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Living France - - Lifestyle -

Lyon may be France’s third largest city after Paris and Mar­seille, but it ar­guably of­fers the same qual­ity of life as many of its smaller towns and vil­lages.

Si­t­u­ated at the con­flu­ence of the Saône and Rhône rivers, the cap­i­tal of the Au­vergne-Rhône-Alpes re­gion is fa­mous the world over for its food. Boast­ing some 2,000 restau­rants, many of them hold­ing Miche­lin stars, Lyon com­fort­ably lives up to its rep­u­ta­tion as the gas­tro­nomic cap­i­tal of France. Yet de­spite its cel­e­brated haute cui­sine scene, it is the city’s clas­sic bou­chons (bistros serv­ing up tra­di­tional, time­less dishes) that have re­ally earned Lyon its po­si­tion as the heart­land of French cook­ing. It’s here in th­ese cosy, charm­ing lit­tle eater­ies where hearty dishes sit atop red-and-white checked table­cloths that the lo­cals come to­gether to eat and drink.

If your in­ten­tion is to not only eat but cook better when you move to France, you’ll have no ex­cuse not to do so in Lyon as ev­ery one of the city’s nine ar­rondisse­ments has its own food mar­ket. There is also the city cen­tre Marché St-An­toine with over 100 ven­dors and the fa­mous Les Halles de Lyon Paul Bo­cuse in­door mar­ket, where you can pick up the very best pro­duce for the week ahead be­fore sit­ting down to a long, lazy Sun­day brunch.

But there’s plenty more to do in Lyon be­sides win­ing and din­ing, as you’ll find in many of the city’s dis­tinct lit­tle pock­ets. The city’s new­est neigh­bour­hood, the Con­flu­ence area, where the two rivers meet, is en­joy­ing a new-found buzz. Once an in­dus­trial dis­trict, a multi-mil­lion euro project has trans­formed the area into a trend­set­ting hot spot, pop­u­lated with en­vi­ron­men­tally friendly, out­landish build­ings, a shop­ping com­plex and a rock­climb­ing cen­tre.

The area is also home to the sta­teof-the-art metal and glass Musée des Con­flu­ences that houses a sci­en­tific and an­thro­pol­ogy col­lec­tion and a con­verted sugar ware­house where you can en­joy a cock­tail on the rooftop bar. Work to make the area more live­able is cur­rently un­der­way and the en­tire project – which will in­clude a res­i­den­tial and mar­ket dis­trict – is due to be com­pleted in 2020.

There is a feel­ing that while some parts of Lyon will never change, other parts are con­stantly evolv­ing, a dy­namic that make it an ex­cit­ing place to live, says ex­pat Sophia Marci An­der­son.

“I love liv­ing in Lyon; it’s such a vi­brant and dy­namic city,” she en­thuses. “It’s big enough that there’s al­ways some­thing hap­pen­ing: new ex­hi­bi­tions, new restau­rants, new events, but it never feels hec­tic – there’s still the French joie de vivre. The city it­self is beau­ti­ful, the two rivers each have their own charm, and the dif­fer­ent ar­rondisse­ments feel quite dis­tinct. Be­ing a busi­ness hub, there’s also a sub­stan­tial English-speak­ing com­mu­nity,” she says.

In­deed, the city is known for be­ing very busi­ness friendly and as such, is a pop­u­lar place for ex­pats who are con­sid­er­ing set­ting up a busi­ness in France. There is also the added bonus that Lyon is an ideal base to ex­plore other Euro­pean spoils. The Alps are within easy reach and a 90-minute drive will take you to the beaches of the Mediter­ranean Sea.

“I love that we’re not too far from the moun­tains,” says Sophia, who of­ten goes on hik­ing and camp­ing trips just a short dis­tance away from her beloved Lyon.

Top: Rooftop view of Lyon Left: Lyon’s con­tem­po­rary Con­flu­ence dis­trict is a mul­ti­mil­lion euro ur­ban re­newal project boast­ing hous­ing and shops Bot­tom: Église St-Ge­orges on the banks of the Saône

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