Lyon is the second largest city in France and has a history dating back over more than 20 centuries. Established by the Roman Emperor Augustus in 1BC as the capital city of the Gauls, it rapidly became one of the major economic, military, religious and political centres in France over the following centuries. Its location at the confluence of Rhone and Saone rivers enabled the town to develop major trading activities. As a result Lyon became the birthplace of the French silk industry, producing refined pieces of this precious fabric for the court of Louis XIV.
Ever since the Middle Ages Lyon has been considered the French capital of gastronomy. Today this is illustrated by the impressive number of restaurants within the city and surrounding area, ranging from the famous bouchons (typical local eateries) to Michelin star-awarded establishments.
Lyon is also home to the internationally renowned chef Paul Bocuse and his celebrated restaurants.
Serving as a stage for more than 2’000 years of history, the city has a remarkable architectural heritage. Expanding towards the east throughout the centuries, without destroying the existing areas, 500 hectares of its city centre became a Unesco World Heritage Site in 1998. Wandering around Lyon is like embarking on a fascinating journey through time.
As for culture, the National Opera, one of the 20 most prestigious ballets in the world, and the Célestins Theatre offer an ambitious programme all year round. Furthermore, the city has museums that exist nowhere else in the world, such as the Lumière Institute, the Fabric Museum, the Lyon History Museum, the Fine Arts Museum and the Puppets of the World Museum.
Thanks to a number of events hosted in Lyon, the city is vibrant all year round. Among the most appealing are the Festival of Lights, the Contemporary Art Biennial Event, the Dance Biennial Event, the Nuits Sonores (music and sound festival), the Nuits de Fourvière (cultural festival), Quais du Polar (Thriller festival) and the latest addition, the Grand Lyon Film Festival, all attracting millions of visitors each year.
Bolstered by its past but resolutely focused on the future, the city abounds with a number of ambitious projects, among which the Confluence district, one of the biggest town planning development projects in Europe, which is gradually taking shape.
For more information on Lyon’s sites, shopping and restaurants please visit www.en.lyon-france.com