Some say that the best things in life are free. This is very much the case in Lyon. A free park boasting botanical gardens and a free zoo? Surely not. Well, that is the case right here at Parc de la Tête d’Or.
On a beautiful sunny day in eastern France, we headed from our base at Sans Souci to Brotteaux metro stop. From there, it’s an easy 10 minute walk to the park down the Boulevard de Belges.
Outside the park, you can rent bicycles. This is a popular option with many of the locals. Entering from the Avenue Verguin side of the park, our first port of call was to the Botanical Gardens.
When the sun is shining and the birds are tweeting, there’s no better time to be strolling around admiring the beautiful array of flowers in the garden. The gardens do occupy a large area of the park so you will need a decent amount of time to get around.
Further on from the gardens, you will come face to face with a bear. This signifies that you have now entered the zoo. It’s hard to believe that an attraction like this is free of charge but it is exactly that. There are so many animals to see including giraffes, crocodiles, zebras and lions.
Other features of the park include a lake which hires out pedalos. The lake itself is beautiful and in keeping with the tranquil nature of the park. Sadly on our visit the pedalos were not being hired out but during the summer months, expect to find them in action.
Beside the lake, there is a small cafe serving food such as waffles, crepes and baguettes. We did find this place quite expensive though. It’s worth noting that on the streets around the park, you can easily find supermarkets that are a lot cheaper.
For a free attraction, in particular for families, this is a great way to spend an afternoon. I have never come across a free zoo before on my travels, nor one with such happy animals. The gardens equally so are a pleasure to walk around.
Parc de la Tête d’Or is rightly up there with the top attractions in the city, such as Fourviere. A wide open space to relax and escape the busy life of the city. This is a real gem right in the heart of Lyon.
Opening Times: Daily 0630-2230
Nearest Metro: Brotteaux