"Lyon, the city of Vélo'v" Top 5 Page for this destination Lyon by Nemorino
Lyon Travel Guide: 558 reviews and 1,313 photos
Lyon is a beautiful city at the confluence of the Rhône and Saône Rivers in east-central France in the Rhône-Alpes region. Among many other attractions, Lyon has a very distinctive and successful opera house. The building is an unusual combination of old (1831) and new (1993) components, which means you can't confuse it with any other building in Lyon or probably the world. Though the interior color scheme is rather off-putting (black, black and black), I immediately felt right at home when I went in, as do the people of Lyon and vicinity, who recently voted the Opera the most popular cultural institution in the city.
The opera I saw there was Luisa Miller, the fifteenth opera by Giuseppe Verdi (1813-1901). This is one of four Verdi operas that are based on plays by the German dramatist, poet and historian Friedrich Schiller (1759-1805), the others being Giovanna d'Arco (Joan of Arc), I masnadieri (The Robbers) and one of the world's greatest operas, Don Carlos.
You can read more about the Lyon Opera in my first batch of Things to Do tips and in my first Restaurant tip.
I also went to two plays while I was in Lyon. The first was Les Femmes savantes (The Learned Ladies), a seventeenth century comedy by Molière (1622-1673) at the beautiful old Théâtre des Célestins. The second was a twenty-first century tragi-comedy called L'anniversaire (The Birthday) by Jean-Pierre Roos at a tiny theater called the Théâtre des Marronniers (Chestnut Theater) hidden away in a tiny back courtyard on a small street called Rue des Marronniers.
Also I followed the advice of VT member JLBG and went out to the 8th arrondissement of Lyon for a guided tour of the Lumière Villa and Museum on the "Street of the First Film", where the Lumière brothers invented the motion picture camera and made their first film -- a very short film of workers coming out of their factory after work. This film had no plot and only lasted 46 seconds, but it was a big hit when it was first shown in Paris in 1895, because no one had seen anything like it.
Appropriately enough, the Museum of Fine Arts in Lyon has a painting from the year 1879 showing a photographer with his head under a black cloth taking a wedding photo of a young couple. Photography at that time was still a complicated process that could only be done by a few skillful experts, but just a few years later the Lumière brothers changed that when they began mass-producing photographic dry-plates at their factory in Lyon. Soon anyone (who could afford it) could take photos, not just a few skilled professionals.
Lyon has an excellent bicycle sharing system called Vélo'v, which is a combination of the French word Vélo, meaning bicycle, and the English word Love.
Vélo'v was not the first bike sharing program in France, by any means, but when it was inaugurated in 2005 is was the largest. It was such a huge success that it gave the Paris mayor and city council the confidence to start a similar but even larger program, Vélib', just two years later.
When I arrived in Lyon I bought a one-week Vélo'v subscription which I made very good use of. I went everywhere by Vélo'v, using dozens of bikes each day, and when I got my credit card invoice at the end of the month I found that they had billed me all of three Euros –- even cheaper than in Paris!
In March 2012 the German and French railways began running a direct high-speed train connection (only once a day at... more travel advice
This quite new railroad station (opened in 1978) is now the main station of Lyon, where most of the TGVs and other... more travel advice
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Lyon Travel Guide
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