8th Arrondissement (district) of Lyon

The 8th arrondissement of Lyon, where the Lumière cinematography inventions meet Tony Garnier architectural innovations.


The 8th district of Lyon is considered as the city’s working-class residential area, influenced by the rich neighborhood history brought by the Lumière brothers in Monplaisir or by Tony Garnier in the Etats-Unis popular subdistrict.


The 8th arrondissement was created on February 9th, 1959, as a detachment of the 7th arrondissement previously created in 1912. It is considered to be one of the most popular and working-class neighborhood of Lyon.

institut lumière in lyon Monplaisir

The Institut Lumière follows the history of the cinema and its invention in 1895 by the Lumière brothers in Lyon.

The inception of the arrondissement was the last step of the city’s urban extension to the east across the Rhône river, initiated during the 18th and 19th centuries. The neighborhood has earned its identity long before it became a district, with the implantation of many industrial factories in place of rural areas.

The 8th arrondissement, which is known as a working-class and student residential area, is populated by 85,000 residents in 2015 over the 667 hectares of the neighborhood.


Where is the 8th district in Lyon?


On the eastern edge of the city, far from the Presqu’île

The 8th arrondissement is the most eastern district of the Lyon municipality, along the Laurent Bonnevay ring road to the south and east borders.

It is bordered to the west by the 7th arrondissement, on the other side of the Lyon-Marseille railway line, while the 3rd arrondissement is located to the north of the neighborhood. The popular suburban towns of Vénissieux and Bron are separated by the Laurent Bonnevay ring road to the south and east, respectively.

monplaisir lumiere and place ambroise courtois in lyon 8

The D-line metro leads to Place Ambroise Courtois, and the Institut Lumière, at the stop Monplaisir-Lumière. © Jenna Careri

Many large roads lead to the 8th arrondissement from every side of Lyon, such as Avenue Berthelot and Cours Gambetta from the Presqu’île, Avenue Mermoz from the east suburbs, Boulevard Pinel from the north and Boulevard des Etats-Unis from the southern city of Vénissieux.

Public transportation, an entry door to the neighborhood

The subway line D of the city’s public transportation stops five times in the 8th arrondissement. The stations Sans-Souci, Monplaisir-Lumière, Grange Blanche, Laënnec and Mermoz-Pinel cover most of the neighborhood and give easy access to the Presqu’île or Vénissieux for the local residents.

Two tramway lines cover the rest of the district: the tramway line T4 links all the western side of the neighborhood to the Part-Dieu train station and La Doua university center, whereas the tramway line T2 goes through the district to link the Presqu’île and St-Priest, crossing the 7th arrondissement and the Université Lyon 2 campus in Bron.



History of the 8th district : strong industrial and popular past


Origins of the Monplaisir neighborhood in a Jesuit country house

The exact origins of the 8th arrondissement are unknown, but the « Château des Tournelles » in Monplaisir was the neighborhood emblem for a long time, until its partial destruction in 1934.

manufacture des tabacs in lyon 8

The Manufacture des Tabacs is an old tabacco factory that now houses one of the two Université Lyon 3 campuses. © Jenna Careri

While studying in the Lycée Ampère, located in the 2nd arrondissement, Jesuits turned the castle into their country house in the early 18th century, where they rested and cultivated fruits and vegetables. The Henry family purchased the castle in the middle of the 18th century and parcelled their domain into subdivisions, including « Village de Monplaisir » and « Campagne de Sans-Souci ».

The « Château des Tournelles » was then unoccupied for decades and the partial destruction was acted in 1934 to make place for automobile industries. Only one tower was left untouched, until its destruction in 1960.


Pioneer industrial factories in the early 20th century

The 8th arrondissement remained rural and agricultural, with pastures, fields and gardening areas, until the implantation of pioneer industrial factories starting at the end of the 19th century.

The Lumière brothers opened their first factory of photographic plates in 1882 before inventing the cinema in 1895. At the same time, the French automobile industry tycoon, Marius Berliet, settled in Monplaisir and opened factories to build cars, trucks, and then weapons during the two World Wars. 

Pharmaceutical industries and medecine research centers supplanted the neighborhood heavy industry, composing most of the Laënnec and Grange Blanche subdistricts.


Urbanization with Edouard Herriot and Louis Pradel

The urbanization of the rural 8th arrondissement happened during the 20th century through innovative housing projects.

the etats-unis housing blocks in lyon 8

The Etats-Unis neighborhood in Lyon 8 was designed by architect Tony Garnier to provide affordable housing for a growing working class. © Jenna Careri

Lyon’s mayor Edouard Herriot and famous architect and urban planner, Tony Garnier, launched together the construction of the Etats-Unis neighborhood during the 1920s, to answer the multiplication of factories and the waves of immigration. The urban project was constitued of factories, shops, public services and low-cost accommodations (« Habitation Bon Marché », ancestor of social housing) to anchor the new urban proletariat of Lyon. 

The rapid population increase of the district forced the construction of new neighborhoods. The Mermoz subdistrict came into life under Louis Pradel, successor of Edouard Herriot as Lyon’s mayor, during the 1960s.



Where to live in the 8th district?


Bachut and Monplaisir for families

The 8th arrondissement subdistricts of Bachut and Monplaisir are ideal for young families and households looking for tranquility far from the hustle of the Lyon city life.

They offer low property prices, which make it easier for first-time homeowners, and many convenience stores are located around the neighborhood.



Sans-Souci and Mermoz for students

Home of several student residences and some of the cheapest accommodation in the city center, the Mermoz and Sans-Souci subdistricts have become the happy place for students in Lyon, partly because of their proximity with the Manufacture des Tabacs, home of Université Lyon 3, and the Bron campus of Lyon 2, respectively.

The neighborhood near Route de Vienne and Jet d’Eau can be included in this list, combining affordable housing with the closeness of many ways of transportation.


What to see in the 8th district of Lyon?


Discover the iconic Etats-Unis neighborhood

The Etats-Unis neighborhood, located in the heart of the 8th arrondissement, was constructed by Tony Garnier with the help of innovative architectural concepts. 

painted wall in the etats unis neighborhood of lyon 8

Tony Garnier’s Etats-Unis neighborhood is full of painted walls on the side of each block of apartments. © Jenna Careri

The « Cité Tony Garnier » was erected between 1920 and 1933 and composed of social accommodations, named « Habitation Bon Marché », to give low-cost housing to the working class. Only one show-flat remains today for immersive visits in the typical atmosphere of the 1930s. 

Rehabilitated during the 1990s, the Etats-Unis neighborhood hosted an experimental and cultural experience: monumental paintings complemented the buildings in order to found the Tony Garnier Urban Museum. 25 painted walls, a show-flat and exhibitions can be discovered through the neighborhood’s streets.


What to do in the 8th district of Lyon?


Typical bistrot food in Monplaisir

No Michelin-stared restaurant have elected home in the 8th arrondissement, but the gastronomic brasserie Marguerite Bocuse has taken place in the historic Villa Marguerite in which the Lumière family lived, decorated in the purest Art Nouveau.

bocuse brasserie at villa marguerite in lyon 8

The Bocuse brasserie at Villa Marguerite opened in 2013, in the home of Marguerite and Auguste Lumière. © Jenna Careri

Many bistrot restaurants can be found along the Monplaisir neighborhood and the Avenue des Frères Lumière, such as Bistro Autrement and L’Industrie on Place Ambroise Courtois.


The Institut Lumière for the beginnings of cinema

Lyon was the epicenter of the motion picture and cinematography in the early 20th century and the Institut Lumière goes back in time to promote and preserve the history of cinema, initiated by the Lumière brothers in 1895.

The museum exposes the Lumière brothers extraordinary inventions and innovations thanks to interactive projections inside the Villa Lumière, nicknamed « La Chateau », former house of Antoine, father of the two inventors.


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