Lyon sits about 300 miles southeast of Paris and 200 miles northeast of Marseille. Because the city is relatively far inland, temperatures here are a bit cooler than the rest of France, but it’s still pretty temperate. Even in the dead of winter, it averages between 32 and 43 degrees.
In fact, winter can be a lovely time to visit Lyon, especially if your visit coincides with the Fête des Lumières—or Festival of Lights—when nearly every household in the city places candles along the outsides of its windows in honor of the Virgin Mary. The tradition usually lasts for four days, around December 8th, and has been held since 1643, when Lyon was hit by the plague and its residents begged the Virgin Mary for mercy. Today, it is celebrated with an elaborate light display at the Basilica of Fourvière and culminates in a light show at the Place des Terreaux.
Lyon is certainly lovely in the spring, summer and fall, too. Temperatures start to warm up in May, averaging between 50 and 68 degrees. By July, average temperatures can rise as high as 80 degrees. When autumn creeps in, it cools down a bit, with averages between 47 and 62 degrees in October. And there’s another advantage of visiting Lyon during this warm stretch: It’s not as overrun as other French cities. During July and August, when millions of locals and tourists clog up the hotels and resorts along the coast, Lyon is a lot quieter.