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Best Local History & Culture in Lyon

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Lyon Historical Museum

Musee Historique de Lyon is located in one of the most prestigious Renaissance buildings in old Lyon. Constructed at the start of the 16th century by the son of a spice seller, it was turned into a museum in 1921. The history of Lyon from the middle ages to the 19th century is presented through archaeological relics, sculptures, paintings, lithographs, cards and maps. Spread out over three floors, you won't be disappointed in this history lesson that brings the past alive.

Lyon, France
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Musée Gallo-Romain de Lyon-Fourvière

To better understand the history of Lyon, you have to start with the Gallo-Roman Museum, on the hill of Fourvière. It shows the prehistory and the proto-history of the Lyonnaise region, as well as the birth of Lyon (43CE) up until the 7th Century. The museum is made up of areas with different themes - ceramics, glassware, tools, objects showing domestic life, belief systems relating to death, the army, religion, Roman Gaul circus games. More uniquely to Lyon, the key pieces are sarcophagi of the 3rd century, a processional chariot (700BC), which was found intact (area 1), the engraved Claudian table, which is fundamental for the understanding of the Roman state (area 4). There is also a lunar and solar calendar in the Gaelic language but using Latin characters, which allowed them to regulate religious life (area 9) and mosaics of circus games (chariot races), which are truly extraordinary (area 10). You can see that these give a good representation of what Lyonnaise's life would have been like under Roman occupation. Worth seeing in the surroundings is the Gaelic-Roman site of the large theater and the Odeon. The shop sells books, magazines, mock-ups, and copies of objets d'art. On top of this, there is a workshop to entertain and occupy children.

Lyon, France
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Maison des Canuts

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.

Lyon, France
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Center for the History of the Resistance and Deportation

The Centre d'Histoire de la Résistance et de la Déportation (Deportation and Resistance Historical Center) is located in what used to be the offices of the Gestapo and Klaus Barbie. While it avoids being too downbeat, the CHRD will leave no one unmoved. The themes of the exhibition are the onset of war and the beginnings of the resistance and deportation. Using an infra red audio system [trilingual], you can move through the exhibition at your own speed. The centre also organizes temporary exhibitions, such as the photographic exhibition of the World Press Foundation (war reportage and refugees of today). There is a library, studio, and conference space available on site.

Lyon, France
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