Travel Guides: Lyon
Lyon is a city in France located at the confluence of the river Rhône with Saône river, 460 km south-east of Paris and 314 km north of Marseille. It is the capital of the Rhône department and Rhône-Alpes region.
The geography is marked by the confluence of the Rhone (Rhône) and Sone (Saône) in the southern part of the historical center, forming a sort of peninsula or “presqu’île” two large hills, one west and one north of the historic center city and a flat plain on the east bank of Rhone. To the west is Fourvière hill, where is the Notre-Dame Fourvière, the bishop’s palace, the metal tower (a TV tower that mimics the last section of the Eiffel Tower and a funicular).
In the north is the hill Croix-Rousse, feud traditional silk shops, workshops and an industry for which the city is famous. The medieval town (Vieux Lyon) was built on the west bank of the Saône River at the foot of the hill Fourvière, west of the peninsula. On the small peninsula (presqu’ile) between Ron and Sona is the third public market in France, and one of the largest in Europe: Place Bellecour. In fact the biggest public market is free from obstructions (such as trees, portions of turf) in Europe. To the north you can walk on the pedestrian street Rue de la Republique and south pedestrian street Victor Hugo.
East of the Rhône is the modern city where most people live. This area is the urban center of Part-Dieu, including former Credit Lyonnais Tower (the only skyscraper in central France), Part-Dieu shopping center and main railway station: Lyon Part-Dieu. Lyon’s history begins in Roman times in the first century BC. The Romans founded the settlement called Lugdunum (hill bright as some, and after another hill crows). For three centuries the settlement served as the center of the three Gauls, the political, economic, military and religious. After a long period of fall, the church is the one who gave it the opportunity to be reborn from the eleventh century, as the Primate of Wales.
Prosperity has not ceased to increase reaching its zenith during the Renaissance. Since the end of the fifteenth century, there are big fairs; local banks appear attractive to traders from all over Europe. Then the intellectual and artistic elite are installed at Lyon. From the seventeenth century and eighteenth-century, the silk is beginning to be known all over the world. The town is expanding and equipped with hospitals, new markets and sustainable buildings. French Revolution of 1789 slows the city’s development, but later in the French Empire appearance means a new lease of life in city development. During the Second World War, French Resistance, Lyon became the capital of the German occupation. Then the city has acquired a new aspect with the creation of a United Europe. The urban infrastructure is one of the most developed in Europe.
The city preserves an important cultural heritage, relics from Roman times to the twentieth-century construction. The most valuable part of the city, namely the Vieux Lyon district, Choline Fourvière, Croix-Rousse hill, with an area of 500 hectares, is part of UNESCO Heritage of Humanity in 1998. Some names bear fame worldwide for the city: St. Antoine. Exupery, author of “The Little Prince”, the Lumiere Brothers – the inventors of cinema, Rabelais – Gargantua and Pantagruel’s author, the medieval town Vieux-Lyon and its architectural jewels (Hotel Bullioud, Paterin, Gadagne Gallery, Philibert Delorme, the Rose Tower), “traboules” – secret passages during the Resistance, Colin Fourviere Cathedral, Cathedral of St. Jean etc.
Lyon applies to the title of European Capital of Culture for 2013. In Lyon operate four higher education institutions, with a total of 120,000 students. At the initiative of French Ministry of Higher Education and Research, was established in 2006 an Institute of Advanced Studies (Institut d’Études Avancées – IEA) dedicated to research in humanities and social sciences: Collegium de Lyon.
Arts: Cinema: the Lumiere brothers invented cinema in 1895; Theatre: Guignol and Gnafron puppet characters were invented by Laurent Mourguet; House of Dance and Dance Biennial; Les Subsistances: old military warehouses now host a laboratory of artistic creation of the show dedicated to new languages and National School of Fine Arts in Lyon; In Friche: old deposits of Renault plants, converted into art spaces.
December 8 is marked by the Festival of Lights (or enlightened). They are held in honor of the Virgin Mary. Traditional French Lyon area is not literary, but a dialect called “francoprovensal”. Lyon is known as the capital of gastronomy. There are famous “Rosetta et le Jésus’, ‘le cervelas’, ‘le tablier de sapeur’, ‘les quenelles’, ‘le Coussin de Lyon’ and ‘Sarment du Beaujolais’ (confectionery).
Festivals and events: Dec. 8: Immaculate Conception, “Feast of Light” or “La fête the Lumiere”; Festival Nights Fourvière Hill Les Nuits by Fourvière; Festival Nights sound Nuits sonores; Lyon Biennial of Contemporary Art; Dance Biennial; Salsa Festival. Radios and televisions – From Lyon emit 16 FM radio stations and five television stations, including the famous EuroNews. Print media – There are five daily newspapers and numerous weekly, leisure guides, occasional publications. Road infrastructure is highly developed. There is a highway bypass type, called ‘peripheral boulevard’.
Another highway links the north to the south. The highway network links Lyon from: Chambéry and Grenoble in the south-east (A43 / A41), Geneva and Bourg-en-Bresse to the north-east (A42 / A40), south of Marseille (A7), Saint-Etienne in the south West (A47) and north of Paris (A6). Air transport is served by the Lyon-Saint-Exupéry airport (inaugurated in 1976), located 20 km to the east. In 2006, around 6,752,333 passengers were transported. Less important is the Lyon-Bron airport. High-speed rail lines link the north and south of Lyon via train TGV. Lyon has two main stations: Lyon Part-Dieu train station, built specifically for the TGV’s and the railway became the main gate to distant destinations, and Lyon-Perrache train station, an old but modernized station to the ground, which serves mostly regional transport.
Many trains, including the TGV’s, are served by both stations. There are also some smaller stations: Loup Gorge, Vaisala, Venissieux and Saint-Paul. Lyon Saint-Exupéry Airport has its own train station. Transport network in Lyon is very large, reaching number 2 in France, after the Parisian one. Daily there are transported around 1.6 million passengers, of whom only 700 000 by metro. The transport network is operated by the company Keolis Lyon, who owns the brand TCL (‘Transports en Commun Lyonnais’). It is composed of four subway lines, two cable cars, three tram lines, seven lines and 115 lines of trolley buses and coaches. Tickets can be used on any urban transportation may be purchased from vending machines.
A ticket costs 1.50 euros and can be used an hour of the first composting and a book for 10 trips costs EUR 12.50. Subscriptions are the best, however. All TCL also holds about a hundred lines of school buses. Since May 2005, the municipality, in partnership with a private company, it opened its ‘VELO’V’ extensive network of bike stations, which can be rented for a small fee, through a self-service system. There are over 4500 bike. This system is very successful, with over 30,000 users daily.
Lyon has almost all industries as a highly developed city in terms of economics. A good international reputation is in the following areas: mechanical engineering, textile, chemistry and pharmacy, health. Lyon has a lot of green space. The most important parks and public gardens are: Tête d’Or Park; Parilly Park; The banks of the Rhone; Garden Rosa Mir; Gardens Fourvière; Park Heights; Gerland Park. Around town – Vineyards: Beaujolais: start at 20 km north around the town of Villefranche; Coteaux du Lyonnais: the south-west outskirts of the urban area; Côtes du Rhône: located between Lyon and Vienne.
Protected Areas – Rhone floodplain area, where live many beavers. International organizations: Interpol headquarters; Headquarters of Euronews; Headquarters of IARC – International Agency for Research on Cancer (WHO body); Office to prepare the response to epidemics (WHO body). Personalities linked to the city of Lyon – People ecclesiastical: St. Irenaeus, bishop and martyr, Father of the Church; Artists and writers: François Rabelais (1493-1553), Louise Labé (between 1520 and 1525-1566); Poetess: Pierre Puvis de Chavannes (1824-1898), symbolist painter, Tony Garnier (1869-1948), Architect and urban planner, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry (1900-1944), writer and aviator.
Scientists and Inventors: Andre-Marie Ampere (1775-1836), Physicist and mathematician, Lumière brothers: Auguste Lumière (1862 – 1954) and Louis Lumière (1864 – 1948), the inventors of cinema, Alexis Carrel (1873-1944), Nobel Prize Laureate for Medicine in 1912, Victor Grignard (1871-1935), Nobel Prize Laureate in Chemistry in 1912; Politicians: Claudius (10 AC – 54 AC), Roman Emperor; Caracalla (188-217), Roman Emperor, Raymond Barre (1924-2007), Mayor of Lyon (1995 – 2001), Prime Minister of France (August 29, 1976 to May 13, 1981).
Lyon is a city synonymous with the silk industry and the French Resistance and has a reputation as “the world capital of gastronomy.” The city is located between the rivers Rhone and Saone, in southwestern France. Here are some of the best restaurants and chefs in the world, being the second largest metropolitan area after Paris. The main part of the town, where the most important government buildings and museums are, is located in Presque`Ile peninsula, situated between the rivers. The ground was highest in the north suburb of La Croix-Rousse. On the right bank of the river Saone is Fourviere Hill, site of the former Roman town and suburb Valse. On the left side are former suburb and district Guillotiere Les Brotteaux.
Culinary history started in the first half of the twentieth century when many bourgeois families fired their kitchens. They were going to revolutionize the city, established as their own restaurants and cooking for the most discerning dignitaries of the time. Besides the many restaurants, bistros and cafes are also found in France’s three major parks, 30 museums and numerous historical monuments. In Lyon is the world famous orchestra.
Many personalities were born in Lyon, and lived and worked here. They include Dr. Francois Rabelais, AM Ampere physicist, writer Antoine de Saint-Exupery, Barthelemy Thimonnier, sewing machine inventor Joseph-Marie Jaquard, Montgolfier brothers, who built the first hot air balloon and the Lumiere brothers, inventors of cinema. The glass dome 300 years old has become a trademark of Lyon, between City Hall and the Rhone River. The first five floors are underground work and glass dome houses another six floors. The hall has 1,200 seats and six vertical rows of balconies overlooking the orchestra.
Italian-style hall is lined with black wood with gold, which adds a luxurious air. The building houses the National Opera Ballet Company and the famous Opera Orchestra.11