Today, I have an interesting proposition for you. I would like to show you the main symbols of Lyon. I am sure you know few already very well, maybe even all. I hope you can discover with me something new or even propose another symbol which you feel describe Lyon very well. I think I have chosen the best ones but there are more…I know! Lyon is an amazing city – so rich in culture, history and art that it is even difficult to summerize it with my top 20 Symbols.
I hope you will enjoy….so here you are:
- The Coussin de Lyon – the green, sweet, pillow shaped specialty of Lyon. It is made of chocolate and marzipan. The cute little piece is composed of the pale green marzipan and the dark green netting. It has a chocolate ganache flavoured and curaçao
- Pralines – the bright pink hard sweets, made of almonds coated with a pink sugar. Used for eating but mainly as the main ingredient in baking.
Used to prepare the Lyonnais specialties like Pralines Brioches or La Tarte Aux Pralines .
- Quenelles – the best and the most famous Lyonnais specialty. These are the dumplings oval shaped , made of fish or chicken, served with rice and rich creamy sauce. The best are being served in the local bouchons. You can eat them all year long but they are ideal for winter as they are truly warm, filling and satisfying meal
- Jocteur and his bannetts – the best bakery in Lyon serving the best bannetts and producing the best cakes and the best Lyonnais specialities such as its famous Tart Pralines. The service is great, the bread is amazing, and the Joeuctor is the nicest guy ever.
There is the very first Jocteur Boulangerie next to the Ile Barble , another place to buy Joeuctor specialities is the famous Halles de Paul Bocus located in the Centre of Lyon
- Lyonnais Food Specialities – these are the top and the best Lyonnais Cuisine Specialities, just a few…as the Capital of Gastronomy.
- Musée des Confluences – the newest, the most impressive museum …in a shape of spaceship. It is focused on science, art and societies. It aims to describe and to raise awareness of the development, hopes and concerns of human societies from different times and different places. It shows the story of the earth itself from its earliest days and humanity through its history and geography. It is located at the confluence of the rivers Rhône and Saône, on the total area of 22,000 m² (236 800 square feet)
- La fête des Lumières – the most famous and the most impressive event. The Lights Festival starts each year 4-5th December and finishes on the 8th It grew in significance, creativity and size. Nowadays there are more than 2 millions people wander the streets of the city at night and participate in the artful installations of lights. It’s unmissable!
- Paul Bocuse – The Pop of French Cuisine – the very famous chef & Lyonnais who gained his reputation thanks to the high quality of his restaurants and the innovative approaches to cuisine, introducing the nouvelle cuisine successfully in Lyon and France. Nowadays, the 88-year-old chef towers over everyone with his top restaurant, brassieres, the posh food market – Les Halles Paul Bocuse, the cooking schools, the Food Oscars Competition – SHIRA. You can even have a chance to ‘see’ him in Lyon… in the mural at Place Saint-Vincent, and a very new one dedicated just to him and placed next to the Halles de Lyon!
- Antoine de Saint-Exupéry – the worldwide famous French writer, Lyonnais, the author of The Little Prince (1943). And on top of that, the great French pilot and the France’s air service’s veteran. He spent most of his working life in commercial aviation and died while on duty.
- The Lumière Brothers – Auguste and Louis Lumière, following their father’s passion for photography, dedicated themselves to research and experimenting with picture. In 1895, with the first-ever camera, they filmed “Leaving the Lumière factory” and registered their patent for the cinematograph. Also can be seen in Lyon … in the mural at Place Saint-Vincent and their father’s house which is the nowadays the Museum of Cinematography.
- Guignol – the most famous French puppet invented by Laurent Mourguet in the 19th century. He was a silk worker, dentist who created the puppet to cheer up his customers. Guignol – the very likeable character with a wooden head started the puppet theatre. Nowadays there are 3 main theatres of Guignol in Lyon and the Guignol’s historical origins are preciously preserved in the International Puppet Museum, in the Gadagne Museums.
- Silk – in 1536, the silk trade become Lyon’s monopoly, granted by King Francis I. By the 19th century, Lyon was steeped in a silk trade that had been raised to a fine art. The middle of the century was the silk’s golden age. There were 100,000 silk looms in operation in Lyon, representing three-quarters of the economic activity of the city. Lastly, Lyon silk still predominates in haute couture, furniture and furnishings. Lyon’s renowned textile tradition and its jealously guarded heritage can be admired by tourists nowadays. There are local boutiques, museums and … traboules’ …
- Traboules – build In the Middle Age, these are corridors through buildings and their courtyards, connecting one street directly with another, used to transport silk yarn and bolts of cloth. More recently they were used as secret passages during the revolt of 1831, and by members of the Resistance in Lyon during World War II. It is a great architectural heritage of galleries and spiral staircases which can be discovered and admired as unique in the Croix Rousse and Vieux Lyon areas. The most spectacular traboule is the ‘Cour des Voraces’..go and lose your way in Lyon to discover it…or follow a map ????
- One hundred mural paintings and growing! – the frescos which have been created in Lyon by the “Cité de la Création” cite-creation.com organisation and many freelance artists who contributed with their work. The most popular and impressive of all “trompe l’oeil” murals are: “Mur des Canuts” – the silk-workers wall in the Croix-Rousse and the Mur des Lyonnais which represents the famous Lyon people’s. On top of that there are 25 mural paintings of the Tony Garnier Urban Museum. There are more, in almost every Lyonnais district. But this is not all, there are plans for more coming! Impressive, isn’t it?
- The tradition of the December 8th – this is a really beautiful story, very important to Lyonnais and celebrated by them each year. In respect of this tradition and to finish the Festival of Lights, each year people light small candles and put them on windowsills and balconies. The whole city is lighted to give respects to Virgin Mary. And the story, well it tells that in 1852, the old bell-tower of Fourvière was rebuilt and it was supposed to be crowded with the statue of the Virgin Mary on the September 8th, the Feast of the Nativity, but unfortunately it has not been finished by then. So, they postponed the ceremony until the December 8th, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. But that day it has rained heavily all day long so again they wanted to cancel the ‘coronation’ But when the evening came and the time for ceremony, the sky cleared for the very first time… Lyonnaise spontaneously made the same gesture that is being carried on till nowadays….
- Halles de Lyon – created in 1859, renamed ‘Halles de Lyon – Paul Bocuse’ in 2006, this is the famous indoors food market which is very important centre of Lyon gastronomy. It’s a place where you will find the best quality regional specialities such as foie gras, oysters, truffles, cheeses and irresistible macaroons. There are about fifty-six artisans: “Mère Richard” (cheeses), Sibilia (meats) just to name a couple very respected ones. On top of that there a many posh and expensive restaurants and seafood bars.
- Bouchon – the little Lyonnais bistro whose tradition goes back to old times. These are family run businesses, which serve homemade food, Lyonnais specialities, in a friendly, warm atmosphere. They have the similar look and feel and need to follow certain rules to carry a real bouchon certificate which you can see as a sticker in their entrance. They serve affordable meals and in a big quantities!…Unmissable experience!
- The Fourvière Hill – it is one of the symbols which you will notice in Lyon straight away. First time it has been used as a meeting place and important place for legendary banquets (43 BC). Then in the 16th century it has become important religious groups and become the «praying hill». And in the 19th century its importance grew, thanks to the really amazing Basilica of Notre-Dame build on the hill.
- Saint Mary’s chapel and the Notre Dame de Fourvière Basilica – it is obviously the symbol of Lyon! And the chapel dedicated to the Virgin Mary is extremely important for Lyonnais because in 1643, following a plague epidemic, the city was placed under the protection of St Mary. She saved Lyonnais!
- Ninkasi – it is Lyonnais Own Beer! It comes from the very first brewery in France, in Lyon. It is pretty special and unique; it has many tastes to choose from. It has a Goddess as a symbol and is closely associated with Olympique Lyonnais (OL) Football Team. Lastly the brand has developed so much that is has the bars all over Lyon. They offer great atmosphere, serve great food and the best French beer! They organize concerts, tours, competitions and have such merchandises to buy …you would want one… but be careful…the size of the bottle is impressive yet dangerous ;-)!
Uff…looks like got majority, the most important as there are more things I can associate with Lyon. This is how I see Lyon – reach in history heritage, monuments, cuisine, art, culture and its amazing people…yes they make the Lyon so outstanding and really welcoming! So come and visit if you haven’t yet. Or share the things you associate with Lyon if you know it well!