Lyon’s beer-thirsty students keep the scene lively and the bars and clubs pumping at weekends. Vieux Lyon has an extraordinary concentration of British and Irish pubs. For offbeat bars, scout out alternative Croix Rousse.

Many establishments start as a relaxed place for a drink (and often serve food, too), morphing into jam-packed bars and/or live-music and dancing venues as the night wears on.

Feature: Péniches

Along quai Victor Augagneur on the Rhône's left bank, a string of péniches (barges with onboard bars) serve drinks from mid-afternoon onwards, with many of them rocking until the wee hours with DJs and/or live bands. To study your options, stroll the quayside between Pont Lafayette and Pont de la Guillotière.

Feature: LGBT Lyon

Declared France's most gay-friendly city in 2014 by the magazine Têtu, Lyon has scads of venues.

Guys' favourite places to party include United Café, Le XS Bar, L'Imperial and the city's oldest gay bar, La Ruche. Lesbian venues are limited to Le L Bar. For up-to-the-minute listings, visit the website Hétéroclite (, or check with the Centre LGBTI de Lyon, which organises social events.

Lyon's Lesbian & Gay Pride march and festivities hit the streets each year in June. In March, the city hosts a popular week-long LGBT film festival, Écrans Mixtes.