Lyons Tourist Attractions
Lyons (in French spelling Lyon), France's second largest industrial and commercial city, is well situated at the junction of the navigable Rhône and Saône. It is the chief town of the département of Rhône and the see of an archbishop, with a university and a college of technology.
Lyons has long been the principal center of the French textile industry, and in particular of silk production, but it also has a variety of other industries, notably the chemical and metalworking industries.
The Lyons Trade Fair, held annually in spring, provides a general survey of the city's industry and commerce.
Many notable figures were born in Lyons or lived and worked in the city, among them François Rabelais, who worked as a doctor in the Lyons hospital and wrote his principal works here, the physicist A.-M. Ampère, the writer Antoine de St-Exupéry, the inventor of the sewing machine, Barthélemy Thimonnier, the inventor of the jacquard loom, Joseph-Marie Jacquard, the Montgolfier brothers, who constructed the first hot-air balloon, and the inventors of the cinematograph, Louis and Auguste Lumière, who moved from Besançon to Lyons.
The main part of the city, with the most important government offices and museums, lies on the Presqu'Ile, the peninsula 5km/3mi long and 600-800 m/660-880yd across between the Rhône in the east and the narrower Saône in the west. On higher ground to the north is the suburb of La Croix-Rousse. On the right bank of the Saône are the hill of Fourvière, the site of the Roman town, and the former suburb of Valse; on the left bank are the former suburb of La Guillotière and the district of Les Brotteaux, beyond which is the modern district of La Part-Dieu. The city is steadily expanding farther east. The rivers are lined with fine embankments and spanned by numerous bridges.
In the time of the Gauls Lyons (Lugdunum) was already a place of some importance. In 42 B.C. it became a Roman colony, and in the time of Augustus capital of the province of Gallia Lugdunensis. At the end of the second century A.D. there was a ruthless persecution of Christians in the town. In 1033 Lyons, along with the rest of Burgundy, became part of the German Empire; then in the early 14th C. the County of Lyonnais (now represented by the départements of Loire and Rhône) passed to France. During the French Revolution, in 1793, the Convention ordered the destruction of Lyons as a reprisal for the expulsion of the Jacobins after they had retaken the city - an operation in which 6,000 citizens of Lyons perished.
Palais de la Bourse
In Lyons, in Rue de la République, on the right, is the Renaissance-style Palais de la Bourse et du Commerce (by René Dardel, 1855-1860). To the south is the former Franciscan church of St-Bonaventure (14th-15th C.). Rue du Président-Herriot leads to Place des Jacobins, with a monumental fountain. Rue Mercière, which leaves its northwest corner, is flanked by numerous houses of the Gothic and Renaissance periods.
Place des Terreaux
Musée des Beaux-Arts
St Jean Cathedral
In Lyons, from the northwest corner of Place Bellecour, Rue Chambonnet and the Pont Bonaparte lead west to the right bank of the Saône; from the embankment before the bridge there is a fine view, to the right, of the choir of the cathedral, the Palais de Justice and the hill of Fourvière. A little to the north is the Romanesque Cathedral of St-Jean (12th-15th C.), with a Late Gothic facade and a rose window of 1393. The most notable features of the interior are the 13th-14th C. stained glass and an astronomical clock by the Basle craftsman N. Lippius (1598) in the Romanesque transept.
To the north of the cathedral is old town of Lyons, which has been carefully restored and contains many fine old houses. In Rue St-Jean, on right, is the neo-classical Palais de Justice (Law Courts; by Baltard, 1832-1842). In the Quartier St-Georges is the well known Cafe du Soleil, originally a religious house and later used for performances of the Théâtre Guignol. In the same street are two interesting museums, the Musée Historique de Lyon (history of the city) and the Musée de la Marionnette (Puppet Museum), housed in the 15th C. Hôtel de Gadagne.