Top Sights in Lyon

The residents of Lyon are so proud of their city that they have no complexes about Paris. Situated at the confluence of two large rivers, Saone and Rhone, Lyon is the capital of the Rhône-Alpes region and the third largest city in France. Usually, it is associated with silk, puppets and exquisite cuisine. Men probably associate the famous football club Olympique. Regardless of the interest, however, the city enchants with its diversity, thecombination of old and modern. It is a city created for both traditionalists and for those who pursue the fashion.

History of Lyon

Lyon was founded in 43 BC by the Romans and called then Ludunum. Around 470 the city was occupied by the Burgundians and then by the Franks (534). In 879 returned to Burgundy, in 1032 was joined to the German Empire. In 1793, during the French Revolution, in the city started the uprising of the Sephard and Royalists against the Jacobins. During World War II the most important cell of the French resistance was located in Lyon led by Jean Moulin.

With this portion of history, let’s have a look on what to do in Lyon:

Notre-Dame de Fourvière Basilica with the panorama on Lyon from the Fourviere Hill

The top of the hill was the birthplace of the city of Lyon. There is a castle at the top called the Notre-Dame de Fourvière Basilica built between 1872-1896 as an expression of gratitude of the habitants for saving them from the horrors of war with Prussia.  Seen from many places, it enchants by interesting shapes and colours. It can be reached by foot or by special carriages. It is quite steep, but the views reward the hike. The basilica was built at the site of the old sanctuary. The interior delights, glamor and rich decorations cover almost every element of the basilica. In the area, you can also visit the Fourviere archaeological park, revealing the ruins of the theatre, the thermal baths, the archways of the aqueduct, and one building which origin is still hard to identify for scientists. On the hill there is also the oldest theatre in France with preserved fragments of marble floor and original machine to lift the curtain.

Old Lyon

At the Old Town of Lyon one can encounter a great number of historic sites dating back to the Gothic period. There are plenty of tenement houses from this period, which have survived to this day in a quite good state. They are accompanied by various richly decorated renaissance buildings. Tenement houses are located at narrow streets and can be admired from picturesque passageways, stairs and beautiful courtyards. The pearl of Old Lyon is the 400-year-old Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist. Inside there is a 14th century astronomical clock, which, despite the assumption that the sun is circling the earth, gives a precise hour.

Presqu’île district

The district was a former center of wealth in Lyon called Canabae Island and was inhabited by the richest Romans. Today, the central part of it is the most beautiful square in Terreaux, where used to be a gibbet. Its place now occupies a rich carved fountain. On the square, there is extremely rich palace of Saint Peter, formerly a Benedictine abbey, today is an art museum called the Little Louvre. The second place in this district, Antonin Poncet, also known as Place de la Comedie, is the site of the Lyonnais Opera House.

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