Lyon has a remarkable historical, architectural, cultural and gastronomic heritage. 427 hectares of the historic site of Lyon are on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

Under the Roman Empire, Lyon (Lugdunum) became a powerful city and the capital of Roman Gaul. The Roman emperor Claudius was born there, as well as Caracalla. Lyon developed considerably during the Renaissance and became an important European trading city.

Two arts were born in Lyon: cinema (by the Lumière brothers) and Guignol theater (by Laurent Mourguet).


Between Rhône and Saône

Enclosed between the Rhône and the Saône lies the “Presqu’île”, the true center of Lyon with its most important classical monuments: the Hôtel-Dieu; the Théâtre des Célestins; the Cordeliers, the Palais de la bourse in Second Empire style; the Terreaux, the town hall and the Opéra national.

To the north of the peninsula lies the Croix-Rousse district, with its slopes and popular market. This has been a busy neighborhood since Gallo-Roman times, as evidenced by the remains of the Amphitheater of the Three Gauls.

Left Bank of the Rhône

On the other side of the Rhone, in the classic Haussmann district of Les Brotteaux, lies the Gare des Brotteaux, the beautiful Place du Maréchal-Lyautey and its fountain. To the north lies the Tête d’or park, the largest park in the city and the first city park in France, with various botanical gardens and the Lyon zoo.

Further south we find the cosmopolitan district nicknamed “little Chinatown lyonnais”. In the far south we find the Gerland district, with new architectural gems: the football stadium of the Olympique Lyonnais and the former slaughterhouses of the Mouche district, which have now been transformed into a large concert and exhibition space …..

In the east, the Part-Dieu district is the second business district in France, dominated by the Part-Dieu tower. In the Monplaisir district, the Manufacture des tabacs, the Château des frères Lumière (now transformed into a lively film museum) and the Édouard-Herriot hospital are interesting.

The hill of Fourvière is dominated by the Basilica of Our Lady of Fourvière. South of the hill is the church of Saint-Just. Nearby is one of the oldest churches in Lyon, the Saint-Irénée church.

In old Lyon, the Saint-Jean district is dominated by the cathedral, in the south, the Saint-Georges district is characterized by the church.

Museums and galleries

  • Musée des beaux-arts Lyon: the collection of paintings is also called the “petit Louvre”;
  • Museum of Contemporary Art: large number of art galleries, located south of Place Bellecour;
  • Gallo-Roman Museum of Fourvière: history of the city;
  • Gadagem Museums: history of Lyon and the doll museum;
  • Confluences Museum: collections of the Natural History Museum;
  • Lumière Institute: history of 20th century techniques and the beginning of cinema in Lyon;
  • Henri-Malartre car museum (Rochetaillée-sur-Saône);
  • Tony-Garnier City Museum: visionary city planning;
  • Center for Resistance and Deportation (CHRD): recalls Lyon as the capital of the resistance during the Second World War;
  • La Friche: located in the former warehouses of the RVI factory, converted into an artist’s space, monumental works by the artist Guillaume Bottazzi.


Cinemas & culturele activiteiten

The city has many cinemas. The Institut Lumière is both a museum and a cinema specialized in retrospectives and festivals.

The evening of 8 December is all about the Light Festival (or “Illuminations”). Originally a celebration of the Virgin Mary, where the people of Lyon placed lanterns and candlesticks in front of their windows. The Archbishop blesses the city from the hill of Fourvière. The tradition goes back to the 19th century.

The city has modern and renowned cultural infrastructure such as the Maison de la danse de Lyon and the Auditorium in the Part-Dieu district, where the Orchester National of Lyon, the Théâtre des Célestins and the Opéra National of Lyon are located.


Wereldhoofdstad van de gastronomie

Lyon is known for its gastronomy. The city has produced world-famous chefs, including Paul Bocuse and Eugénie Brazier.

You can taste the rich local cuisine in the restaurants of Lyon, of which twenty are certified authentic restaurants. Called “bouchons”, they are concentrated in the alleys of old Lyon, the Terreaux district, Mercièrestraat and Marronniersstraat on the Presqu’île.

The “Halles de Lyon-Paul Bocuse” are another important gastronomic institution in Lyon. They are an international reference for gourmets and a mecca for the taste buds, they say. More information on :


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