Result of the expansion of the city during the second part of the Middle Ages, the district of the Presqu’Ile (the peninsula) is part of the area classified as a World Heritage site by UNESCO. The area has a beautiful architecture from its heyday in the 18th and 19th centuries. This area is the administrative and commercial center of the city.
Around the Place des Terreaux
Quai de la Pêcherie
The charming fishery dock has welcomed the book market for over 20 years, where treasure hunters can find anything and everything, especially rare books. See "Events, Markets."
The painted walls
La Fresque des Lyonnais
At the corner of quai Saint Vincent and Rue de la Martinière, 69001 Lyon
This 800 m2 painted wall represents 30 famous figures of Lyon evoking history, humanism, technology and research: the Emperor Claudius, Pauline Jaricot, Abbé Pierre, Paul Bocuse, Saint Exupéry, Jacquard, Claude Bernard, the Lumière brothers, Ampère, Marcel Mérieux, ...
La Bibliothèque de la Cité
At the corner of the quai de la Pêcherie and Rue de la Platière, 69001 Lyon
Measuring 400 m2, the painting, the “Library of the City” illustrates almost 500 literary works. The authors from Lyon and the region are found and mixed in with the windows or on the shelves of the library. This mural reflects the literary heritage of the city : Bernard Pivot, Voltaire, Louise Labé, Frédéric Dard, Elsa Triolet, Louise Calaferte, Rabelais, Reverzy, Annie Salager ...
Place des Terreaux
In ancient times, the location of the current district was a muddy ditch, and the name stuck, with “terreau” meaning mud or earth fill. In the 14th century, the Terreaux district was already a small, fortified town. The square was built in 1625, and hosted public executions, as well as a pig market. At that time the area was popular, and daily life was punctuated by the markets. From the 18th century onward the district experienced many improvements and became the center of administrative and economic life. The old Saint Peter's Abbey, founded in the 7th century, was enlarged and became the Saint-Pierre Palace. The Museum of Fine Arts moved there in 1803. The Bartholdi fountain that sits in the center dates back to 1892.
Place des Terreaux, 69001 Lyon
In 1888, Bartholdi created the "Chariot of Freedom." This fountain was originally intended for the city of Bordeaux. But Bordeaux found it too expensive, and it was the city of Lyon who ended up buying it in 1889. It represents France on a chariot, pulled by four horses that represent the French rivers. Its creator, Frédéric Bartholdi, was also the creator of the Statue of Liberty in New York.
Hôtel de Ville
Place de la Comédie (entrance) and Place des Terreaux (facade), 69001 Lyon
Tours organized by the Tourist Office.
First built in the mid-17th century by Simon Maupin (architect of the city), the City Hall was destroyed by fire in 1674. It was rebuilt by Jules Hardouin Mansart (architect of the king) in 1703. Place des Terreaux became the administrative center of the city. Previously, the City Hall building occupied the current printing museum, Rue de la Poulaillerie. The building was damaged during the Revolution, when it served as the revolutionary tribunal. It was not until 1827 that the reconstruction of the facade was undertaken. The equestrian sculpture of Henri IV that dominates the facade dates from this period, and replaced the statue of Louis XIV that was destroyed during the Revolution. The building is organized around two courtyards, one of which is raised, and four angled pavilions with a belfry enclosing the courtyard. The interior is exceptionally ornate. These beautiful painted Baroque decorations are the work of Thomas Blanchet from 1655.
Musée des Beaux-Arts
20 Place des Terreaux, 69001 Lyon
Website - tel : 04 72 10 17 40.
Full price / reduced price: €8 / €4. Free for those under 26 years old. Free with the Lyon City Card.
Open daily except Thursday: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. On friday from 10:30 a.m.
Wheelchair accessible. Multi-media library. Tea room and restaurant.
Located in the former royal abbey of the 17th century, the Museum of Fine Arts of Lyon is exceptional, the largest in France after the Louvre. Its major collections are divided into 70 rooms, over 7,000 m². It houses works of art from ancient Egyptian to modern art. It has one of the most important collections of European works of art, whether sculpture, painting, objets d'art ...
The museum includes, in particular, the department of Antiquity that retraces 3,000 years of history from the great civilizations of the Mediterranean, the department of art and sculptures that houses works from the Middle Ages to the Art Deco period (early 20th century), the médailler (medal display) that includes an impressive collection of over 50,000 coins and medals, as well as collections of European paintings from the 14th century to the present day.
For children, the museum features workshops, entertainment and cultural activities.
Opéra de Lyon
Place de la Comédie, 69001 Lyon
Website - tel : 04 69 85 54 54.
Guided tours on request. Wheelchair accessible.
The first building was built in 1756 by Jacques Germain Soufflot, then called the Grand Theatre. Destroyed by fire, it was rebuilt in 1831 and took the name Opéra. But this was not the current National Opera, which was rebuilt in the walls of the first opera in 1993. Today the building retains only the four facades from the 19th century. The interior was completely redesigned to triple the surface area on several levels.
Eight Muses, daughters of Zeus, were installed on the facade in 1862.
Eglise Saint Nizier
Place Saint Nizier, 69002 Lyon
Website - tel : 04 72 41 18 05.
Open daily excepted on Monday: Tuesday to Friday: 9 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. ; Saturday and Sunday: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
The Church of Saint Nizier was named after the bishop who was buried there in 579. Subsequently destroyed, it was rebuilt in the 14th and 15th centuries in a Gothic style. The portal was built in the following century in a Renaissance style.
Must see : the crypt decorated with mosaics from the 19th century, the Chapel of Our Lady of Grace (statue of the Virgin and Coysevox Child), the Chapel of Saint François de Sales and the painting of the bishop Saint Nizier (1813).
Musée de l’Imprimerie et de la communication graphique
13 rue de la Poulaillerie, 69002 Lyon
Website - tel : 04 78 37 65 98.
Full price / reduced price: €6 / €4.
Open Wednesday to Sunday: 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Closed on Mondays, Tuesdays and holidays.
It was the old Hôtel de la Couronne (15th century) that held the first City Hall before moving to the Place des Terreaux.
The Printing Museum helps visitors relive the history of books, printing and graphics technology since the time of Gutenberg. Its collections are some of the richest among European museums specialized in this field. It owes much to the print collections of Maurice Audin.
The museum is organized around four rooms devoted to the history of printed illustration. It also includes, in addition to printed materials, objects and vintage machinery.
The name of the street comes from the word merchant. This trading street already existed in the first millennium and was, during the Middle Ages, the main axis of communication of the Presqu’Ile (the peninsula). In the 16th century it was essentially a printing street. The magnificent Renaissance facades date back to this golden age. In the mid-20th century, the street was modified as part of an urban redevelopment. It became exclusively pedestrian in the 1980s and is now home to a friendly and festive atmosphere, numerous restaurants, including many typical “bouchons” (local specialty restaurants).
Rue de la République
69001 et 69002 Lyon
The Rue de la République was created in 1868 to connect Place Bellecour to Place Louis Pradel and the City Hall. Along this journey of more than a kilometer were also created two squares: Place de la République and Place des Cordeliers. A major historical event happened in this street in 1894: the French President Sadi Carnot was assassinated there at Place des Cordeliers.
Visitors can admire the typical 19th century facades, in the style of Haussmann. The southern part of the street has been pedestrianized.
Around the Place Bellecour
Place des Jacobins
LThe Place des Jacobins was created in 1557 on the site of the cemetery of the Jacobins. It was surrounded by a convent and a church destroyed in 1808. After changing its name several times, today it pays tribute to the preachers of the Order of Saint Dominic.
The fountain was completed in December 1885 by Gaspard André (1840-1896), to whom we also owe the Celestine Theater. In white marble, it represents Philibert Delorme (or de l’Orme), Guillaume Coustou, Gérard Audran and Hippolyte Flandrin.
Place des Célestins
The first traces of this pleasant square date from the 12th century, when the Templars had a commandery. When they were driven out, the Celestines established a monastery there from 1407 to 1778, when it was demolished. At this vacated location, the Celestine Theater was erected, one of the oldest in France.
Théâtre des Célestins
Place des Célestins, 69002 Lyon
Website - tel : 04 72 77 40 00.
To visit the theater, please contact the Tourist Office at 04 72 77 69 69. Wheelchair accessible.
The first dramatic performance at the Celestine Theater dates back to April 6th, 1792. The building would be rebuilt, however, during the 19th century. The current building is the work of architect Gaspard André, who created this theater in a typical Italian style with its horseshoe galleries and red and gold colors.
The huge Place Bellecour extends on 6 hectares, making it the third biggest square in France after the Esplanade Quinconces in Bordeaux and the Place de la Concorde in Paris. It was transformed into a parade ground in the 16th century. In 1658 Louis XIV had an equestrian statue erected in its center in his honor. It would be destroyed during the Revolution and rebuilt in bronze in 1825 by Lemot. At his feet, the two statues drawn by the Costou brothers in 1720 represent the Saône and the Rhône. Louis de Cotte, the first royal architect, designed the eastern and western facades of the square. They were created between 1807 and 1813.
The pavilion, which now houses the Tourist Office, dates back to 1852. The square also features a small park for children. Next to the square, there is a statue representing the Little Prince and Antoine de Saint-Exupery, created at the occasion of the centennial of the birth of the famous Lyonnais.
Today, Place Bellecour is the largest pedestrian square in Europe. It is also the point zero in Lyon, from which all the regional distances are calculated.
Clocher de l’Ancien Hôpital de la Charité
Place Antonin Poncet, 69002 Lyon
Can not be visited.
The belltower was part of the Charity Hospital, established in 1633. In 1804, the belltower was designed to allow mothers in distress to leave their babies. The system, anonymous, was very simple: the mothers placed their baby in a wooden cylinder, which turned on itself, and pulled a bell to warn the sisters. This system was stopped in 1843 and the hospital, abandoned, was destroyed in 1934. The open space allowed for the creation of Place Antonin Poncet.
Basilique Saint Martin d’Ainay
Place d'Ainay, 69002 Lyon
Website - tel : 04 72 40 02 50.
Open daily from 8:30 a.m to noon and 2:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. Closed on Sunday afternoon.
Guided tour available.
The Basilica of Saint-Martin d'Ainay is one of the few Romanesque churches of the city. It dates from the 11th century. Previously, this location was the site of a Carolingian church dedicated to Saint Martin and Mary in the 9th century. In the 13th century, the abbey was one of the most powerful in the kingdom of France, and here developed the cult of the martyrs of Lyon.
But the church was greatly damaged during the Religious Wars (16th century). The basilica lost its title of abbey in 1780, and was used as a fodder attic during the Revolution. Neglected, it was threatened with destruction in the early 19th century, but would be saved and eventually renovated in a neo-Romanesque style, which greatly transformed the original church. It was elevated to a basilica by Pope Pius X in 1905.
The four columns which surround the choir date from the year 12 BC. They come from the sanctuary of Rome and Augustus, which was on the slopes of the Croix-Rousse (see "Amphitheater of the 3 Gauls").
It retains much of its structure from the Romaneque period : the bell tower surmounted by an arrow, as well as the capitals from the 12th century. There's even a pre-Romanesque architecture in the Sainte Blandine Chapel. Many mosaics, paintings and sculptures also date from this period.
Musée du Tissu et des Arts Décoratifs
34 Rue de la Charité, 69002 Lyon
Website - tel : 04 78 38 42 00.
Full price / reduced price: €10 / €7.50. Free for children under 12 years old.
Open daily except Mondays and public holidays:
Musée des Tissus: 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Musée des Arts Décoratifs : 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
The collections of the Textile Museum come mainly from Europe (Sicily, Italy, France) and the East. The Oriental fabrics tapestries come from Persia, Asia Minor or Byzantium. Collections from Lyon are also featured.
The Museum of Decorative Arts presents silk products woven by the textile manufacturers of Lyon and its region. This comprehensive museum also displays porcelain, silver pieces, a collection of clocks, pendulums, pieces of woodwork, paintings, and tapestries from the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. The museum also features contemporary works, and has modern silver pieces.
For children : many cultural and educational activities.