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Old Lyon district

May 20, 2019

20 years of Unesco World Heritage listing for the Vieux-Lyon. In this district with its narrow streets, you can walk around the mysterious traboules, discovering spiral staircases, shimmering facades and ancient gargoyles. It's enough to make you feel like an intriguing woman from another time!

At the foot of "the hill that prays", Notre-Dame de Fourvière, the Vieux-Lyon district stretches down to the Saône river. Be careful: here lies an exceptional historical heritage! A charm from another time that serves as a setting for Cour des Loges. From the Saint-Georges footbridge to the Place Saint-Paul, via the Saint-Jean cathedral, between Gothic and Romanesque art, you can observe two millennia of condensed history... Built during the glorious hours of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, Lyon's city centre then shifted eastwards, thus preserving the spirit and charm of the Italian Renaissance. Saved from destruction in the 1960s thanks to the support of André Malraux and the tenacity of an association, "Renaissance du Vieux-Lyon", the district can boast of being listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1998.

What is special about this area? Mostly pedestrian, this district is full of narrow lanes where all the architectural details of the time are displayed. If you want to see the longest traboules, go to 54 rue Saint-Jean, it crosses four building courtyards... But to find out which one is the most beautiful, ask our Clefs d'Or concierges for help: Lyon has no less than a hundred of them! Don't miss Saint-Jean Cathedral either. It is full of curiosities: its astronomical clock with animated automatons will delight young and old. At dusk, don't miss the rose window of the lamb above its portal: it reflects a light that could be described as... divine!

Finally, take advantage of the proximity of the metro to take the "ficelle", the funicular that goes up to Fourvière and thus embrace the whole of the Vieux-Lyon district, which "illustrates in an exceptional way the progress and evolution of architectural design and town planning over several centuries", as declared by the UNESCO World Heritage Committee.

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