3 secret places for your countryside fix near Lyon

Fancy a breath of fresh air just a stone's throw from Lyon's Place Bellecour? From a cabin perched in the trees of a chateau to a 'country house in the city' and a classroom that's become a cosy cocoon under the playground plane trees, here are three secret spots to escape to the wild around Lyon. A city break doesn't have to be all urban jungle...

Perch up in a cabin in the trees at Lyon Country House

Sleeping perched in the trees close to the city centre? At Lyon Country House, you're served the great outdoors at the heart of the city! Between centuries-old cedars and stone basins, you can play explorers in the three-hectare park where a historic chateau stands. And enjoy your own green bubble in the accommodation, each one designed as a micro-paradise: a country-house-style watchtower, intimate suites or a luxurious wooden treehouse with a view of the Saône. When it comes to dinner time, everything's provided: just cross the river to treat yourself to a gourmet meal at Auberge Paul Bocuse. In the past, the chef came to pick his wild garlic on the estate.

Lyon Country House (External link)

Sleep in an old village school at La Maison d'Ambronay

Hopscotch, the white lines of a playground and a large blackboard hanging under the plane trees in the courtyard... in the village of Ambronay on the Route du Jura, the old primary school has metamorphosed into a chic, vintage guest house, where every detail is a nod to its origins. There are clothes hooks, desks and world maps in the common spaces, from the entrance through to the kitchen-dining room. And in the bedrooms (previously extra-large classrooms), unusual objects such as rulers and pencil cases can be found dotted around, like sweets at break time!

La Cauvinière: country in the city

The country in the city? La Cauvinière, a 3-épis gîte, is not exactly an isolated utopia - it's a stone's throw from the Fourvière basilica and Gallo-Roman sites - but it honours the village spirit of the Saint-Just district. It boasts a large garden where you can enjoy breakfast in the sunshine next to the old restored washhouse, a family suite nestled under the second-floor mansard roof, and a passionate host who paints, photographs, gardens and talks effusively of Lyon. Enjoy wandering the city 'traboules' (passageways) and stairs all day, before retiring to a green haven in the evening.

La Cauvinière (External link)