QS Staff Writer

Updated July 12, 2021 Updated July 12

QS Best Student Cities ranking: 50th

Lyon is known as the gastronomic capital of France – which is really saying something – and is positioned at the picturesque confluence of the Rhône and Saône rivers, with a charming medieval center that is beautifully illuminated after dark.

It is also home to one of the nation's top institutions, Ecole Normale Supérieure de Lyon (ranked fifth in France and joint 160th in the world), plus four others included in the QS World University Rankings® 2020.

As you would expect, Lyon has a buzzing student scene, and it’s also known for offering a very high quality of life, but with significantly lower living costs than the French capital. With relatively low tuition fees at French universities, this makes Lyon one of the best value destinations in the QS Best Student Cities ranking.

When asked to name the best things about Lyon, one respondent to our student survey said the city has a “great diversity of students from all over the world, [and] exciting nightlife.” 

Another commented, “It's a small city but a big European hub, full of great industry, great culture, great music...”

Are you studying in Lyon? Share your experience.

Internationally ranked universities in Lyon

Ecole Normale Supérieure de LyonInstitut National des Sciences Appliquées de Lyon (INSA); Université Claude Bernard Lyon 1Université Lumière Lyon 2

More about Lyon

Number of universities ranked by QS


Highest-ranked institution

Ecole Normale Supérieure de Lyon (=160th)



Average international fees (at ranked unis)


Desirability rank


Employer Activity rank


Affordability rank


Student View rank


To find out how each of the above categories is calculated, 
view the methodology.

This article was originally published in November 2015 . It was last updated in January 2020

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