Tunnel de la Croix Rousse – Modes Doux, Lyon, France
One of Lyon’s many little-known secrets is the Tunnel de la Croix Rousse. Tunnels and passageways have a long history in Lyon, with the most famous being the traboules of Vieux Lyon and Croix Rousse (sort of interior passages used to transport silk and other textiles without going outside). The Tunnel de Croix Rousse – passing underneath the historic neighbourhood – was originally opened to motor vehicles in 1952. It wasn’t until much later, in 2013, that the pedestrianised tunnel was opened – just in time for the renowned Fête des Lumières, an amazing lights festival held over several days in December every year. But even when it’s not the Fête des Lumières, the whole length of the Tunnel de la Croix Rousse plays host to animations, colours, and short films projected on the walls and ceiling of this long pedestrian tunnel. For a city that prides itself on films, cameras, tunnels (or passages) and imagination, the Tunnel de la Croix Rousse is the perfect combination. Traversing this tunnel is far more than for getting from point A to point B – it is a veritable work of art, bringing the viewer into the heart of the city.
Pro tip: At 1.8 kilometres long (roughly 1 mile), biking through the tunnel is perhaps the easiest way to enjoy the show – walking will take about 25 mins. You can rent a city bike from any of the hundreds of stations of the Velo’V all around the city at a very reasonable daily rate. Learn more about the tunnel here. Animations from 16h to 20h on weekdays and from 14h to 20h on weekends.
The Austrian capital is beautiful under a dappled sunrise, on a canvas of blue sky, even misted in soft rain. But perhaps Vienna’s loveliest time of day is by night, when the city comes alive with lights of all shapes and sizes. The ancient palaces and churches of Vienna are illuminated in multi-coloured brilliance. Cafes and restaurants spill brightness onto the pavement, streetlights bathe ancient cobblestones in soft yellow lamplight, and pop-up markets exude a soft glow. Vienna comes alive in the evening – people pour out of the Opera, they frequent the crowded markets, stroll down romantic alleys, enjoy evening meals on cafe terraces, sit in the lamplight on the Danube, or share drinks and cigarettes in the floodlight of the city’s many bars. This is not a place where one should have a healthy fear of the dark; rather, Vienna is place where night is the time to socialise. The Austrian capital is a place to embrace the night as you enjoy its many wonders. Seen here is Karlskirche, an 18th-century Baroque wonder, found just outside the famous Ringstrausse of central Vienna.
Pro tip: Visit Vienna in December for its amazing decorations and Christmas markets located all over the city centre!
Cities by night are highly underrated. The same could be said for cities in the small hours of the morning. Night – and by extension early morning – somehow seem ‘bad’ – the immoral dark hours where indecency and ugliness show their teeth. Nights are cold, dark, empty. At night, ‘good’ people are snuggly asleep in their warm beds because everyone knows that bad things happen at night – mostly because ‘bad’ people come out at night. Or so we’re taught. And in some ways, this is true (crime rates, for example, go infinitely up at night). But the rewards for staying up late or getting out of bed early are worth it. Whether we want to be reminded at how big the galaxies are, we are astronomy geeks, or we simply want to see the world in a new perspective, travelling destinations by night is a unique way to get to know a place. Torino, for example, is an entirely different city by night. The cool, Alpine air whistles through the empty streets, each monument, church or palace strategically lit up. The streets are clear and quiet – quite the change from the Italian hustle and bustle typically filling Torino’s city centre. First, enjoy the quietness of an empty city, then enjoy the stars as they spread across the sky, and finally, the best part: enjoy the dawn painting across the canvas of a new day breaking.
More than 100 kilometres (60+ miles!) snake their way in, around, and through the historic city of Amsterdam. Known throughout the world for hookers and weed, there is far more to this city than just that. Amsterdam is one of Europe’s great capitals and it isn’t afraid to show it. It is made up of 100+ kilometres of canals, 90+ islands, 1,500+ bridges and countless of the famed Hanseatic facades. Its geography means that it is a compact city – growing up rather than out. When people move into the upper floors of apartments, it’s usually easier to carry large furniture up through the window via a crane rather than up the winding, narrow staircases. Yes, many people come here for the Red Lights and the weed cafes, but if you can pull yourself away, go for an evening stroll through the backstreets and back canals – there, you will see the ‘real’ Amsterdam, the behind-the-curtain Amsterdam. Catch a glimpse of what the city really is – a work of art created and constructed around miles of glittering and glimmering canals.