Fitness and exercise in Lyon

Exercise may be necessary when in Lyon- those crepes and cheese come at a calorific price! I only wish somebody had told me this when I actually lived in the city… I still have the added “fluff” as a bittersweet souvenir of my glorious time spent there.

Lyon has plenty of parks to walk/run/cycle in. The most significant of which is Parc de la Tete D’Or.  It’s the largest park in Europe (around 300 acres). It’s located in the centre of the city and also compromises a free zoo! There are a few lakes in the park so it’s sure to be a scenic exercising session. There are other smaller parks in the city- Parc Blandan and Parc de Gerland to name but a few. If you prefer exercise to be of the lighter variety, I recommend challenging yourself walking up the hill to the Basilica or to the Croix Rousse. Bon courage!


Running along the Rhone is probably the most popular means of exercising in Lyon. Indeed, you may have the pleasure of the company of an elderly running enthusiast who frequents the Rhone river and even has a Facebook page dedicated to him. A good idea is to run from the Confluence into the city centre, but of course run to wherever suits your ability.

The organisiation “DIMFIT” has free exercise classes around Lyon. The catch? They’re only held on Sunday mornings. You can find out more information here, but the classes are usually zumba, boxfir or aerobics.

Bootcamp: A bootcamp is held in the Parc de la Tete D’Or. It costs €10 per session and I’ve never actually went as I never received any confirmation that there was a defibrillator in the vicinity, or a trained paramedic. You get the picture.

Gym classes: There are pay as you go gym classes offered in various gyms throughout the city. A lot of these are only available for gym subscriptions, but many offer a “cours d’essai” for a low price. Some examples are boxing  which costs €10, dance which costs €5 or a mixture of classes here . The above gyms also have affordable enough membership for the year if you’re going to be living there. There is also Crossfit for €20 per drop in session. Some universities (such as Lyon 3) have a gym and classes for around €30 for the year. Who said going to university class in France had to be of the academic variety?

Swimming:  Lyon is blessed with an outdoor swimming pool located by the Rhone river in the summertime. It’s always packed with people and is definitely worth a visit. There are twelve other indoor pools- check them out here.

If you’re staying in Lyon for a while, try joining the Irish gaelic football team. They have tournaments all over France and have a lively social scene! Find out more here. There is also an Australian Rules team- find out more here!

Good luck- you might even get a Facebook page dedicated to you. 😉


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