Dreaming of life in the French countryside? Sitting at sidewalk cafes drinking local wine in the sunshine? Sounds pretty damn good.

Lyon may not be a capital city, but it does have plenty to offer. A perfect mixture between the buzz of metropolitan Paris and a smaller city vibe. Lyon has culture, beauty and personality in spades. Plus, its short commute times make it one of the most liveable cities in France. 

Introducing Lyon

As France’s third-biggest city, Lyon is a charming European city filled with historical and architectural landmarks. So much so, that it holds a UNESCO World Heritage Site status and attracts visitors looking to sample some of the finest French gastronomy. 

Escaping city life and heading into the country has never been easier with the Alps, Mediterranean and Beaujolais wine-lands only a stone’s throw away. 

What’s it Like to Work in Lyon?

Lyon may sound like a fantastic place for a holiday, but what’s it like to work and live there?

While Lyon only has a population of roughly 500,000, it ranks as the 2nd financial market in France and one of the top financial markets in Europe. And, the surrounding region boasts the 5th largest GDP in the EU. 

As French and global citizens continue to move to Lyon, it’s quickly developing a reputation of innovation, entrepreneurship and high quality of life. 

Meet Lyon Residents

Research from Financial Times ranks Lyon as the 2nd most popular French city for executives, only after Paris. Lyon also attracts a large population of foreign citizens, with 13% of residents coming from Africa and the EU. 

Companies Based in Lyon

Lyon is home to over 110,000 public and private companies including several large banking, chemical and biotech, and software firms. Non-French residents move here to work at companies like Renault and Interpol as well as at biotech leaders like Sanofi-Pasteur. Other notable companies include:

  • Biotech company Genzyme
  • Orphoz, a subsidiary of McKinsey 
  • Lyon's National Bank

With so many exciting business adventures, it’s not surprising that Lyon ranks 8th in the world for innovation and 9th best European city for entrepreneurs. It’s also achieved an impressively low unemployment rate at 0.7% lower than the national average. 

What’s it Like to Live in Lyon?

So, you’re convinced that Lyon has plenty to offer career-wise. But, what about personally? 

As one of France's most liveable cities, Lyon offers low living costs, reasonable property prices and four excellent universities -- if your older children want to come too. 

Property Prices

Even if you plan to move to Lyon for good, you’ll probably look at renting a property to begin with. Thankfully, renting is significantly cheaper in Lyon than major cities like London or Paris. Here’s what you can roughly expect to pay:

  • €592 (£527.55) for a one-bed apartment in central Lyon
  • €433 (£386) for a one-bed apartment outside the centre
  • €1300 (£1158) for a 3-bed apartment in the city centre
  • €940 (£834) for a 3-bed apartment outside the centre

When you’re ready to buy an apartment, prices for apartments start at roughly €3,000 to €4000 (£2673-3564) per square metre. Compared to Paris’ apartment prices of €9000 per sqm, Lyon looks very affordable. But, prices will probably go up as more people discover this hidden gem.

Living Costs: Dining Out

If you’re negotiating a salary, it’s helpful to know what you can expect to pay in living costs. How much will dining out at Lyon's delicious restaurants cost you? Can you afford to live the high-life?

Lyon certainly has an excellent culinary scene, but the restaurants are still relatively affordable. A basic meals out costs around €10 (£9) and a more upscale three-course dinner costs around €45 (£40).

Even when compared to Edinburgh and Glasgow, the cost of dining out in Lyon seems cheap.

Living Costs: Public Transport

While you can walk to most places in Lyon, especially if you live in the city centre, you might occasionally find yourself on public transport. A monthly metro/bus pass costs about €56 (£50) or €1.80 (£1.60) for a ticket.

Bringing the Family

If you’ve got a young family, you’ll want to think about their living standards too. Here’s what you need to know about moving to Lyon with your children.


The French government covers most health care costs, but as an expat you may still need health insurance. French health insurance is relatively affordable and is available for anyone with a full-time job or that’s lived in the country for five years. Even without insurance, health care costs won’t exactly break the bank with a normal GP visit only costing €7-20 (£6-13). 

French School System

In France, children start school at the age of six and receive free education. At secondary school, children attend four years of college and three years of lycee to prepare them for the university entrance exam. 

However, you may decide to send your children to an international school, especially if they don’t speak French. International schools have students from a diverse range of backgrounds and classes are normally taught in English. Lyon has several international schools including Ombrosa, The International School (CISL), and The International School of Lyon. 

Lyon also has four major universities: Université Claude Bernard Lyon, Université Lumière Lyon, Université Jean Moulin Lyon, and the École Normale Supérieure de Lyon. As home to over 130,000 university students, the city has a young hip vibe that encourages education and learning.

Ready to Move to Lyon?

We’re delighted to help expats find new, exciting career opportunities in Lyon. We currently have several audit and financial roles available in Lyon. Contact one of our dedicated recruitment consultants to learn more. 

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