11 May Discovery Lyon, France
by Daria Denisova from Russia
The body of Lyon
The landscape of Lyon can be broken down into three elements:
The site: at hte confluence of the Rhône and the Saône, the centre of Lyon stretches along a thin peninsula.
The presence of the two river sis everywhere to be seen: 26 bridges, 20 km of banks and docks… but the city also stands on three hills and stretches eastward into a plain dominated, when the weather is fine, by the Mont Blanc!
The silhouette: the Fourvière Basilica; the tall canut buildings of the Croix-Rousse; the long apartment blocks of the Duchère on the horizon … and in the plain, almost reaching the same altitude as the hills, the lighthouse of the «other cente» of Lyon, the Part-Dieu Tower, nicknamed the «Pencil».
The conurbation: no fewer than 59 different municipalities spread out over the 538 km2 of the metropolitan area.
The 470,000 inhabitants of Lyon – and 1,300,000 inhabitants of the metropolitan area – are citizens of the world: Locals from Rhône-Alpes, French people from other regions, Europians, Asians, Africans …
The economic activities of today are the heirs to a long-standing Lyonnais tradition of technological and economic initiative: high-tech industries, chemicals and banking, but also humanistic concerns: the healthcare and humanitarian sectors.
At the beginning to this new 21st century, Lyon is undergoing a makeover: the banks of the rivers and the confluent are being clawed back, the former industrial districts reconvered, and now sisters the «Pencil» are beginning to work their way skywards: the Oxygen and Incity towers, nearly 200 metres high!
TOP 10 – sights of Lyon
Traboules of Lyon One of the main sights of Lyon are ancient lanes (traboules) of which is located under buldings. More than 400 narrow lanes at the moment exist in Lyon.
Parc de la Tête d’Or (Park of the Golden Head) The largest city park in France Parc de la Tête d’Or is the place for family rest, run and bicycle walks. Many of sights of the park are directed to children, including small zoo, the tiny train and puppet theater.
The Institut Lumière When brothers Lumiere created first-ever «cinematograph» in 1895, it caused revolution in art, the cinema appeared. The institute Lumiere is a big native home in modernist style where brothers invented the first moving images, here visitors can learn everything about history of an unusual family and about an origin of early cinema, and also will be able to see the first scenes shot by brothers Lumiere.
Murals of Lyon: Lyon, along with Berlin, is the capital of the painted walls of Europe and one of the five largest cities in the world of wall paintings. About a hundred paintings decorate the walls of Lyon, including in working-class neighborhoods. Murals in Lyon exist for 30 years and in all that time, Lyon was able to develop this art, while maintaining its primary purpose: to tell about the city, its vicinities, its population.
The Place des Terreaux This land becamed the town square since the XVII century. The area is bordered to the East with the municipality, to the South with Museum of fine arts, and in the North with medieval buildings. Its area is 7000 square metres. The area is famous for the fountain Bartholdi.
The Museum of Faine Arts of Lyon The museum is located in the former building of the monastery St-Pierre. When nuns were expelled from the city during the French revolution, the local government board decided to transfer the building to the museum for preserving cultural values if the city. Offically opened in 1803 and completely repaired in 1990, the museum competes with Louvre today.
Old Lyon (Vieux Lyon) Old Lyon – medieval district in the western part of the cuty. It is located on slopes and at the foot of the hill Fourviere, on the right river bank of Sona. One of the biggest medieval district which remained up to now in Europe.
Fourvière The hill stretched along the river Sona over Old Lyon from its West side. All city of Lyon began with this hill – there was antique Lungdunum from whom the set of ruins remained: ancient theater, odeum, temple of Cybele, Roman terms, etc. On the hill Fourviere there are also others, more modern, sights: Basilica of Notre-Dame de Fourviere, Museum of the Gallo-Roman civilization, etc.
Confluence district The newest district of Lyon – Confluence (merge). This area is located in the place of merge of Rona and Sona, at the southernmost tip of the historic centre of the coty – Presqu’ile. The former industrial zone with waste grounds began to be restored to life, thanks to the multimillion project of development of the city quite recently. Many famous architects worked on the project and it was noted for ecological and stylish design by the French government, the European commission and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF).
Bellecour square (La Place Bellecour) The main sight of the district located between Sona and Rona – is the largest pedestrian square in Europe. Larger sizes of the area made it the ideal place for local festivals, concerts under the open sky and other public actions. In the center of the area the equestrain statue of Louis XIV is located, also on the square there is a monument to Antoine de Saint-Exupery.
Each of these landmarks will, I hope, also accompany visitors as they discover the city best way possible: wandering along its streets, across its squares, admiring views and strolling along river banks.
Enjoy your stroll!