Lyon, which is located on a narrow peninsula between two rivers, the Rhone River and the Saone Rivers is today the third-largest city in France. It is also the major city on the rail and road routes connecting Paris with the south of France, Italy and France.
Lyon is the French capital of gastronomy. It has a wide range of excellent restaurants, including Michelin-starred restaurants and traditional bistros. There are many Lyon tourist attractions. These include theatres, museums, festivals, clubs, coffee shops and large venues waiting to be explored. You will feel the city’s creative energy even before you get there.
The Cathedrale Saint-Jean-Baptiste de Lyon, located in the middle of Vieux Lyon’s Vieux Lyon District, was built over 300 years ago. Throughout the building, you can see remnants of each phase of the cathedral’s construction. The crosses and stained glass windows that flank the altar’s altar date back to 1200 years. There are remnants of structures from the 4th century on the site of the church before it was built. It is worth a visit to the adjacent archaeological park.
Lyon, like Paris, is divided into nine arrondissements. The 5th Arrondissement in Lyon is called Vieux-Lyon. It is located at the foot of the Fourviere hill and is Lyon’s oldest neighbourhood. It’s also one of Europe’s largest Renaissance neighbourhoods.
You can explore three different parts of Vieux-Lyon. If you only visit one, make sure it is St. Jean. The Cathedral of St. Jean (parish choir school) and the adjacent Manecanterie (parish cathedral school) were both built in the 11th Century. They are a mixture of Gothic and Romanesque styles. With the exception of the Roman ruins at La Croix-Rousse and Fourviere, the Manecanterie is believed to be Lyon’s oldest building. It is now a museum that houses books and artefacts dating back to the 9th through the 19th centuries. Although we don’t like museum continents, it is worth stopping to admire the facade.
I tend to walk around the side chapels and look in quickly. The Cathedral of St. Jean has an Astronomical Clock. Every day, the figures on the clock come to life at 12 pm, 2 pm. 3 pm. and 4 pm. The angel on the left flips over an hourglass, while the angel Gabriel appears to the Virgin Mary.
Near the Cathedral is Palais de justice Historique. This is a must-see because its façade is decorated with 24 columns that were inspired by Ancient Greece or Ancient Rome. You can’t visit it today as it is still used as a court, but if history is your passion, you may be familiar with three famous trials that were held there: Sante Geronimo Caserio was sentenced in 1884 to death for the murder of French President Sadi Carnot; Charles Maurras was sentenced in 1945 to life imprisonment and degradation, and Klaus Barbie was sentenced in 1987 to life imprisonment for crimes committed against humanity during WWII.
Lugdunum and Gallo-Roman Lyon
To imagine Lyon as Lugdunum (capital city of the Gauls), is a way to visualize it when you visit Lyon. It was founded by Caesar’s officer in 43 BCE. It is strategically located at the confluence of two rivers, the Saone, and the Rhone.
The military secured the site first, and then came the civilians to build their lives around them.
It was a place where all kinds of religions coexisted. This opened the door to Christianity.
Lyon was also a crossroads for commerce, and well-positioned along the route from Rome to the North.
The Roman Empire fell apart, and the Barbarians began to pound at the gates. Business, which was previously conducted on the hills of the city, was moved to the lower levels. This is why you must climb if your goal is to see what remains of Rome.
Parc de la Tête d’Or
The Parc de la Tete d’Or, France’s largest urban park, is a popular tourist attraction in Lyon. It is a great destination for families, joggers and cyclists. The park’s attractions are mostly geared towards children and include a carousel and small zoos, as well as a puppet theatre and various sports facilities.
The lake offers boating, waterside picnics, and scenic walks along the shoreline. The Jardin Botanique de Lyon is the main attraction of the park. It houses greenhouses that are filled with a variety of tropical plants including centuries-old camellias, carnivores and Amazon water lilies.
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Mur des Canuts
This large painting is located in the Croix Rousse neighbourhood on Boulevard des Canuts. It depicts the rich heritage of the area, which was once home to the city’s silk weavers. It’s painted in trompe-l’oeil style. The scenes depicted in the mammoth Frisco blend seamlessly into their surroundings, challenging viewers not to see the distinction between art and real life.
It was first painted in 1987. This is the largest European painting. The composition has been reworked several times to reflect changes to nearby structures. It has since become a popular tourist attraction in Lyon.