Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes Planning

How to Get to Lyon (Lyon Transportation Guide)


Article written by Elisa - Travel Writer & Local in France
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Visit Lyon, France

The beautiful city of Lyon is the capital of the region of Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes and one of the most beautiful cities in France. Lyon is an amalgamation of stunning architectural gems, cultural attractions, and incredible food. Actually, Lyon is known as the gastronomic capital of France!

Lyon is also an excellent base to visit other places nearby. The French Alps are around two hours’ drive from Lyon, and, in the summertime, the lavender fields of Provence are even closer.

If Lyon wasn’t exciting enough already, the city will host some football matches at the Summer Olympics 2024 and some rugby matches at the Rugby World Cup France 2023. If you want to visit Lyon during your next trip to France, this is your Lyon transportation guide to learn how to get to Lyon from Paris, other Olympic cities in France, and abroad.  

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How to Get to Lyon from Abroad

1. Direct Flights to Lyon – Lyon By Plane

The city’s main international airport is Lyon-Saint-Exupéry Airport (LYS), located around 30 km east of downtown Lyon. Lyon-Saint-Exupéry Airport has direct flights to more than 40 countries as well as many flights with connections.

There are direct international flights to Europe (U.K., Spain, Germany), Africa (Morocco, Senegal, Algeria, Tunisia), Canada (Montreal), and Asia (Turkey, Armenia). Flights with just one connection can be taken from many other places around the world, including the United States – Click here to book your flight tickets to Lyon

Lyon-Saint-Exupéry is well connected to the city by public transport. If you want to find out more information about getting to the city, check out this website.

For those arriving in Lyon with lots of luggage or in large groups, it may be best to take a private transfer. We like Welcome Pickups‘ services for private transfers from Lyon Airport to the city; Welcome has good cars and the best English-speaking drivers in Lyon. 

2. Trains to Lyon – Lyon By Train

Lyon has three main train stations: Lyon Part-Dieu, Lyon Perrache, and the TGV Station at Lyon Saint-Exupéry. The first two stations are in Lyon’s city center, while the TGV Station at Lyon Saint-Exupéry is located at Lyon’s Airport.

These train stations connect Lyon with the rest of France and Europe. You can travel from Paris to Lyon in roughly two hours, three hours from Lille, and under two hours from Marseille.

Getting to Lyon from other European countries in a relatively short time is also possible. You can travel to Lyon directly from Switzerland (Geneva) in around two hours, from Belgium (Brussels) in less than four hours, from Germany (Frankfurt) in about six hours, and from Italy (Milan) in under five hours.

You can travel to Lyon from many other destinations, but these require train changes.

If this is your first time traveling around France by train, check out our quick guide to train travel in France to get familiar with the different train options – Click here to book your train tickets to Lyon

3. Buses to Lyon – Lyon By Bus

It isn’t our top recommendation to take the bus to Lyon, but if you are on a budget, Lyon by bus can be a good option. Lyon’s main bus station is Gare SNCF De Lyon Perrache, the city’s busiest terminal.

It is possible to travel from Victoria Station in London to Lyon by bus. The journey, which is around 12 hours long, is run by Eurolines coaches. You can travel to Lyon by bus from a variety of other destinations, including Venice (around 11 hours), Milan (under 5 hours), and Prague (around 16 hours) – Click here to book your bus tickets to Lyon

How to Get to Lyon from Paris

Lyon is a beautiful city well worth a short trip from Paris if you have a few spare days in the French capital. A trip from Paris to Lyon is super easy to organize, making it an excellent destination for a weekend getaway (check out this Lyon itinerary for two days).

If you want to visit France in 2024 for the Summer Olympics, consider visiting Lyon for some of the preliminary matches and then traveling from Lyon to Paris for the finals.

In any case, here’s how to get from Paris to Lyon:

1. Lyon from Paris by Plane

While it’s not recommended to fly from Paris to Lyon because it’s not environmentally friendly and the travel time is relatively long (because of check-in and time to reach the airport), you can still travel by plane.

There are, on average, 30 flights per day from Paris to Lyon, but some of these have connections. For direct flights, Air France is the main carrier, and flights are just over an hour long – Click here to buy your flight tickets from Paris to Lyon

2. Lyon from Paris by Train

Getting from Paris to Lyon by train is direct and fast. Most of the trains from Paris to Lyon are operated by SNCF and depart from Paris-Gare-de-Lyon to arrive at Gare de Lyon-Part-Dieu. The journey time is usually around two hours.

There are other operators like Trenitalia with similar journey times. SNCF also operates trains to Lyon from Bercy station, but they take around 5 hours – Click here to buy your train tickets from Paris to Lyon

3. Lyon from Paris by Bus

For those who want to save a bit of money, taking the bus from Paris to Lyon is also an option. Traveling with Flixbus is the most popular choice for reaching Lyon.

There are, on average, around 15 buses a day from Paris to Lyon Perrache bus station. Most buses depart from Paris Bercy Seine, while some depart from Paris Pont de Levallois. Getting to Lyon from Paris by bus takes around six hours, with some buses being about five and a half hours – Click here to buy your bus tickets from Paris to Lyon 

How to Travel from Lyon to Other Olympic Cities

Though the 2024 Summer Olympics will be based in Paris, there will be other cities in France that help to host certain events. The football Olympic events, for example, will be hosted across six stadiums in Bordeaux, Nates, Saint-Etienne, Nice, Marseille, and Lyon.

It might be that you want to attend multiple matches and therefore travel between different Olympic cities. Check out the information below on the best way to travel from Lyon to these French Olympic cities.

The train is the best way to travel from Lyon to the other Paris Olympic cities. Significant time differences between the two cities are due to the type of train (TGV-high-speed trains vs. TER-regional trains).

1 change
5 hrs 30 min
Bordeaux Travel Hub
5 hrs 30 min to 6 hrs 30 min
Nantes Travel Hub
1 hr 45 min to 4 hrs
1 hr
Saint-Etienne Travel Hub
4 hrs 40 min
4 hrs 30 min to 4 hrs 15 min
Lille Travel Hub

With more time available, you can consider this ultimate French road trip which covers all the French Olympic Cities (well, except Tahiti! ;-)). If you don’t have a car in France, you can rent one in Lyon with Check out our best tips for renting a car in France.

So there you have it, the Lyon transportation guide with everything you need to know on how to get to Lyon from Paris, France, or abroad smoothly.

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