught up with its wine to offer the same kind of hearty taste of true France as the Lyonais. Deep in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region, people come to Lyon for the atmosphere, for the architecture, and the people, but most importantly they come for the food.
In terms of hotels, Lyon is not exactly the budget travellers dream: it’s a town better known for indulgence than saving, after all. But that doesn’t mean that low cost options don’t exist – and the one’s that do, that we’ve found at least, are some of the best value for money hotels around, shopping the same luxury as you’ll find elsewhere in the city, but at a far more reasonable price.
From €98/ night
Subtly located inside a deliciously traditional apartment building, this wonderful hotel is brimming with original features, from parqueted floors to the filigreed fire places. It’s comfortable and cosy, too, with soft, warm beds, ideal to relax into after an indulgent night of Lyonaise cuisine. All mod cons – including WiFi, TVs, and ensuites – come as standard, in this great bargain, less than 50 metres from Lyon’s main train station.
From €99/ night
Great for those who want to be in the heart of things, this comfortably furnished hotel is just a short walk from Lyon’s central Place Bellecour, but is no less tranquil for that, thanks to its expertly sound-proofed rooms. As well as lift access, free WiFi, and TVs on offer, the Elysée serves breakfasts in its former vaulted cellar and there’s even a bar to start off or end a night on the town.
From €19/ night
Faced with Lyon’s high prices, this is the best recourse if you really need to tighten your belt (hopefully with an eye to loosening it in the city’s restaurants, both literally and metaphorically). Sure, it’s dorm sleeping, but the whole place is clean and professionally run, creating a great communal vibe among guests: there are free board games, books, and more in the lobby areas, and no shortage of other travellers to talk to, and maybe pair up with to explore the city.
From €49/ night
Among the things that make Lyon special is the fact that it was built at the confluence of two of France’s biggest rivers, the Rhône and the Saône, hence the name of this ibis budget hotel which really is one of the best places from which to explore the city if all you need in the evening is cleanliness, privacy, and a bed. No, it’s not flashy, but that’s kind of the point, and there’s no skimping on the essentials: WiFi, TVs, en suites, and A/C are all included. A great choice amid Lyon’s pricey establishments.
From €84/ night
A more off-beat choice, filled with fun knick-knacks and character, Le Boulevardier is also an excellently located fun hotel with great staff. Located within one of Lyon’s historical, Renaissance buildings, the interior design here is 16th Century meets a French TGI Fridays, but somehow it works. Neither is there any skimping on the things you expect from a hotel: the free WiFi and the en suites are there, taking their place amid the other modern artefacts that occupy this ancient building.