Lyon, buildings old and new

The Romans first came here a long time ago, in the times of small number BC. There are some ruins visible from that time, the largest being an ampitheatre that has been excavated and looks to have been renovated to give a feel of what it once was. The  local council seems to have created a “modern social space” by overbuilding the Roman foundations with a large stage, light towers, various outbuildings and a big bar. My girl thinks its temporary, I’m less sure, but I am certain, it looks naf, or as they might say in Lyon, Nf.

There are buildings that do look great. The old town has retained its 16th and 17th century stone buildings.


The apartment we rented was in a 17th centruy building. Our apartment was reached using the very original spiral stone staircase. With 85 steps!! And a view downwards that made me feel a bit sick.

There are buildings even taller than our rented apartment in Lyon that date from around the same time. One is a cathedral and the other may also be a cathedral if you are allowed two in such close proximity. They are both monsters.

Back to the common silk weaver in the 16th century. That weaver wanted to quickly transport silk from one place to another. The blocks of buildings meant a walk to the end of one street, around the corner and up the next street. This was time consuming and left the silk exposed to the elements. So the canut (as I think you will find these silk workers are named); so the canut built passageways through buildings and peoples houses and courtyards. These passageways are still there. Some are private property, but many are still open to the public and wind under peoples homes and through their courtyards. If you are ready for more linguistic learning these passageways are called traboules.


Behind these anonymous doors are the traboules. A little less anonymous as the municipality has added brass plaques.

Behind the green door is a narrow dark passageway and lightwells that are courtyards and access stairways for the apartment dwellers:

Moving from the old town Lyon has invested in rejuvenating the southern tip of presqu’ile where the two rivers, Saone and Rhone, meet. Unsuprisingly, this area is known as Confluence, possibly with “La” at the front. A museum has been built in an architectural style that is worth the combination of Metro and Tram to get there and view. The building is great and it has a feature of which I always approve; its free to look around, so we did. The exhibitions you pay to visit, so we didn’t.

Finally, I may not know much about art. But……


I know that a visit to the Museum of Modern Art in St Etienne is sufficient to stop all mention of football matches being boring (which they aren’t, by the way)


And, I know to wear pants when wandering beside the river in Lyon.



2 thoughts on “Lyon, buildings old and new

  1. “One is a cathedral and the other may also be a cathedral if you are allowed two in such close proximity. They are both monsters.”

    The one at ‘river level’ is a cathedral, the Cathedral of Saint Jean. The bishop/Cardinal works out of the building next door so it is a true Cathedral. The one on the hill is not a cathedral but a basilica, the Basilica of Fourviere. 🙂

    Hope you are enjoying Lyon – it’s a great place to live but even a shot visit can be fun.

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