Lyon is one of the most important city of France with almost half a million of inhabitants and a superficy of 50 km². It's also the second touristic city after Paris with 6 millions of tourists every year. It is the capital of Rhone (department) and the Rhone Alpes (region).
The first real town in this area was found in 43 BC. The strategic location permitted the expanse of the town and it became the capital of the empire of Gaule in 27 BC. Today a great area of the city is listed in the world heritage of UNESCO, like the old town, Fourvière, Croix Rousse among others.
The old town has a lot of renaissance and medieval constructions. The traboules, which are the connections between the small medieval streets, were helpful during the second world war because they permitted the resistance to escape from the gestapo.They look likes some secret passages. The roman town (Lugdunum) were on the Fourvière hill. Today you can see the antic theater and the Odeon.
A basilica was built on the former forum of Lugdunum and named Notre dame de Fourvière. It's dedicated to the immaculate conception. It is one of the most visible building of the city. The two important places in the peninsula are the Terreaux place and the Bellecour place.The banks of the Rhone are designed and a lot of bars can be found on barges.
Some other important buildings and places :
- La part dieu : it's a big tower whose nickname is the "pencil Tower". It is 165 m high. It is the biggest commercial center build in a city in Europe. You can enjoy almost 250 shops.
- Some old buildings like the Brotteaux train station
- The park La tete d'or : it's a park of 117 ha in the north area of the city. It opened in 1857. Today it is a place where people go for walking, running, ride roller, biking, rest,... There is a zoological park, a velodrome, rosary and a botanic garden. It's located next to the campus of la Doua and the INSA.
All this places are enhanced during the “Fête des lumières” (the festival of Lights), during the week of the 8th December. In the religious history it is the date of the immaculate conception and then in 1854 the inauguration of the statue of Marie. This statue was erected in order to protect the city from the plague. At the end of the XIXème century, it became an important touristic event with millions of people coming every year. The tradition is to put a small candle (called "lumignon") on the window of your home. The buildings are illuminated and there are some light animations in the strategic places of the city. This event has an international reputation. Some other important events : in September the dance biennial and the contemporary art biennial.
Lyon and its region are also known as a gastronomic area : there are a lot of great chef like Paul Bocuse and Eugénie Brazier. The specialties of the city are the quenelle, the rosette (sausage), the "salade lyonnaise" (lettuce whith bacon, crouton and poached egg), … You can enjoy this dish in the Bouchon lyonnais, typical restaurants, disseminated among the city. The Rhone-Alpes region is also known for the cheese (tome de Savoie, reblochon, Mont d'or,...) and the wine (Beaujolais, Côte du Rhone).
Lyon had also played a great part in the history of cinema and photography thanks to the Lumière Brothers. August and Louis Lumière were among the earlier filmmakers in the history. In 1895, they projected their first short motion pictures, including their famous first film :“ Workers leaving the Lumieres factory”. Each film runs less than a minute, which represents a 17 meter long reel. They developed the device called cinematograph which allows the record, development and projection of motion pictures.Today, you can visit the Lumiere Institute which is located in the brothers’ old house.
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