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This private mansion was built at the end of the 15th century and bought by the town of Lyon early in the 17th century to store council archives and as a venue for council meetings. Like most of the mansions in this neighborhood which were built at the end of the Middle Ages, the floors are connected by a series of loggias that open onto a central courtyard. The building has been perfectly restored and now houses the Musée de l'Imprimerie. Visitors can walk into the courtyard without charge to admire the remarkable mullioned windows in the loggias and the stele commemorating the first town meeting that took place in this mansion in 1604. Numerous exhibitions on graphic art, prints, calligraphy and photographs are organized throughout the year. Various enjoyable activities, seminars and workshops are organized for children as well as adults.
Since the 16th Century, Lyon has been the city of silk. The Atelier de Soierie demonstrates and allows one to appreciate how squares of silk are colored in typical Lyonnaise fashion. Visitors can actually see a demonstration of how products are made. On display here are Duffy Palmes, Cornets, Fragments Persans and Herade. There is a shop where you can buy cravats, shawls, silk squares, scarfs and more.
Located within the Gadagne museum, this museum's exhibit is all about France's best-known puppet - Guignol, created in Lyon in 1908 by the silk worker Laurent Mourguet. Mourguet was the inspiration behind Lyon's satirical street theater, thanks to his three creations - Guignol, Madelon and Gnafron, who poked fun at the forces of law and order and the king. The museum depicts the evolution of Guignol and Company, both through their performances and the ways in which they were made. Additional puppets from around the world are also on display.
The Musée des Miniatures et Décors de Cinéma (Museum of Miniatures and Cinematic Decorations) is an astonishing little private museum on Rue Saint Jean. It is of international standing and children will love the numerous games and dollhouses, while adults will appreciate the reconstruction of the famous theater and restaurant on site. Model makers will gasp in admiration at the skill and patient dexterity displayed at the huge number of exhibits lining the place. In short, this museum will be enjoyed by everyone! Check website for admission and concession details.
During the early-Christian era and the beginnings of the Western church, the word "ecclesia", the bishop's church, was used instead of cathedral. Archaeological excavations between 1973 and 1977 brought to light Lyon's Episcopalian church complex in this area. Three churches and a surrounding wall were built in the 4th century: Sainte-Croix church where catechumen or novices (unbaptized followers) were taught, St Etienne baptistery where the faithful were baptized and the "ecclesia" where the Bishop welcomed the baptized. In Carolingian times, baptisms took place in the main church where baptismal fonts were used instead of the tanks in the baptistery. The history and evolution of this garden can be seen in the restored relics such as the foundations of Sainte-Croix and Saint Etienne, the baptismal tank where the faithful were immersed and part of the surrounding wall was built in the 6th century with the remains of Roman monuments (some still bear inscriptions).
This magnificent cathedral was founded in the 11th-Century by Saint Pothinus and Saint Irenaeus, who happened to be the first two bishops of Lyon. However, construction of the cathedral did not get underway until roughly 1180 and was not completed until 1480. Of particular interest to visitors are the two crosses hung on either side of the altar; these relics were placed on the walls in 1274 to symbolize the union of the churches. Also of note is the Bourbon chapel, which is considered to be a masterpiece of 15th-Century architecture. Visitors can also admire the cathedral's grand astronomical clock, which dates back to the 14th-Century.
Built between 1872 and 1884 by the architect Pierre Bossan, the Basilique de Fourvière, that has been nicknamed the "upside down elephant" is representative of the eclecticism of the end of the 19th Century. The oriental, symbolic and neo-classical influences (twisted columns and columned porticoes) are mixed with architecture inspired by the medieval style towers, which creates a shocking fortress church. An observatory offers spectacular views, and under the basilica is a crypt, accessible from the esplanade. Guided tours are available. Check website for mass and admission details.
To enter this museum you first have to go through the Musée des Tissus (Fabric Museum). Sprawled over two stories, this museum is a treasure-house of furniture, tapestries, china and earthenware. There are rooms reconstructed a la mode the 18th century with magnificent clocks, Aubusson and Gobelins tapestries, 15th and 16th century Italian majolica, earthenware from the same era as well as a beautiful harpsichord made by Donzelague in 1716, which is still used for concerts. The museum is renowned for its eclectic collection and rather jumbled displays. For more information please see the website.
Sheltering some of the most ancient Roman relics like thermal baths and tombs, the archaeological park on the Fourviere Hill is a treasure trove of Roman history. The Fourvière Archaeological Park boasts two remarkable archaeological finds: a Roman theater that happens to be the oldest of its extant in Gaul, and an Odeon dating back to early 2nd Century. These two theaters are believed to have been the heart of community life in the area and were large enough to accommodate over 13,000 people. The ruins were discovered in the early 20th Century, and have since been restored to full working order. Theater-lovers can take in a show in this unique venue, while visitors to the park can walk around these monuments of the past while enjoying views of the sparkling Rhône and Saône rivers.
Between 1831 and 1848, the canuts (Lyonnaise fabric weavers) revolted to improve their living and working conditions. In following the evolution of weaving techniques, this museum traces the history and evolution of what has become a Lyonnaise symbol. The exhibition covers the evolution of weaving technique and, of course, the technique of making Jacquard, which allowed them to produce five times more per day. The shop offers a vast selection of squares, scarves, neckerchiefs, ties, 100% natural silk articles—all made in the pure canut tradition.
The Gillet family, some of the biggest industrialists in Lyon, had their private mansion called "Villa Gillet" built in Parc de la Cerisaie, situated in the Croix-Rousse area. The city council bought it in 1976 and it is now dedicated to art with a special section that promotes modern art (music, painting, sculpture, photography, video, literature etc). In the actual park, which is one of the nicest in the area, there are various sculptures (by J.B. Raynaud, B. Pagès and others) to be discovered.
Established in the 19th Century, Parc de la Tête d'Or is a cornucopia of entertainment, with its zoo, 5-hectare rose garden, an enormous greenhouse filled with exotic species, and a mysterious island. This lush green park is considered to be the lung of Lyon. With pony rides, jogging and cycling paths, a mini-golf course, a toy train track and several sporting facilities, there is no shortage of entertainment here. There are also stalls for food and souvenirs. The Jardin Botanique de Lyon and the Statue which commemorates the twenty-second G7 conference are popular tourist attractions.