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.
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.
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.
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.
UNESCO recently listed the old part of Lyon, Vieux Lyon, including the Croix-Rousse and Presqu'île areas as a world heritage site. This Gothic and Renaissance district, famous for its maze of narrow streets and elegant buildings certainly deserves it! The culturally rich district is famous for its quaint cathedrals, churches, and building of historic importance. The office du Tourisme de Lyon organizes guided tours in English and French, which help you discover the best of Old Lyon.
Since 1803, Musée des Beaux-Arts has housed premier collections and exhibitions. Today it boasts more than 600 paintings, 300 sculptures and thousands of objets d'art, including antiquities, coins and medals. The ground floor houses the refectory and chapel (formerly the church of St Pierre), containing 19th-and 20th-century sculptures. The first floor includes Egyptian, Greek, and Roman (before 200 CE) antiquities; the second floor is dedicated to paintings from the 15th-20th Centuries. Two book and gift shops and a refreshment area are also available on-site.
Saint Irénée is one of the earliest Christian Gaul funeral basilicas, like Saint Just and Saint Laurent de Choulans. Archaeological digs in 1947 and then 1977 have allowed us to find out its precise origin, which texts attest its date as being at least from the beginning of 6th century. The burials (4th-6th century) discovered both inside and outside the church confirm its funeral function, which corresponds with the development of the martyr cult - believers wanted to be buried close to the saints, themselves buried at the heart of the edifice, usually in the chancel. Just like Saint Just, Saint Irénée was destroyed by the Protestants towards 1562. Restored then looted during the Revolution, it now presents 19th century architecture inspired by Byzantine churches.
Something of an institution, Théâtre de Poche is led by Jeannine Berdin and offers contemporary, sometimes feminist works. This is a highly recommended venue, and a great place to appreciate the culture of Lyon.
Having opened its doors in the year 1981, Galerie Le Réverbère is one of the oldest and most revered photography galleries in the city. In fact, the displays of nationally known photographers has led to national fame for this establishment. The 300 square meter (3229.17 square feet) space has been host to exhibitions of renowned contemporary photographers such as William Klein, Jacques Damez, Arielle Bonzon. All in all, this is a place all art and photography lovers must visit when in Lyon.
The L' Atelier des Ombres is both a gallery and a workshop, where established artists meet up-and-coming talent and vice versa. The public cannot get enough of it and visit in droves. The Atelier des Ombres puts on workshops for children as well as a painting school for adults. A great place to learn about art with artist sharing their know how and secrets with upcoming artists and the general public.
The Collège Ponsard, among its mission of educational excellence, also hosts a number of events, including the city of Vienne's annual jazz festival.
The abbey of Saint-Nom-de-Jésus, a contemporary of Eglise de Saint Georges was built imitating the architecture of the end of the Middle Ages. L.Bresson constructed this Neo-Gothic church in the middle of the 19th century, according to models of the convents from the 13th to 14th century. The construction followed the renovation of a Dominican convent. It was even a Dominican, Father Dauzas, who designed the stained glass windows which can still be seen today.