"Lyon, Uneso World Heritage" Top 5 Page for this destination Lyon by tweetycaro

Lyon Travel Guide: 571 reviews and 1,360 photos

A bit of geography...

The Lyon metropolitan area, the largest in the Rhône-Alpes region, lies in a strategic location in the natural plain of the Rhone Valley. It is surrounded by the Beaujolais country in the north, the Monts du Lyonnais in the west, and the plains of the Dombes and Isère in the east and north.

Half way between the sea and the mountains, the city is characterized by duality. The two hills overlooking the city: -Fourvière and Croix-Rousse- and the two very different rivers running through Lyon reveal the two faces of the town. Another remarkable feature is the location at the confluence of the two rivers, the Rhone and Saône.

This position gives the city a particular physical feature: the Presqu?île peninsula. At the very tip of the peninsula, past the two bridges at La Mulatière, one can see the actual point of confluence, the place where the two bodies of water merge. A major urban development project known as "Lyon confluence" will be launched in this strategic zone at the far end of the "Presqu?île", long dedicated to industry and transport. The sector will be used for a major extension of the metropolitan area by freeing up large tracts of land. Plans for improved access and high-quality landscaping are an integral part of the project.

World Heritage Unesco

Since 5 december 1998, historic Lyon has been a listed Unesco World Heritage Site. This recognized Fourvièe hill, Old Lyon, the slopes of the Croix-Rousse and the Presqu'ile as outstanding examples of continuous urban settlement for more than two tousand years.

Birth of the Silk Industry

The Silk was an essential factor in the prosperity which Lyon has known in modern times. At the beginning, there was an intensive trade from Italian merchants, which is why there are colonies of Florentine, Genes, Lucq etc. All silk coming to France would necessarily come to Lyon.
Louis XI (1423-83) had the idea to make silk locally in order to reduce its cost. On the 23th November 1466, he built the industry... using funds from the City. However, seeing the hostility of the townspeople, he sent to Tours in 1470 the silk workers who he had made to come from Italy and Avignon.

Nevertheless, people of all conditions, enriched by the general prosperity prevailing, were wearing clothes made of silk. The Lyon population were now regretting their ancient attitude, since the competition was causing them harm. They were thus very favorable to the initiatives taken by a piemontese merchant, Etienne Turquet, who obtained from François 1st (1494-1547), in 1536, the necessary encouragements to start his workshop ... A new reign was to start: that of the Silkworkers ("Canuts").

Together with the trade, silk, gold and silver production, and more generally with all sorts of transactions, bank activities were also important and to which the Lyon Fairs were joined.

The goods fairs disappeared under the reign of Louis XV (1710-74), but the fairs involving payments continued until the Revolution.
These fairs had given rise to the Conservation Juridiction, or Trades Court. They were also at the base of the brokers institution and of an important money traffic. The payments were made at the Loge du Change (Change Bureau), built by Soufflot in 1750.

  • Last visit to Lyon: Mar 2004
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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