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Lyon Hotels

Lyon City Info

Lyon Hotels

The capital of French gastronomy, Lyon offers a choice between the popular charm of its famous "bouchon " bistros, the refined elegance of its two-and-three-star gourmet restaurants, and the warm, lively atmosphere of its open-air markets. In 2006, a 5-km stretch of the Rhone River embankments will be developed into a riverside promenade, running from the northern end of the city to the southern end. Two ambitious projects to build leisure areas will round out the new urban landscape: the Carré de la Soie in Villeurbanne, scheduled for completion in 2006, and the Lyon Confluence site, to be finished in 2007.

In Lyon, you can reach the nearest resorts in the world's largest ski area - the Alps - in just 1 hour 30 minutes by car. With the Mediterranean TGV high-speed rail line, Marseille and the sea are just 1 hour 40 minutes from downtown Lyon. Other ideal weekend getaway spots like the Provence, Ardèche, Drôme, Beaujolais, Burgundy, Jura and Dombes regions are only an hour or two away by car. The city is now busy forging a role for itself within a new Europe, with international schools and colleges, the new HQ for Interpol, a recently inaugurated eco-friendly tram system, a second TGV station with links to the north that bypass Paris, and high-tech industrial parks for international companies making it a modern city par excellence. More so than any other French city, it has embraced the monetarist vision of the European Union and is acting, with some success, as a postmodern city-state within it. Most French people would find themselves in Lyon for business rather than for recreation: it's a get-up-and-go place, not a lie-back-and-rest one. You probably wouldn't plan a two-week stay - as you might in Provence 's cities - but Lyon certainly has its charms. Lyon is organized into arrondissements, of which there are nine. A visit to Lyon will necessarily take you into the Presqu'île (1er and 2e arrondissements), the area between the Rivers Saône and Rhône, and you're likely to spend some time in Vieux-Lyon (5e) on the west bank of the Saône, as well as the east bank of the Rhône (3e), including the modern development known as La Part-Dieu.

Lyon Tourist Attractions

Basilique de Notre Dame de Fourvière (Basilia of Fourvière)

The Basilica of Fourvière dominates the city. It is located on top of the hill where the Romans first set up camp and is visible from almost any point in the city centre. During the Franco-Prussian War, the Catholics of Lyon vowed that they would build a giant church on Fourvière Hill, in honour of the Virgin Mary, if she would spare the city from the enemy. Lyon was spared and so the church was built. The basilica was inaugurated in 1896 and represents a somewhat chaotic mixture of styles and materials.

Cathédrale St-Jean

This beautiful cathedral is located at the foot of the Fourvière Hill. It was built between the late 12th and 15th centuries, on the remains of a fifth-century church, offering a perfect illustration of the transition from Roman to Gothic architecture. The crypt provides the opportunity for visitors to see the foundations of the cathedral. The stone medallions and glass mosaics are worth a much closer look, with some of them dating from the 14th century. The cathedral has maintained a 14th-century astronomical clock equipped with a surprisingly sophisticated system of automatons. ding scooters and motorcycles.

Musée des Beaux-Arts ( Museum of Fine Arts )

The Museum of Fine Arts is situated in the very heart of Lyon and is housed in the former Abbey of the Ladies of St-Pierre. The origins of this former Benedictine convent stretch back to the seventh century, although it was entirely rebuilt in the 17th century. Known as 'little Louvre', the museum, with its 7000 sq metres (75,320 sq ft) of exhibition space, offers a complete retrospective of Ancient Greek and Egyptian arts and civilisations, as well as sculptures and paintings from the Middle Ages to the present day.

Musée de la Civilisation Gallo-Romaine ( Museum of Gallo-Roman Civilisation )

On the archaeological site of Fourvière, the museum contains the richest archaeological collections from Gaul after the National Museum of St-Germain-en-Laye. The museum was built around the remains of the archaeological site, partly underground, with subterranean passages through the site connecting the various exhibits. Its collection comes primarily from discoveries made in Lyon and throughout the Rhône-Alpes region. Of a special interest are the extraordinary series of inscriptions, statues, mosaics, sarcophagi and everyday objects of Gallo-Roman life.

Hôtel de Ville (City Hall)

The construction of the City Hall began during 1646, although it was renovated later on, in the 17th century, following partial destruction by fire in 1674. The original structure was Louis XIII in style, however, later embellishments made the outside more elaborate and Italianate, with sculptured pediments and domes. The interior, with its extravagant Baroque-style decor, is the result of 19th-century renovation.

Centre for the History of the Resistance and Deportation (CHRD)

This well designed museum puts Lyon 's role in the resistance and deportation of World War II into context. Ironically, the museum is situated in the former headquarters of the Gestapo, the place where the local Gestapo leader, Klaus Barbie, known as the 'Butcher of Lyon', tortured or killed his victims and sent thousands of others to concentration camps. The curators of the permanent exhibition have made a conscious effort to illustrate the somewhat ambiguous position of France during its occupation, while also portraying the importance of Lyon as a centre of organised French resistance.

Silk-Weavers' House

Maison des Canuts is both a museum of silk weaving and a co-operative, created to preserve the traditions of the industry and sell its own designs. It has an important collection of historical textiles and houses examples of the famous Jacquard loom. With a guided tour narrated by authentic canuts or silk-weavers, this museum offers a fascinating insight into the silk industry.

Textile Museum

Since 1946, this museum has been located in a 17th-century mansion, which used to be the residence of the Governor of Lyon. The museum houses a remarkable collection of over 1000 textile samples from both Eastern and Western civilisations throughout the ages and tells the story of textiles, with particular attention on silk-manufacturing from the Renaissance to the present day and the development of Lyon as the European silk capital.


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