Saturday, 5 May 2012



Lyon is a city in east-central France in the Rhône-Alpes region, situated between Paris and Marseille. The city 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 who invented the cinematographe in Lyon.

Lyon was founded on the Fourvière hill as a Roman colony in 43 BC by Munatius Plancus, a lieutenant of Caesar, on the site of a Gaulish hill-fort settlement called Lug[o]dunon, from the Celtic god Lugus (light) and dúnon (hill-fort). Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa recognized that Lugdunum's position on the natural highway from northern to south-eastern France made it a natural communications hub, and he made Lyon the starting point of the principal Roman roads throughout Gaul. It then became the capital of Gaul, partly thanks to its convenient location at the convergence of two navigable rivers, and quickly became the main city of Gaul. Two emperors were born in this city: Claudius and Caracalla. Today, the archbishop of Lyon is still referred to as "Primat des Gaules" and the city often referred to as the "capitale des Gaules".

In 843, by the Treaty of Verdun, Lyon, with the country beyond the Saône, went to Lothair I, and later became a part of the Kingdom of Arles. Lyon only came under French control in the 14th century.

During the French Revolution, Lyon rose up against the National Convention and supported the Girondins. In 1793, the city was under siege for over two months, assaulted by the Revolutionary armies, before eventually surrendering. Several buildings were destroyed, especially around the Place Bellecour, and Jean-Marie Collot d'Herbois with Joseph Fouché administered the execution of more than 2,000 people. A decade later, Napoleon himself ordered the reconstruction of all the buildings demolished during this period.

Lyon was a centre for the occupying German forces and also a stronghold of resistance during World War II, and the city is now home to a resistance museum. The traboules, or secret passages, through the houses enabled the local people to escape Gestapo raids. The city was liberated by the 1st Free French Division and the Forces Françaises de l'Intérieur on 3 September 1944.

Modern Lyon is a lively city and, as you'd expect, hosts a number of festivals, cultural and sporting events, and fairs throughout the year.Look out for local magazines and guides, which regularly publish an up-to-date listing of forthcoming events in Lyon. The city's tourist office is also a good source of information on things to do.

Be sure to stay around the city into the night time when over 200 of the city’s monuments are illuminated by more than 100,000 projectors , bringing the city’s night scene to life!. Lyon truly deserves its place as being France’s second party city, where residents and visitors are guaranteed to enjoy fun nights out. 

Vieux Lyon, Presqu’île, Croix Rousse the Saône riverbanks and many other places are jam-packed with diverse places to go in order to have a pleasurable evening. Whether you want to dance and let your hair down or simply unwind over a few drinks in a trendy and friendly atmosphere, this is a city that offers a wide variety.

For several centuries Lyon has been known as the French capital of gastronomy, due in part to the presence of many of France's finest chefs in the city and its surroundings. This reputation also comes from the fact that two of France's best known wine-growing regions are located near Lyon: the Beaujolais to the North, and the Côtes du Rhône to the South. Beaujolais wine is very popular in Lyon and remains the most common table wine served with local dishes.

Lyon is the home of very typical and traditional restaurants serving local dishes, and local wines: the bouchons. The city is famous for its morning snacks formerly had by its silk workers, the mâchons, made up of local charcuterie and usually accompanied by Beaujolais red wine. Traditional local dishes include Rosette lyonnaise and saucisson de Lyon (sausage), andouillette (a sausage of coarsely cut tripe), pistachio sausage, coq au vin, esox (pike) quenelle, gras double (tripe cooked with onions), salade lyonnaise (lettuce with bacon, croutons and a poached egg), marrons glacés, coussin de Lyon and cardoon au gratin.

Cervelle de canut (lit. silk worker's brains) is a cheese spread/dip, a Lyonnais speciality. The dish is a base of fromage blanc, seasoned with chopped herbs, shallots, salt, pepper, olive oil and vinegar.

Lyon offers an exceptional variety of shopping facilities. As well as being home to a huge shopping centre at Part Dieu with all the usual chain stores, the city of Lyon also provides visitors a chance to explore its many small, independently-owned stores.These include everything from chic boutiques to antique shops. In particular, it is worth heading off on foot to browse the rows of shops in the maze of narrow streets in the Vieux Lyon and Croix Rousse districts. As in most French towns and cities, small shops and businesses tend to close for two hours at lunch. However, they do stay open until later in the evening. Shopping malls and supermarkets tend to remain open all day. Be prepared for many shops, large and small, to close all day on Sunday.

If you're in search of designer clothing, then a number of chic boutiques can be found along Rue Emile Zola Rue Gasparin and Rue Président Herriot. Antique-lovers won't fail to be disappointed by a shopping trip to the Rue Auguste Comte, just north of Place Bellecour.
For a good choice of high-street shops in Lyon, both the Rue de la République and Rue Victor Hugo are popular hunting grounds. Chief among these is the popular French store, Printemps. A visit to Galeries Lafayette, in the glass-roofed Part Dieu, is also a must for any serious shopper. This huge indoor shopping centre boasts a number of large supermarkets, as well as cafes and other shops.

Lyon's covered market at Les Halles is worth a visit, even if you go only to look rather than for serious shopping. It's a real feast for the eyes. Fresh produce can also be found in numerous smaller markets around Lyon, including those held between Tuesday and Saturday at the Quai Saint-Antoine by the River Saône. The largest organic fruit and vegetable market in the region is held on the Boulevard de la Croix Rousse on Saturday mornings. A craft market is held every Sunday at Quai Fulchiron, offering a particularly enjoyable shopping experience.

                                                        Lyon’s Top 5:
  1. The Basilica of Notre-Dame de Fourvière is a minor basilica in Lyon. It was built with private funds between 1872 and 1884 in a dominating position in the city. The site it occupies was once the Roman forum of Trajan, the forum vetus (old forum), thus its name (as an inverted corruption of the French Vieux-Forum). Speculating on the reasons for the construction of such an elaborate and expensive building, one author makes the possibly questionable statement that: "The reaction to the communes of Paris and Lyon were triumphalist monuments, the Sacré-Coeur of Montmartre and the basilica of Fourvière, dominating both cities. These buildings were erected using private funds, as gigantic ex-votos, thanking God for the victory over the socialists and in expiation of the sins of modern France." Notre-Dame de Fourvière was included when the whole historic center of Lyon was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1998.
  2. The Amphitheatre of the Three Gauls was part of the federal sanctuary of the three Gauls dedicated to the cult of Rome and Augustus celebrated by the 60 Gallic tribes when they gathered at Lugdunum. In 1961, it was classified as monument historique.  The amphitheatre was built at the foot of the La Croix-Rousse hill at what was then the confluence of the Rhône and Saône. The amphitheatre dates back to 19 AD.
  3. Lyon Cathedral (Cathédrale Saint-Jean-Baptiste de Lyon) is a Roman Catholic cathedral in the seat of the Archbishop of Lyon. It was founded by Saint Pothinus and Saint Irenaeus, the first two bishops of Lyon. The cathedral is also known as a "Primatiale" because in 1079 the Pope granted to the archbishop of Lyon the title of Primate of All the Gauls with the legal supremacy over the principal archbishops of the kingdom. Begun in the twelfth century on the ruins of a 6th century church, it was completed in 1476. The building is 80 metres long (internally), 20 metres wide at the choir, and 32.5 metres high in the nave.
  4. The Museum of Fine Arts of Lyon  is a municipal museum of fine arts, housed near place des Terreaux in a former Benedictine convent of the 17th and 18th centuries. It was restored between 1988 and 1998, and despite these important restoration works it remained open to visitors. Its collections range from ancient Egypt antiquities to the Modern art period and make the museum one of the most important in Europe. It hosts important exhibitions of art : recently there have been exhibitions of works by Georges Braque and Henri Laurens (second half of 2005), then one on the work of Théodore Géricault (April to July 2006).
  5. Lyon City Hall. The Hôtel de Ville de Lyon is the city hall of the City of Lyon and one of the largest historic building in the city, located between the Place des Terreaux and the Place de la Comédie, in front of the Opera Nouvel. Since 12 July 1886, the building has been classified as a Monument historique. In the 17th century, Lyon was developed and the Presqu'île became the city center with the place of Terreaux, and the Lyon City Hall was built between 1645 and 1651 by Simon Maupin. Following a fire in 1674, the building was restored and modified, including its facade, designed by Jules Hardouin-Mansart and his pupil Robert de Cotte. In 1792 during the French Revolution, the half-relief of Louis XIV on horseback, in the middle of the facade was removed and replaced only during the Restoration by Henry IV of France, in the same posture.

    Hôtel de Ville de Lyon

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