Lyon is a city in eastern France and the capital of the Auvergne-Rhône-Alps region. It is the third largest city in the country and the second largest after Paris. Lyon does not often get on tourist routes although it has a rich history going back centuries to the period of ancient Rome. The city has preserved a magnificent historic center which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and includes the oldest ancient ruins in France, charming medieval streets, atmospheric quarters along the Seine and Rhine rivers as well as beautiful Renaissance buildings. Lyon is known for its gastronomy, cultural life and the place where cinema originated. It was here that the Lumiere brothers began producing their cinematographs.

Lyon's Old Town is its main attraction. It has more than 2000 years of history and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Despite the scars left on the "face of the city" after the French Revolution, Lyon has preserved unique monuments of antiquity, the Middle Ages and modern times.

The ancient site of Lyon is the Furvière hill where the Gallic settlement and the Roman city were founded. In the future the city grew from east to west occupying two more hills and merging the Rhone and Sona. The four historic districts cover an area of ​​500 hectares and literally transport you to Lyon's past.

On the hill of Furvier you can find the ruins of ancient Lugdun - the capital of Roman Gaul. Two ancient theaters recall the greatness and prosperity of the city. The big theater was built in the 1st century BC and expanded in the 1st century AD. The theater had a capacity of 10,000 spectators.

Nearby is a small odeon which the Romans used for concerts and public readings. Also nearby is the Archaeological Museum, where all the ancient discoveries and finds are stored. The Three Gallium Amphitheater was built in 19 AD. outside the Roman city and expanded on behalf of Hadrian. This facility was used for gladiator games. Also once a year representatives of the Gauls met here and swore allegiance to Rome. The amphitheater was discovered in the 19th century.

Ancient Lugdun was fed by water four aqueducts. They delivered clean water to the city from the nearby mountain ranges and were several tens of kilometers long.
History
Lyon is one of the oldest cities in France. Gallic Segussi tribe organized a place of trade at the confluence of the Rhine and Sona rivers. Later the Fort Lugdun emerged on the Furvier hill. In 43 BC the settlement was conquered by the Romans and became a Roman colony. The Romans greatly expanded and rebuilt Lugdun. Settlement had important commercial and military importance. Many Roman emperors were here and Claudius and Caracalla were born.

Under the Romans ancient Lyon flourished and was in fact the capital of Gaul. The highest period of flowering occurred in the 1st and 2nd centuries AD. Among the many Roman structures to this day preserved are the theater, the odeon, the amphitheater, the aqueducts and the thermae. At the end of the 2nd century AD. After the battle between Septimius North and Claudius Albin the city was plundered and burned. After that Lugdun declined.

In the 5th century Lyon ceased to be the capital of Gaul and was conquered by the Burgundians. In the first half of the 6th century the city came under the control of the Franks. At the same time in the 6-7 century it is undergoing constant raids and robberies. Lyon began to flourish again during the reign of Charlemagne. After the collapse of the Franks empire power over the city passed to the church. In the 12th century Lyon was divided between Germany and France along the Saone River.

In the 13th century two major religious events took place in Lyon - the Councils of Lyons. One of them even attempted to unite with the Orthodox Church. In the early 14th century Lyon was annexed to the French kingdom which became the end of the rule of archbishops. In the 15th - 16th centuries the city flourished through trade. In 1563 and 1574, a plague raged in Lyon which claimed the lives of a third of its citizens.

During the French Revolution Lyon sided with the Convention. The townspeople opposed the Jacobins and overthrew their dictatorship. Subsequently the Convention declared the city the enemy of the revolution. General Kellerman's army laid siege to Lyon and after a brutal two-month siege he was taken. On October 12, 1793, it was decided to destroy it. Jacobins virtually destroyed the Old Town and killed half the population. Lyon began to revive only during the reign of Napoleon.
Notable sights
The Basilica of Notre Dame de Fourviere is one of Lyon's main attractions and is located at the top of the eponymous hill above Sona. This stunning eclectic basilica was built in the 19th century after the Franco-Prussian War when Lyons swore to create a church dedicated to the Virgin Mary if the city was spared. The building is a mixture of Gothic and Byzantine style with ornate interior. It is also worth climbing here for the beautiful panorama of Lyon.

Between Fourvier and Sonai Hill is Old Lyon with charming Renaissance lanes. These narrow streets with merchant houses of the 15th and 16th centuries preserved the atmosphere of the time when Lyon was a fair city.

St. Jean Baptiste Cathedral is a magnificent medieval Romanesque cathedral and French Gothic style facade. It was built in the 12th century and is known for its beautiful stained glass windows of the 13th - 14th centuries. The window-rose on the facade dates from the late 14th century and the astronomical clock the 16th century.

The medieval quarters near
Saint Jean Cathedral are some of the most charming in Old Lyon. North of the church is full of charming narrow cobbled streets and quiet little courtyards. There are many traditional restaurants on the picturesque Place Neuve Saint-Jean Square. Several interesting museums are also located in the area: Museum of History of the City, Museum of Cinema and Miniatures, Museum of Dolls.

On the slopes of the Croix-Rousse hill is the historic weavers' area which was the center of the textile industry in the 19th century. It is one of Lyon's most beautiful places with many narrow sloping streets and charming curved stairs.

The Presqu'ile district boasts beautiful architecture and monumental city squares. Here you can see many magnificent Baroque and Renaissance buildings. In front of the town hall is a grand Barthold Fountain. The central area of ​​the area is Belcourt Square surrounded by elegant 19th-century buildings. In the center of the square is mounted the equestrian statue of Louis XIV.

The Temple of Change is a historic 18th-century building designed by architect Jean-Baptiste Roche. Used by Lyon traders as an exchange. The building was abandoned after the revolution.

Church of St. George is a 19th century neo-Gothic style church on the banks of the Sonia. It was built by architect Pierre Bossan and is a historical monument.

Church of St. Irenaeus is a 19th-century neoclassical church built on the site of a more ancient religious building of the Carolingian period. Inside the walls of the church are preserved ancient stone sarcophagi of the Roman necropolis.

Church of St. Martin is the only fully Romanesque church in Lyon dating from the late 11th century. It was built on the site of the ancient church of the Carolingian period (9th century). From the 13th century the church was part of the abbey of the same name, which was closed after the Huguenot wars. The church was badly damaged during the French Revolution and in the 19th century was threatened with destruction, but fortunately it was rescued and reconstructed.

Church of St. Bonaventure is an old French Gothic style church. It was founded in 1220, rebuilt in the 14th century and at the end of the 15th century. The church has the most beautiful organ in Lyon and old tapestries dedicated to Obusson.

Church of St. Nizier is one of Lyon's oldest religious buildings. The first church in this place was built in the 6th century. Although the first Christians have been gathering here since the 2nd century. The building was rebuilt in the Gothic style between the 14th and 15th centuries.
Hotels
Lyon is a very convenient city in terms of public transport so it doesn't really matter which area to choose. The most beautiful area of ​​the city is the center - on the island Presqu'île between the two rivers. Guillotière a favorite of Arab immigrants may be a bit of a dangerous night.

Good hotels in Lyon can cost an average of €50 per night.

Hotel Axotel Lyon Perrache (12, rue Marc Antoine Petit) . The hotel is in a very original building - not only architects will like it. Room from €49 for two.

Hotel Victoria Lyon (3 rue Delandine) . Nice two star hotel in the center, great breakfasts, however, parking fee. Another bonus is the nightlight around the corner. Double room costs €59.

Hotel Du Dauphin (9 rue Victor Hugo) is a small hotel with a pleasant atmosphere. They are ideally located near Perrache Station and Bellecour's Main Square in a quiet area.

If you are planning to come to Lyon for some specific big event (football match, festival etc.) it is best to take care of your accommodation in advance.
How to visit
The most convenient way to get to Lyon is by plane to Paris. There is a low-cost train from Paris Airport which will take you directly to Lyon in 2 hours (prices from €10). The only “but”: If you have big luggage purchase a separate seat for it (€5). From Grenoble to Lyon only 120 km. The airport is 25 km east of Lyon. It serves the following destinations: London, Rome, Paris, Madrid, Berlin, Brussels, Toulouse, Bordeaux.
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