France Travel Planner by Tom Brosnahan & Jane Fisher   Vieux Lyon, France
The old part of the city is full of narrow streets and old buildings.




Vieux Lyon refers to a narrow strip of Lyon along the Saône River, west of the central Presqu'île, and the Fourvière Hill behind it (map).

It was originally three parishes, and the three churches remain today: Saint-Georges to the south, the Cathédral St-Jean in the center, and the smaller St-Paul in the north. In the late 19th/early 20th century the Fourvière Basilica was built on the top of the Hill. More...

Vieux Lyon is a great place to wander. As you walk, keep an eye out for entrances to the traditional Lyonnais traboules. These small corridors lead to lovely interiors. Historically they were used to transport goods from one street to the next; toay they provide shorcuts as well as interesting architectural features.

Most have graceful spiral staircases leading up four or five flights. They also have open galleries, also going up several floors, and they're often painted in warm reds, yellows, and oranges.

At 37, Rue St-Jean is La Maison du Chamarier, an excellent example of a traboule and beautiful gallery. Built in 1498 for the "Home Secretary" who levied taxes on merchants, it is one of the most beautiful buildings in Vieux Lyon.

Other traboules are part of private homes. By agreement, the doors are left unlocked until about 11 AM so that visitors can (quietly) take a look. There are several on Rue St-Jean; the one known as the Long Traboule runs from 54 Rue St-Jean through to 27 Rue du Boeuf. At 16 Rue du Boeuf is the lovely Tour Rose, with its tall pink tower.

A colorful traboule runs between 27, Rue St-Jean and 6, Rue des Trois Maries.

  Guignol, Lyon, France

The streets of Vieux Lyon are also lined with restaurants, shops, and the occasional guignol (puppet). You might want to see a traditional guignol show at the Théatre de Guignol.

And keep an eye out for gones, the Lyonnais word for street kids. You'll see it used on menus, shops, etc.

From near the Cathédrale St-Jean, you can take the funicular to the top of Fourvière Hill; when you see how steep it is, you'll be glad you did!

On Fourvière Hill you can visit the Basilica, see the Metallic Tower (copied from the top third of the Eiffel Tower), and visit the Roman Theater and Odéon, as well as the Musée Gallo-Romain.

Vieux Lyon, like many old cities in France, was saved from destruction in the 1960s by then Minister of Culture André Malraux. Like the Marais in Paris, Vieux Lyon had fallen into disrepair, and many wanted to tear it down and start anew. Fortunately, Malraux's program was put in place, and Vieux Lyon was the first area restored.


About Lyon

What to See & Do in Lyon

Lyon Restaurants

Lyon Transportation

Lyon City Card



Lyon Museums

Roman Lyon

Lyon Churches

Boat Tours of Lyon

Tourist Information


Paris Girls Secret Society, the new novel by Tom Brosnahan


Chamarier's House, Lyon, France

Above, The galleries of the beautiful Chamarier's House in Vieux Lyon.

Below, The Tour Rose.


Tour Rose, Lyon, France  

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