Marypop welcomes you to Lyon! Leaving your country with your family to settle abroad is not an easy mission but you are not alone: we are here to guide you in this adventure!
Beyond a great professional opportunity for you, expatriation is also a very important experience for your children who will learn and grow a lot during your time abroad. Learning a foreign language, discovering a new culture, the open-mindedness of such an experience is very enriching for your family and will bring you a lot of memories. We wish you many happy years of expatriation in the land of good wines and croissants and that you have an incredible stay in the Capital of the Gauls.
The city of Lyon
France’s second largest conurbation with approximately 2 million inhabitants, located at the confluence of the Rhône and Saône rivers, Lyon is an European-scale metropolis rich in history and culture and attracts many expatriates every year. A major economic centre in France, Lyon is the capital of the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region which is located in a strategic part of the territory: between the French Riviera and the Alps, 2 hours by train from Paris and close to the border with Switzerland and Italy. A real rallying point between the North and South of Europe, the town maintains its status as an economic and commercial crossroads.
Lyon, the capital of gastronomy, has a foreign population of around 20%. It is therefore an international city, located at a crossroads where the cultures of the inhabitants and tourists mix: English, Portuguese, Italians, Germans, Chinese… are just some of the nationalities represented in Lyon, among many others!
From its foundation in 43 BC to the present day, Lyon has been shaped over time and the city’s districts witness to this evolution. Formerly known as Lugdunum (which means Hill of Lights) was for centuries the Capital of the Gauls. Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1998, Lyon’s 4 historic districts cover 500 hectares and will take you back in time.
If you come from the southern hemisphere of the planet and you are used to a tropical climate, you should know that in France the climate is temperate which means that the seasons of the year are very marked. Indeed, in winter the temperatures can be negative between December and February (between -7° and 7° degrees celsius). In summer, the scorching heat invades Lyon and temperatures can reach up to forty degrees Celsius between June and August. Spring and autumn are marked by pleasant temperatures around ten or twenty degrees celsius.
For more practical information on how to get to Lyon from Saint-Exupéry airport or by train for example, read this article.
Things to do in Lyon: discover history and beauty with your family during your expatriation
Lyon’s must-see attractions
The city’s majestic basilica, Notre Dame de Fourvière is a must when talking about Lyon. From the esplanade of the basilica, you can also enjoy a panoramic view of Lyon ! Take the opportunity to visit the remains of the Gallo-Roman Theater, the oldest in France located 5 minutes walk from the Cathedral. To get to the Hill of Fourvière, you can take the funicular at the Vieux Lyon station: children will love it !
The splendid district of Vieux Lyon is one of the largest Renaissance style complexes in Europe and a UNESCO World Heritage Site: its unique charm fascinates tourists from all over the world ! Take advantage of your stroll to admire the Saint-Jean-Baptiste Cathedral, as well as the traboules (interior passages that allow you to go from one street to another, crossing one or more buildings). Take the opportunity to visit the Museum of Miniature and Cinema with more than 120 miniature scenes and 450 mythical filming objects revealing the special effects techniques of our major film studios, especially fascinating for the kids !
The city centre is located on the Presqu’île, between the Rhône and the Saône rivers. In the heart of the city centre you will find the Place Bellecour, the Place Jacobins, the shopping streets Victor Hugo and République, the town hall which is located at the Place des Terreaux and the Lyon Opera House. Enjoy the time of an afternoon for this stroll.
The Institut Lumière of Lyon is the perfect place for movie lovers: discover the beginnings of the 7th Art and learn more about the Lumière brothers!
The Parc de la Tête d’or is the largest public park in France and the real green lung of the city! Very popular with the people of Lyon, it’s a wonderful place to relax and ideal for family walks. The Lyon Zoo is also located in the park. It is free and hosts many preserved species.
Take the opportunity to enjoy a speciality of Lyon’s gastronomy: its cultural heritage is present in the traditional restaurants : Bouchons Lyonnais! Don’t forget to taste the famous “Tarte aux Pralines“, children will love its cream filling and pretty pink pralines!
You are already settled in Lyon and need some time to yourself after the moving period? Or maybe a little time for two without the children? What if one of our bilingual baby-sitters looks after your children occasionally so that you can enjoy the move without them too?
More than 300 Marypop baby-sitters of different nationalities are available on our website, speaking more than 20 different languages: English, Portuguese, Chinese, Spanish, Italian… You can choose a baby-sitter who speaks your child’s language to make him/her feel more comfortable after moving to Lyon or a bilingual baby-sitter to introduce him/her to the language of Molière in a playful and natural way at home!
Events to enjoy
The Festival of Lights is held every year on December 8 and gives rise to the illumination of heritage sites and landscapes with projections that colour the buildings and monuments of the city. At night, the inhabitants of the City of Lights place candles at their windows. The Festival of Lights takes place over a period of four days, during which several million people will wander through the illuminated streets. The city has worshipped the Virgin Mary since the Middle Ages when the south of France was hit by the plague and the city of Lyon was spared.
July 14th is the National Day which celebrates the storming of the bastille which took place in 1789 and the French revolution. In Lyon, the celebration is enlivened by fireworks that draw and colour the sky under the Fourvière cathedral. The population gathers on the banks of the Saône to admire the spectacle.
The Fête de la musique (Music Festival) takes place on June 21st to celebrate the arrival of summer all over France. The festivities take place free of charge throughout the city: enjoy them without moderation! Lyon’s youth fill the streets of the city with music and good humour to enjoy the warm weather together.
Settling in: choosing the ideal neighbourhood for your family
Where do I set up?
2nd district: Located in the Presqu’île, this district is characterized above all by its luxurious shops as well as its famous places such as the Place Bellecour and the Perrache bus station. In the 2nd arrondissement is Ainay, a district where the Lyon bourgeoisie lives for the most part. There is also the Confluence district which is one of the most modern places in Lyon, located at the mouth of the Rhône and the Saône rivers. With its 4-star shopping centre and its museum of natural history, anthropology, societies and civilizations.
3rd district : The business district ” Part Dieu ” is very lively with its shopping centre and is one of the economic lungs of Lyon.
4th district : La Croix-Rousse nicknamed ” the mountain that works “, in reference to the Lyon canuts, it is opposed to “the hill that prays” – Fourvière. The district is deeply marked by its past as a major centre of the silk industry. Its slopes fascinate by its steep alleys, an area of rich and varied culture. Located in the north of the city, you will find the gourmet restaurants and the famous cafés – theatres.
5th district : If you are going as a tourist and don’t know where to live in Lyon, this district would suit you perfectly. It is located in the west of the city, around the banks of the Saône, and has the advantage of having in its heart “Vieux Lyon“, the touristic and very historic district, the Fourvière hill with the Notre-Dame de Fourvière Cathedral at its head.
6th district : It is a quiet place to live with your family but has no shortage of prestigious bars and restaurants in Les Brotteaux, its most chic district. Nearby, the Parc de la Tête d’Or animates the district with its splendid nature.
7th district: Composed of a cosmopolitan population (Indian, Chinese, North African…), it is a real scientific center. From the Halle Tony-Garnier to the Gerland Stadium, this district is dedicated to scientific, cultural and sports activities.
How do I get settled?
By joining Sojoourn’s expatriate community, you have all the support you need to settle in Lyon. With the help of the Expat Agency, they will help you find your new home in the former capital of the Gauls: https://fr.sojoourn.fr/relocation.
French courses for you and your family
With Sojoourn, you will also find excellent French language teachers specially designed for foreigners like you and your partner!
You can also initiate your children to the French language in a completely natural way with a young native Lyonnais to teach them the language of Molière in a dynamic way through games and other fun activities at home. To find the rare pearl, consult this link.
Bilingual schools for your children in Lyon and its surroundings
A crucial part for expatriate families with children is finding a school for their children. Here we will help you to find the ideal school for your child, for this we have an article entirely dedicated to bilingual and/or international schools in Lyon and its surroundings. We invite you to discover it to have complete information about the schools: their teaching methods, the languages spoken, the number of students and the admission procedures.
To better adapt…
Language activities for your children & activities with other expatriates
Your children are beginning to speak several languages and you have many questions? Do your children refuse to speak any of the languages? How can you make your children want to speak all languages at home? Marypop clients, La Maison du Multilinguisme offers you a free diagnosis of your family’s linguistic situation thanks to a special code. For more information, visit: https://www.lamaisondumultilinguisme.net/
You can also join the network of foreigners in Lyon to exchange directly with other expatriates during events organized by Sojoourn. For more information, visit: https://fr.sojoourn.fr/events
Join expat groups on Facebook
On the Mark Zuckerberg’s social network, you will find a multitude of groups where other expat families can share their experiences and exchange valuable tips for a successful relocation. Do not hesitate to visit: Expats Life in France and Expats living in France.
Testimony of a Brazilian expatriate who lived 3 years in Lyon with his family
“I moved to Lyon in 2015 with my wife and two daughters aged 8 and 15. Adaptation is not an easy process but living this expatriation experience has been incredibly enriching for my wife and me but even more so for my children who are developing their culture and open-mindedness in addition to learning a foreign language. I highly recommend the city of Lyon as it is very friendly and lively, ideal for living with your family. “Alexandre Coimbra.
You have just arrived in Lyon and you need a better balance between work and your personal life? Or your partner wants to work too but has to take care of the children? A Marypop babysitter can look after your children in their mother tongue while you work! We pick up your child from school and bring them safely home and look after them while you come home from work!
Hoping that this guide has been helpful, the Marypop team wishes you a wonderful expatriation in the capital of gastronomy and know that we are here to make this experience more serene for your children and totally happy for your whole family!