Skip to Content

The Ultimate Six Nations Weekend Away in Lyon

We may receive a commission if you make purchases through affiliate links (at no extra cost to you). Read why our approach to travel is different.

Share This Article

2 months ago

England is taking on France in ‘Le Crunch’ on the French home turf in Lyon on Super Saturday, 16 March.

This is the first time Lyon will be hosting a Six Nations match and on Super Saturday no less. We are expecting huge energy from one of our favorite cities in France!

From the best pubs to soak in the Six Nations action to the essential sites of Lyon to enjoy in between the matches, we’ve got you sorted for everything you need to know to make sure you have a memorable Six Nations Rugby weekend in Lyon.

lyon city with red roof and mountains

Match information: France vs England

Kick-off for the final match of the Six Nations 2024 is at 8 pm GMT (9 pm local time) on Saturday, 16 March. The match will end at approximately 9:30 pm GMT (10:30 pm local time).

(Credit: Theo McInnes. Used with permission.)

How to get to Lyon

We recommend that you book your flights well in advance. The best last-minute flight deals can be found on Skyscanner. You want to fly directly into Lyon-Saint Exupéry (LYS).

If you’re looking to travel sustainably by rail, the French countryside is always a pleasure to travel through by train – and travel by train is much better for the environment. For the best prices and the latest availability, we always recommend Trainline.

Where to stay in Lyon for the Six Nations Rugby

Lyon is a huge city and the Groupama Stadium is a little far from the centre. There’s no better choice than Vieux Lyon, the historic centre, which is only a short walk from countless buzzing pubs. This area is generally very alive in the evenings, and with the Six Nations you can expect lots of street action, buzzing pubs and live music well into the night for some post-match revelry.

Our picks for the best hotels in Vieux Lyon are the Collège Hotel (especially the rooftop garden terrace), Le Phènix and Les Jardins du Gourguillon.

If you are traveling on a budget, you can’t go wrong with Slo Lyon Pentes or Le Flâneur Guesthouse (with an excellently priced bar).

city of lyon with parks and trees and rivers
(Source: Lyon Tourism)

If you’d rather stay slightly closer to transport links (to the stadium and Lyon airport) but still be close to lively pubs, amazing restaurants and cultural highlights, we would recommend Part Dieu. The Radisson Blu is located just a few minutes from Part Dieu train station.

If you’re traveling with family or a group of mates, you will probably want to search for a better deal on an apartment or multi-bedroom property. Vrbo has excellent options in Lyon city centre.

(Source: Explore France)

There are also a handful of hotels within walking distance or a short drive from Groupama Stadium. We don’t generally recommend staying around here. Lyon is an extremely lively city and we are expecting big energy in the city centre!

How to get to Groupama Stadium

By taxi

The quickest way to get to Groupama Stadium with the least hassle is by taxi to a drop-off point near to the Stadium.

If you’re going to go directly from the airport to the Stadium, you will want to pre-arrange an airport transfer directly.

By train

If you don’t want to take a taxi, the best way to Groupama Stadium is by metro line T3 directly to
Décines Grand Large from Lyon Part Dieu station.

From Décines Grand Large station, it is a 17-minute walk to Groupama Stadium. With thousands of people descending on Lyon, we expect this walk to be full of adrenalin!

lyon at night with river and basilica atop hill
(Source: Explore France)

There is a closer metro station at Décines OL Vallée, which is only about 7 minutes by foot from the Stadium. Coming from Lyon Part Dieu, to reach Décines OL Vallée you will need to switch from the T3 line at Vaulx-en-Velin La Soie onto the T7 line. We think it’s easier to take the direct line to Décines Grand Large.

Best pubs to watch the other Six Nations games

This being Super Saturday, there are two matches before the France vs England match in Lyon. Wales will take on Italy in Cardiff at 2:15 pm GMT (3:15 pm local time), followed by Ireland vs Scotland at 4:45 pm GMT (5:45 pm local time) in Dublin.

Man watching the Six Nations in a pub
(Credit: Theo McInnes. Used with permission.)

We’ve rounded up the best pubs to soak in all of the Six Nations action, whether for pre-match drinks before Super Saturday kicks off at 3:15 pm local time with Wales vs Italy or the best places to watch the other Six Nations games happening during Super Saturday.

Cities all around the world have English and Irish pubs, but even if you have a high standard, Lyon won’t disappoint with its high concentration of pubs which are patronised by foreigners living in Lyon, visitors to the city and Lyonnais alike.

Map of all Six Nations pubs

We’ve put together all of the pubs putting on a show for the Six Nations in each of the host cities this season in one convenient map:

The Smoking Dog

Known among locals for their wide selection of beer, this is an English rugby pub through and through. You’ll find a pub decorated with flags and sashes for the Six Nations, but also second-hand books and vintage ornaments, in a way that only the French can do.

The bartenders like to get in on the action here so expect a very lively environment during the Six Nations. They will have several screens showing the Six Nations inside the pub.

Given that this is an English pub, we would expect mostly England fans to be at The Smoking Dog – so this might not be the best choice if you’re looking to celebrate France’s wins!

The St James

This is one of the few pubs that has a decent amount of outdoor seating if you’d prefer to be outside during all of the Super Saturday action, right in the middle of Old Lyon.

The St James has a few big screen TVs which will screen the Six Nations matches. The St James is no stranger to hosting foreigners, so expect people from all around the world gathering and getting to know each other.

They also have a very generous happy hour which will run throughout the matches. Make sure to get here early!

Johnny Walsh’s Irish Pub

This is the quintessential pub experience with live music, games, beers and late opening hours (until 3 am) so this is also the perfect place for post-match revelry. You’ll find a very casual atmosphere that is welcoming of fans of all stripes, and they will be screening all of the Six Nations on their giant screen.

The terrace outside is also very pleasant (not many cars on the street) which is the perfect respite should you need five minutes to recuperate in between the action.

English football player during the Six Nations 2024
(Credit: Theo McInnes. Used with permission.)

Antidote

This is an unexpectedly good Irish pub just outside Old Lyon. Antitode will have screens broadcasting all of the Six Nations so you won’t miss out on a minute.

The beer selection is wide and you’ll get to try both local brands and international favourites. If you’re looking for a place for a group, Antitode could be the one provided you reserve in advance. The atmosphere is slated to be incredible during the Six Nations, and the staff are ready to take on the challenge.

They also provide themselves on excellent cocktails, so if you’re looking for more than beer, Antitode will have you covered (and it will be good).

The King Arthur

This is the only pub on our list that is on the other side of the river Saone, which is slightly outside the typical rugby zone. But The King Arthur gets a mention for its very friendly approach to service and its welcoming attitude for all fans. Even when it’s four-rows deep at the beer, the staff will be smiling and getting you your beverage quickly.

It is usually very busy at the best of times, and the bar is small, but the staff make an extra effort to accommodate all guests. The crowd here is younger and louder, so this might be the perfect place to go after the games. The King Arthur will also have several screens playing the Six Nations matches.

Best food in Lyon

Often nicknamed France’s ‘Gastronomic Capital‘, Lyon is home to some of the best restaurants and food in France. From traditional French food to the famous cozy local bistros, the bouchons Lyonnais, don’t miss out on the opportunity to experience Lyon’s food scene while you’re in town for the Six Nations.

cheese dip with fresh chives on crackers on wooden board
Lyon’s famous Cervelle de Canut, a semi-cured cheese dip (Source: SNCF Connect)

Lyon is famous for a number of unique dishes which you will want to try while you’re in town. We’ve put together a short hit-list of some of our favorite unique Lyonnais dishes.

Salade LyonnaiseSalad with crisp lettuce, bacon cubes, croutons and a poached egg
Sauicisson de LyonThe special Lyon sausage, often served alongside potato gratin
QuenelleSemolina/flour combined with eggs, butter and milk. Often served with a crawfish or white creamy sauce.
Cervelle de canutA semi-cured cheese dip seasoned with spices, olive oil and vinegar (the perfect accompaniment to a round of drinks).
Tablier de sapeurMeat marinated in white wine and cooked in broth.

We know Six Nations fans don’t need much convincing to try out unique drinks. While in Lyon, we recommend tasting local wines from the nearby Côtes du Rhône and Beaujolais vineyards. And, of course, we all know France is home to some of the best beer in Europe.

The restaurants we have provided below all have English-speaking staff, but there’s nothing a bit of Google Translate can’t help with!

lyonnais sausage sliced with green chilli and knife on a wooden board with baking paper
The legendary Lyon saucisson (Source: SNCF Connect)

Breakfast and lunch

Les Cafetiers

Open from 9 am on Saturday and 10 am on Sunday, Les Cafetiers is the ideal spot to pick up an excellent cup of filtered coffee and the usual hipster brunch offerings: sandwiches, granola bowls. This is the perfect place to grab a quick bite in the morning.

Les Cafetiers usually have a fresh cake selection on display by the counter. If you’re craving something sweet in the morning, we love their lemon and chia seed cake!

Milk & Pug

Milk & Pug is open on weekends between 10 am and 6 pm. One of our favourites here is the Lovely Paella, but don’t stop there: make sure you check out the amazing desserts from local traders.

Be warned that their sweet dishes (pancakes, French toast) are very generous on the sugar! We certainly prefer their savoury options – especially the salted avocado and truffle mushroom pancakes!

This is the right stop for breakfast or lunch before you start drinking on Saturday!

Nataly’s Cafe

Looking to brunch the French way? Head to Nataly’s Cafe in the heart of Vieux Lyon for Lyon’s best crepes. With a huge selection of traditional French crepes (both sweet and savory), waffles and new, trendy egg waffles, Nataly’s is the perfect start to the day.

St. Antoine Food Market

Right in the heart of Lyon, St. Antoine is an extremely large food market with over 100 stalls. On the weekends, St. Antoine is extra busy with its extremely popular farmers market.

selection of cheese in france

Beyond local farm produce, St. Antoine’s has a great collection of food trucks and stalls selling everything from fresh pizza to delicious North African specialties.

St. Antoine is a great option for a quick lunch-on-the-go or if you want to pick up some light snacks to graze while you are pre-drinking on Saturday.

On both Saturday and Sunday, St. Antoine closes at 1 pm – so don’t get here too late.

Dinner

Les Adrets

Les Adrets is the quintessential Lyonnais restaurant: perfectly atmospheric and seasonal menu changes. Dinner seatings begin at 7:45 pm and you will want to make sure you have a reservation.

Les Adrets offer two set menu options: €33 or €50 per person. The menus differ on the number of plates, desserts and cheese (we are in France after all!). The menu changes regularly depending on the seasonal produce, but keep an eye open for their famed duck breast and roasted pears!

If you are looking for a more substantive lunch, Les Adrets also offer a great value lunch menu at €24 (with meat or fish).

Daniel et Denise

For more than 50 years, Daniel et Denise have been serving Lyonnais cuisine. If you are looking for a traditional restaurants, Daniel et Denise is unquestionably one of the best bouchons to try Lyon’s famed local cuisine.

With wood panelling, small artefacts hanging on the walls and white table-clothes, Daniel et Denise combine the finesse of Lyonnais dining with the warmth and smiles of Lyon. To really get into the heart of bouchon cuisine, you will want to be ordering the mushroom and liver pate and the legendary duck.

Daniel et Denise rarely have tables for walk-ins. Reserve ahead and if you can’t get a table, we recommend finding somewhere else for dinner.

Le Restaurant de Fourvière

If you’re celebrating a big win (or drowning your sorrows), you can’t go wrong with the Restaurant de Fourvière. Perched on the hill beside Lyon with the best views over Lyon, this restaurant is truly special – and local Lyonnais still go so you know it’s good.

The menu focuses on expertly prepared Lyonnais specialities. We wouldn’t normally recommend a restaurant for their salad, but wait until you have tried the salade lyonnaise.

salade lyonnaise with poached egg broken and yolk coming out over grilled bacon
You want to make sure you set aside time to try salade lyonnaise when in Lyon (Source: NYT Cooking)

To get here you will need to take the funicular Fourière (the cable car) – but that’s all part of the fun!

La Mère Jean

Looking to try traditional Lyonnais food without the hefty price tag? La Mère Jean is for you.

Operating since 1923, this very small bouchon offers a meat-heavy menu full of Lyonnais specialities. We absolutely love how cosy and local La Mère Jean feels. For good reason, this small restaurant is extremely popular with locals and you will need to reserve in advance.

meat in white source with fresh orange and green mint on top with freshly cracked pepper
Don’t forget to reserve ahead (Source: La Mère Jean)

Don’t order too much as you will want to save room for dessert. The chocolate cake with creme anglaise is the ideal way to finish your meal. But who knows if they will still be serving creme anglaise after the match…

Sweet Treat: Ice Cream

Terre Adélices

With over 150 flavors on offer, Terre Adélices is the most famous ice cream shop in Lyon. If you’re a traditionalist, you won’t be disappointed with the organic pistachio or Tahitian vanilla. But if you’re looking for something wild, Terre Adélices can help with wasabi or basil!

The best things to do in Lyon in between matches

We always say Lyon is like an easier, more manageable version of Paris. The main city centre is compact and walkable, the city rivals Paris for beauty and the locals are certainly friendlier!

Take advantage of your time before the game to explore Lyon.

1. Get lost in Vieux Lyon

Vieux Lyon, or the old town, is UNESCO World Heritage for its winding alleyways, full of medieval and Renaissance-era homes and shops. Once you arrive and get settled in Lyon, take some time to just explore the streets!

Make sure you don’t miss Lyon’s Romanesque Cathedral of St-Jean, parts of which were built in the 11th century.

In our opinion, rue du Boeuf, rue St-Jean and rue des Trois Maries are the prettiest streets in Vieux Lyon. Full of medieval homes, don’t forget to look up and see the gargoyles and other magnificent sculptures carved into the stone.

2. Take a short audio tour of Vieux Lyon

The history of Lyon is particularly interesting, and there is no better way to get to understand the local culture than through an audio tour of the city. From the medieval alleyways of Vieux Lyon to the development of the unique bouchon cuisine, Lyon will surprise and fascinate you!

3. Take the funicular up to Fourvière

Thousands of years ago, the Romans constructed an ancient city on the hill of Fourvière. Today, from Vieux Lyon you can take a little funicular to the top of Fourvière for the most magnificent view over Lyon.

view over lyon with cathedral and ferris wheel

The crown jewel of Lyon is the 19th century Basilique Notre Dame de Fourvière which sits atop the hill. Full of intricate mosaics and magnificent architectural features, you should not miss this church!

basilica in lyon at night with lights and gold statue
(Source: Explore France)

Travel tip: You can actually do a tour of the stone-sculpted rooftop of the Basilica!

4. Join an afternoon food tour

Lyon may have magnificent churches and sweeping views. But if you ask any French person, there is only one thing Lyon is known for: food!

selection of baked goods cakes french style quiche

The best way to get under the skin of Lyon’s unique cuisine is by taking an afternoon food tour. Here you will learn about the bouchon fare, the local spots for buying fresh produce and some of the stories behind Lyon’s famous chefs and restaurants.

5. Relax in the Place des Terreaux

Looking for a relaxed afternoon with some beers and mates? Take a seat at one of the many cafés lining Lyon’s beautiful Place des Terreaux.

chariots on horse fountain with french architecture in lyon

The star attraction here is the large four-horse chariot symbolising the rivers marching towards the ocean.

6. Try to find Lyon’s hidden traboules

Little traboules (secret passageways) wind between the apartment blocks, medieval homes and courtyards of Vieux Lyon. It is estimated that Lyon is home to over 300 traboules!

Some of the most famous traboules date back to Roman times, while others were used by resistance fighters in World War II. The most tourist-famous traboules is the one linking 27 rue St-Jean with 6 rue des Trois Maries. But for a more detailed exploration of these hidden passageways, you will almost certainly need to find a local!

6. Visit some of Lyon’s many museums

Like any good French city, you would need months to visit all of Lyon’s world class museums.

We love the Musée d’Art Contemporain for its edgy collection of post-1960 art. For a more traditional French art experience, the Musée des Beaux-Arts has an extensive collection of Monet, Matisee, Picasso and Rodin.

The Musée de la Civilisation Gallo-Romaine covers the huge collection of ancient Roman artefacts found across the Rhône Valley. Those traveling with children will be pleased to know that children are free to visit!

There is obviously so much more to do in Lyon if you have a bit more time, but we’ve handpicked the above to fit in with your Six Nations schedule.

Lyon by night

Lyon nightlife is known to begin in its pubs, bars and live-music venues and then continue to nightclubs as the night continues. With thousands descending on Lyon for the Six Nations, there is no better time to experience Lyon’s nightlife.

The pubs that we’ve mentioned above will be going late into the evening, but if you’re looking to experience more of Lyon’s nightlife, check out nightclubs like La Maison M (90s pop/hip hop), Le Sucre (techno), Sonic (80s/punk/rock) and La Petit Salon (techno/electric). With a huge student population, the nightlife options in Lyon are endless and many of these venues here will be open much later than the pubs.

Lyon for young families

If you’re taking kids to Lyon, you should take the kids to the Musée des Confluences, which is surely one of the most unique museums in the city. Through hands-on exhibits, the Musée des Confluences takes inquisitive kids on an interactive journey through the web of life. From animal mummies to dinosaur skeletons, this is one museum that will keep the kids occupied for hours!

Beyond Lyon

With some more time up your sleeve, Lyon is the ideal base for exploring France, one of our top countries to visit in 2024. Lyon is perfectly placed for a day trip into the mountains, or, better yet, the beautiful wine regions of the Rhône Valley.

sunset over paris and eiffel tower
Paris is always a good idea!

If you have another day or two to spare in Lyon, you can easily visit Paris, Marseille or Geneva (all are around two hours by train).

And really, the French countryside is itself part of the trip.

colored houses and boats in monaco
The beautiful coves of Monaco

But for the more unique and beautiful landscapes of France, you will need to plan for a few extra days. At this time of year the French Riviera is starting to defrost, making Nice the perfect base to explore the beautiful southern Riviera towns or try your hand in the casinos of Monaco.


Share This Article

Looking for the best comprehensive travel insurance? SafetyWing has you covered.
And for your eSIM in every country, there is only one option we recommend: Airalo.


Read more of our best insights from around the world