Lyon is one of those underrated cities (like Minneapolis *ahem*). People that live here love it and won't hesitate to tell you why--more on that in a minute. For everyone else, it's just a city you pass through on your way to where you're going.
I had a hard time finding my way around in the beginning. I still remember the first time I tried to meet up with some friends at a bar in Vieux Lyon. Now that I know where I'm going (most of the time), it takes me approximately 20 minutes to walk to the old town from my apartment. That night? I spent a good hour and a half wandering around the entire city before I finally found the bar. Wait, is that the Rhône or the Saône...
As I learned to navigate my way around the city, it started to grow on me for the same reasons the locals love it.
Most Lyonnais seem to have a small complex whenever Paris comes into the conversation. Here are the top 5 responses you'll get from almost anyone here comparing Lyon to Paris:
1. The weather is better. Paris is so gray! // Il fait plus beau ici.
2. Location, location, location. We're close to the mountains and the beach. The latter is debatable but we'll go with it. // On n'est pas loin des montagnes ni de la plage.
3. The people are nicer. Boutique owners in particular. I popped into a shop for the first time yesterday and literally talked to the owner for 30 minutes. Can't say that's ever happened to me in Paris. // Les gens sont plus sympas ici qu'à Paris.
4. The size is more manageable - not too big, not too small. There's still plenty to do (so many wine bars, so little time) but you don't spend your entire life in the metro. // C'est une ville plus abordable mais il y a quand même des choses à faire. Tu ne passes pas ta vie dans le metro pour aller au boulot.
5. It's affordable. The cost of living is at least 30 percent less than in Paris! That means more extra sou for shopping. // Il faut un gros salaire pour habiter à Paris. On vit bien à Lyon pour moins cher - le coût de la vie ici est 30 % de moins par rapport à celui de Paris!
My take on it? After living here for a year and a half, I can say it feels like home. And a beautiful one at that, n'est-ce pas?
Ps. Only in town for the weekend? Here's a 24-hour guide to Lyon.