Spurs started the game extremely brightly, with Kyle Walker and Aaron Lennon linking-up well down the right but it was the visitors who really should have had the first good chance at goal, after Bafetimbi Gomis appeared to be brought down in the box by Jan Vertonghen but the referee waved away the appeals.
Andre Villas-Boas' men continued to push though, as Emmanuel Adebayor nearly opened the scoring after latching onto a through ball before Bale somehow missed an open net.
However, the Welshman made amends almost immediately, opening the scoring with a swerving free-kick that Remy Vercoutre really should have done better with to send the home side in ahead on the stroke of half-time.
Lyon made the better start to the second stanza and levelled the scores through a brilliant strike from Samuel Umtiti who fired a majestic half-volley right into the top corner from the edge of the area on 55 minutes.
The goal visibly lifted the visitors and they almost took the lead following Alexandre Lacazette's strong run which enabled him to break into the box but his effort was saved by Brad Friedel.
After that the game looked like it was going to end in a draw, but cometh the hour, cometh the man as Bale scored another wonderful free-kick to give his side the advantage going into the second leg.