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Motto: Avant, avant, Lion le melhor.
(Old Arpitan: Forward, forward, Lyon the best)[nb 1]

Lyon paysages.jpg
Top, Lyon, with the old city in the foreground. Centre, the Pont Bonaparte, at night, and the Pont Lafayette. Bottom, the Place Bellecour, with the Basilique de Notre-Dame de Fourvière and the Tour Metal in the background.
Flag of Lyon
Coat of arms of Lyon
City flag City coat of arms
Lyon is located in France
Country France
Region Rhône-Alpes
Department Rhône
Arrondissement Lyon
Subdivisions 9 arrondissements
Intercommunality Urban Community
of Lyon
Mayor Gérard Collomb (PS)
Elevation 28 –
Land area1 47.95 km2
Population2 484,344  (2010[1])
 - Ranking 3rd in France
 - Density 10101 PD/km2
Urban area 954.19 km2 (1999)
 - Population 1,551,228[2] (2010)
Metro area 3306 km2 (2006)
 - Population 2,118,132.[3][4] (2008)
Time zone CET (GMT +1)
INSEE/Postal code 69123/ 69001-69009
1 French Land Register data, which excludes lakes, ponds, glaciers > 1 km² (0.386 sq mi or 247 acres) and river estuaries.
2 Population without double counting: residents of multiple communes (e.g., students and military personnel) only counted once.

Coordinates: 45°46′N 4°50′E / 45.76°N 4.84°E / 45.76; 4.84

Lyon (, locally: [lijɔ̃]; Arpitan: Liyon; [ʎjɔ̃]; historically spelled Lyons) is a city in east-central France in the Rhône-Alpes region, situated between Paris and Marseille. Etymologically it relates to the Celtic God Lugoves, Lugh as do Laon and Leiden. Lyon is located approximately 470 km from Paris, 320 km from Marseille, 420 km from Strasbourg, 160 km from Geneva, 280 km from Turin. The residents of the city are called Lyonnais.

The population of Lyon is 484,344 (2010).[1] Together with its suburbs and satellite towns, Lyon forms the largest conurbation in France outside Paris. Its urban region represents half of the Rhône-Alpes region population with 2.9 million inhabitants.[5] Lyon is the capital of this region, as well as the capital of the smaller Rhône département.

The city is known for its historical and architectural landmarks and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Lyon was historically known as an important area for the production and weaving of silk and in modern times has developed a reputation as the capital of gastronomy in France. It has a significant role in the history of cinema due to Auguste and Louis Lumière, who invented the cinematographe in Lyon. The city is also known for its famous light festival 'Fête des Lumières' which occurs every 8 December and lasts for four days, earning Lyon the title of Capital of Lights. Legend says that the Virgin Mary saved the city from the plague and, to thank her, a statue was built. On the day it was erected, the whole city was lit by candles that its citizens had put at their windows. The local professional football team, Olympique Lyonnais, has increased Lyon's profile internationally through participation in European football championships.

Economically, Lyon is a major centre for banking as well as for chemical, pharmaceutical, and biotech industries. The city contains a significant software industry with a particular focus on video games, and in recent years has fostered a growing local start-up sector.[6] Lyon also hosts the international headquarters of Interpol, Euronews and International Agency for Research on Cancer. By some measures, Lyon is ranked 2nd in France as an economic centre and convention centre.[7] Lyon was ranked 8th globally and 2nd in France for innovation in 2011.[8] It ranked 2nd in France and 38th globally in Mercer's 2010 liveability rankings.


Fourvière hill was a Roman colony in 43 BC by Munatius Plancus, a lieutenant of Caesar, on the site of a Gaulish hill-fort settlement called Lug[o]dunon, from the Celtic god Lugus ('Light', cognate with Old Irish Lugh, Modern Irish ) and dúnon (hill-fort). Lug[us] was equated by the Romans to Mercury.

Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa recognized that Lugdunum's position on the natural highway from northern to south-eastern France made it a natural communications hub, and he made Lyon the starting point of the principal Roman roads throughout Gaul. It then became the capital of Gaul, partly thanks to its convenient location at the convergence of two navigable rivers, and quickly became the main city of Gaul. Two emperors were born in this city: Claudius and Caracalla. Today, the archbishop of Lyon is still referred to as "Primat des Gaules" and the city often referred to as the "capitale des Gaules". [citation needed]

The Christians in Lyon were martyred for their religion under the reigns of the various Roman emperors, most notably Marcus Aurelius and Septimus Severus. Local saints from this period include Blandina (Blandine), Pothinus (Pothin), and Epipodius (Épipode), among others. In the 2nd century AD, the great Christian bishop of Lyon was the Easterner Irenaeus. [citation needed]

Burgundian refugees from the destruction of Worms by the Huns in 437 were resettled by the military commander of the west, Aëtius, at Lugdunum, which was formally the capital of the new Burgundian kingdom by 461.

In 843, by the Treaty of Verdun, Lyon, with the country beyond the Saône, went to Lothair I, and later became a part of the Kingdom of Arles. Lyon came under French control in the 14th century.

Fernand Braudel remarked, "Historians of Lyon are not sufficiently aware of the bi-polarity between Paris and Lyon, which is a constant structure in French development...from the late Middle Ages to the Industrial Revolution".[9] In the late 15th century, the fairs introduced by Italian merchants made Lyon the economic countinghouse of France. (Even the Bourse (treasury), built in 1749 resembled a public bazaar where accounts were settled in the open air.) When international banking moved to Genoa, then Amsterdam, Lyon remained the banking centre of France.

In 1572, Lyon was a scene of mass violence against Huguenots in the St. Bartholomew's Day Massacres.

During the French Revolution, Lyon rose up against the National Convention and supported the Girondins. In 1793, the city was assaulted by the Revolutionary armies and under siege for over two months before eventually surrendering. Several buildings were destroyed, especially around the Place Bellecour. Jean-Marie Collot d'Herbois and Joseph Fouché administered the execution of more than 2,000 people. A decade later, Napoleon ordered the reconstruction of all the buildings demolished during this period.

During the Renaissance, the city's development was driven by the silk trade, which strengthened the city's ties to Italy. (Italian influence on Lyon's architecture can still be seen today.)[10] Thanks to the silk trade, the city became an important industrial town during the 19th century. In 1831 and 1834, the canuts (silk workers) of Lyon staged two major uprisings. The 1831 uprising saw one of the first recorded uses of the black flag as an emblem of protest.[citation needed]

In 1862, the world's first funicular railway was built between Lyon and La Croix-Rousse.[citation needed]

During World War II, Lyon was a centre for the occupying German forces as well as a stronghold of resistance. The traboules (secret passages) through houses enabled the local people to escape Gestapo raids. On 3 September 1944, the city was liberated by the 1st Free French Division and the Forces Françaises de l'Intérieur. The city is now home to a resistance museum. (See also Klaus Barbie.)


The Rhône and Saône rivers converge to the south of the historic city centre forming a peninsula or "Presqu'île". There are two large hills, one to the west and one to the north of the city centre, as well as a large plain which sprawls eastward. West of the Presqu'île, the original medieval city (Vieux Lyon) was built on the west bank of the Saône river at the foot of the Fourvière hill. This area, along with portions of the Presqu'île and much of the Croix-Rousse is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

To the west is Fourvière, known as "the hill that prays". This is the location for the highly decorated basilica of Notre-Dame de Fourvière, several convents, the palace of the Archbishop, the Tour métallique (a highly visible TV tower, replicating the last stage of the Eiffel Tower) and a funicular (a railway on a steep hill).

To the north is the Croix-Rousse, known as "the hill that works". This area is traditionally home to many small silk workshops, an industry for which the city was once renowned. [citation needed]

Place Bellecour is located on the Presqu'île between the two rivers and is the third largest public square in France. The broad, pedestrian-only Rue de la République leads north from Place Bellecour. The 2nd arrondissement has many of the finest old residential buildings in Lyon and the area is known for its concentration of old Lyonnaise Catholic families, [citation needed] particularly in the Ainay part of the arrondissement.

East of the Rhône from the Presqu'île is a large area of flat ground upon which sits much of modern Lyon and contains most of the city's population. Situated in this area is the urban centre of Part-Dieu which clusters the Tour Part-Dieu (affectionately nicknamed "The Pencil"), the Tour Oxygène, the Tour Swiss Life (a shopping centre) and Lyon Part-Dieu (one of Lyon's two major rail terminals).

North of this district is the relatively wealthy 6th arrondissement, which is home to the Parc de la Tête d'Or (one of Europe's largest urban parks), the prestigious Lycée du Parc to the south of the park, and Interpol's world headquarters on the park's western edge. The park contains a free zoo that has recently been upgraded.

Panorama of the city of Lyon
Panorama of the inner city of Lyon, taken from the basilica of Notre-Dame de Fourvière's roof.


Lyon is classed as Humid Subtropical (Koppen: Cfa). Winters are colder than much of the south of France due to its more inland position, averaging 3.2 C in January. Summers are very warm, averaging just above 22 C in July. Precipitation is adequate year-round, at an average of 830 mm, but the winter months are the driest.

Climate data for Lyon (1981–2010 averages)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 17.9
Average high °C (°F) 6.4
Average low °C (°F) 0.3
Record low °C (°F) −23.0
Precipitation mm (inches) 47.2
Avg. precipitation days 9 8 8 9 11 8 7 7 8 10 9 9 104
Sunshine hours 73.9 101.2 170.2 190.5 221.4 254.3 283.0 252.7 194.8 129.6 75.9 54.5 2,001.9
Source: Météo France[11]

Sister cities

Lyon is twinned with:[12]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named commune
  2. Insee 2010 census
  3. Résultat du rencensement de 2007. Unité urbaine : Lyon. INSEE. Retrieved on 18 November 2010.
  4. Résultat du rencensement de 2007. Aire urbaine : Lyon. INSEE. Retrieved on 18 November 2010.
  5. Chiffres-clés de la population. Région urbaine de lyon. Retrieved on 18 November 2010.
  6. Lyon entrepreneurship, Lyon company, Invest Lyon – Greater Lyon. Retrieved on 3 April 2011.
  7. [1][dead link]
  8. Innovation Cities Top 100 Index, 2011. Innovation Cities Program (18 October 2011). Retrieved on 22 November 2012.
  9. Braudel 1984 p. 327
  10. Pierre Edmond DESVIGNES. Quartier renaissance Lyon : Vieux Lyon, quartier ancien et secteur sauvegarde Lyon. Retrieved on 3 April 2011.
  11. Prévisions météo de Météo-France. Météo France. Retrieved on 28 September 2010.
  12. 12.00 12.01 12.02 12.03 12.04 12.05 12.06 12.07 12.08 12.09 12.10 12.11 12.12 12.13 12.14 12.15 12.16 Partner Cities of Lyon and Greater Lyon. 2008 Mairie de Lyon. Retrieved on 21 October 2008.
  13. Twinning the Cities. City of Beirut. Retrieved on 17 March 2009.[dead link]
  14. British towns twinned with French towns. Archant Community Media Ltd. Retrieved on 2013-07-11.
  15. Partner Cities. Birmingham City Council. Retrieved on 17 July 2009.
  16. Frankfurt -Partner Cities. 2008 Stadt Frankfurt am Main. Retrieved on 5 December 2008.
  17. Guangzhou Sister Cities[via]. Guangzhou Foreign Affairs Office. Archived from the original on 24 October 2012. Retrieved on 2013-07-21.
  18. Leipzig – International Relations. © 2009 Leipzig City Council, Office for European and International Affairs. Retrieved on 17 July 2009.
  19. Miasta partnerskie - Urząd Miasta Łodzi [via] (Polish). City of Łódź. Archived from the original on 24 June 2013. Retrieved on 2013-07-21.
  20. Milano – Città Gemellate. 2008 Municipality of Milan (Comune di Milano). Retrieved on 5 December 2008.
  21. Twin towns and Sister cities of Minsk [via] (Russian). The department of protocol and international relations of Minsk City Executive Committee. Archived from the original on 2 May 2013. Retrieved on 2013-07-21.
  22. Montreal partner city. Retrieved on 5 February 2009.
  23. Saint Petersburg in figures – International and Interregional Ties. Saint Petersburg City Government. Retrieved on 23 November 2008.
  24. Pessotto, Lorenzo. International Affairs - Twinnings and Agreements. International Affairs Service in cooperation with Servizio Telematico Pubblico. City of Torino. Archived from the original on 2013-06-18. Retrieved on 2013-08-06.
  25. Yerevan - Partner Cities. Yerevan Municipality Official Website. © 2005—2013 Retrieved on 2013-11-04.
  26. Yerevan Municipality – Sister Cities. © 2005–2009 [2]. Retrieved on 22 June 2009.
  27. Official Yokohama City Tourism Website: Sister Cities. Yokohama Convention & Visitors Bureau. Retrieved on 11 November 2008.


External links

Part of this article consists of modified text from Wikipedia, and the article is therefore licensed under GFDL.

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