Starting at the Pointe de la Confluence at the southern tip of Lyon’s peninsula, or Presqu’île, enjoy the otherworldly park laid out here between Saône and Rhône, overseen by the futuristic Musée des Confluences, containing fascinating, beautifully displayed, diverse collections covering the planet, human societies and space.
Head north through the contemporary Confluence quarter, where former dock buildings stand side by side with funky new constructions and water gardens.
Reaching Vieux Lyon, you’ll feel like you’ve travelled back in time, particularly around St John’s Cathedral. Beyond the churches and museums, enjoy the cobbled streets here, the traboules (secretive passageways linking them) and traditional restaurants, the bouchons lyonnais.
Continuing up the Saône, the banks are lined with fine colourful façades as you head to l’île Barbe, the island marking the start of a less urban stretch of route.
Admire the highly-decorated façade of the famed Bocuse gastronomic restaurant at Collonges-au-Mont-d’Or. Then, at the next bridge to the north, cross riverbanks for fine views of the Monts d’Or hills. Take a break at a guinguette at Rochetaillée-sur-Saône and visit the Musée de l’Automobile, with its remarkable collection of old cars, motorbikes and bicycles, displayed in a splendid château.
Next, follow the river upstream to the Parcieux lock-keeper’s house, where you can learn more about the old dam here and the wider history of river navigation. Enjoy a visit to the old town of Trévoux, once capital of the Principality of Dombes. Continue on to Montmerle-sur-Saône.