Lyon in France, With its two rivers - la Saone and la Rhone - is blessed with a rich 2,000-year-old history.
Situated at the crossroads of Europe, two hours from the ski resorts of the Alps and the Mediterranean, Lyon's history, architecture, and cultural and culinary delights are more than worthy of a detour on the way to the sun or the slopes. With outstanding art museums, fantastic shopping and a thriving nightlife, Lyon has become a cultural and dynamic city with plenty to offer. It is the third largest city in France and a long established business center, with plenty of Old World attractions, including place Bellecour and the Amphitheatre of the Three Gauls. Lyon is also said to have "more restaurants per square metre than any place on earth." Old Lyon stretches out along the Saône and invites tourists with its Florentine architecture.
The Lyon is known for its historical and architectural landmarks and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Lyon was historically known as an important area for the production and weaving of silk and in modern times has developed a reputation as the capital of gastronomy in France. It has a significant role in the history of cinema due to Auguste and Louis Lumière. The local professional football team, Olympique Lyonnais, has increased the profile of Lyon internationally through participation in European football championships.
From the Middle Ages, the residents of the region, speak several dialects of Arpitan language. The Lyonnais dialect was partly replaced by the French language as the importance of the city grew. However, it is still alive and, in addition, some "frenchified" Franco-Provençal words can also be heard in the French of the Lyonnais, who call their little boys and girls "gones" and "fenottes" for example. Lyon was an early centre for printing books, and nurtured a circle of 16th century poets.
The 8. December each year is marked by the Festival of Lights (la Fête des lumières), a celebration of thanks to the Virgin Mary, who purportedly saved the city from a deadly plague in the Middle Ages. During the event, the local population places candles (lumignons) at their windows and the city of Lyon organizes impressive large-scale light shows onto the sides of important Lyonnais monuments, such as the medieval Cathédrale St-Jean.
UNESCO World Heritage
The Historic Site of Lyon was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1998. In their designation, UNESCO cited the "exceptional testimony to the continuity of urban settlement over more than two millennia on a site of great commercial and strategic significance." The specific regions composing the Historic Site include the Roman district and Fourvière, the Renaissance district (Vieux Lyon), the silk district (slopes of Croix-Rousse), and the Presqu'île, which features architecture from the 12th century to modern times. Both Vieux Lyon and the slopes of Croix-Rousse are known for their narrow passageways (named traboules) that pass through buildings and link streets on either side. The first examples of traboules are thought to have been built in Lyon in the 4th century. The traboules allowed the inhabitants to get from their homes to the Saône river quickly and allowed the canuts on the Croix-Rousse hill to get quickly from their workshops to the textile merchants at the foot of the hill.
Also known as "the hill that prays" due to the numerous churches and religious institutions it hosts. The hill was also the place where the Romans settled.
Vieux Lyon (Old Lyon)
The Renaissance area, along the right bank of the Saône.
Between the two rivers, the real heart of the city.
North of Presqu'île between the two rivers, it is known as "the hill that works" because it was home to the silk workers (canuts) until the 19th century. This industry has shaped the unique architecture of the area.
An emerging district with great contemporary architecture in a former industrial area.
The main business district and home to the main train station of Lyon.
The wealthiest district, next to the beautiful Tête d'Or park.
A picturesque district with a large immigrant population.
An interesting 1920s housing project.
Another developing district.
More from Lyon