History of Lyon, a happening place

From Lugdunum to Lyon: 2000 Years of History

Lyon is located at the heart of Europe, half way between Paris and the Cote d’Azur and at the foot of the French Alps, France’s second city has many advantages which are today becoming less and less overlooked.

Two rivers, two hills and more than a thousand years of history. Not many cities can say the same!

Banks of the Saone river Lyon (France) This Is Lyon

Banks of the Saone River Frederic Crouzet/TIL

Previously thought of as industrial, foggy, prudent and bourgeois, Lyon has been especially well known by European motorists for its famous traffic jams in the tunnel that passes beneath Fourviere. Lyon has shed its skin these past 20 years and now become an attractive, cool and alluring city, recently voted “Best place to spend a weekend” in the 2016 World Travel Awards. Compensation for the years of effort spent promoting the city in the wake of it’s historic neighbourhoods being classified a Unesco World Heritage Site in 1998.

To stroll around Lyon is like turning the pages of a great history book as you discover a unique landscape with an atmosphere both Latin and Nordic.

Climb to the heights of La Croix Rousse to the north or to Fourvière in the west and take in the panoramic view of the city and discover it’s 2000 years of history. From up high one can admire the Italian inspired roofs of the Renaissance quarter and the vast Place Bellecour, one of the largest public spaces in Europe. In the distance you can make out the Alps and Mont Blanc and notice also the thread of bridges straddling the River Rhone and the grand shopping streets of the “Presqu’ile” or the coloured facades alongside the River Saone.
Then descend by way of narrow streets or take a “traboule”, a secret passageway, through the buildings of the “Canuts” which were home to the silk workers of the 19th century.
Stumble upon a Gallo-Romain amphitheatre, dare to push open the door of a “Bouchon”, one of the traditional restaurants of Lyon or have coffee on one of the sunny outdoor terraces of “Place des Terreaux”.


Tourists at the top of Fourvière Hill. Frederic Crouzet/TIL

Move southwards and discover the new “Quartier de la Confluence”, where the two rivers meet and the great names in contemporary architecture are expressed.
Behind the guardian figures of the famous hand puppet “Guignol” and the world’s most well known chef “Paul Bocuse”, with 3 Michelin stars to his name for the last 50 years, there is now a new generation of “Lyonnais” who are making this city exciting.
They are opening trendy bars, lively small music venues and innovative shops and organising festivals of a European scale such as the “Biennale de la danse et d’Art contemporain” (the biennial festival of danse and contemporary art) “Nuits Sonore”, (an essentially electronic music festival) and “Quais du Polar”, (festival of print and film crime fiction). This new generation is daring an unbriddled cuisine in what is the the “World’s Capital of Gastronomy”.

It’s why we say, “Lyon is on the move!”




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