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Lyon

Culture of Lyon. Places to visit - old town, temples, theaters, museums and palaces

Lyon A walk around the city will give a lot of unforgettable experiences. You could see beautiful historic buildings and interesting monuments at every step in Lyon. One of the most popular excursions remains the tour to Notre-Dame de Fourviere. It was built in the second half of the 19th century; during its existence it has changed its original look completely. The architectural style of the basilica is very special; it represents a unique combination of Christian and Byzantine traditions. The top of one of Basilica’s towers is equipped with a viewing platform from which you can admire the panorama of the city.
Want to make your stay in Lyon truly special? The ancient city keeps many secrets and is ready to offer its guests a lot of incredible entertainment. To clear up one of the secrets, just go … Open
Amphitheatre Gallo-Romain is located on the hill of Fourvière. Its construction took place during the reign of Tiberius Emperor. In ancient times there were large-scale entertainment and other community events on that site. The Museum of history is an important attraction that can’t be ignored.
The collection represented in the museum covers the large-scale period from the early Middle Ages to the 19th century. During the tour, visitors will learn about the most important events that have influenced the fate of the city. The building, which houses the museum, is also of great interest. It is considered one of the most beautiful Renaissance monuments in the city. Nearby is another interesting institution, the Puppet Museum. Its collection of antique dolls will be interesting for both children and adults. Copyright www.orangesmile.com
In Lyon, shopping enthusiasts can visit Confluence Shopping Center, which is considered the most beautiful in the city. Its guests will be delighted with a wide selection of clothing stores … Open
A unique collection is represented by the Museum of Gallo-roman civilization. Among the exhibits there are household items, antique weapons, and even the ancient chariot. All this things have something common, as the age of exhibits is over a thousand years. Among other cultural institutions the Decorative arts museum points out; each exhibit here is a work of art. Extremely beautiful tapestries and porcelain, finest jewelry and elegant furniture made of precious wood are the main exhibits of the museum. Several reconstructed rooms reproducing the atmosphere of the 18th century are now working.
Lyon An interesting tourist attraction is Metallic tower of Fourviere. The steel tower closely resembles the Eiffel Tower with its appearance. The height of this unique construction is 85.9 meters, and weight is 210 tons. At present, the tower is closed to the public, but the tourists still come to admire the sight and make a memorable photo.
OrangeSmile.com recommends best hotels in Lyon
Discovering the architecture of Lyon from bird's eye view! Basilica of Notre-Dame de Fourviere, Museum of Fine Arts, Saint-Nizier Church, Eglise Saint Paul, Notre Dame Saint-Vincent, Great Mosque of Lyon, Chapelle de la Trinite, all those monuments are defining the image of Lyon … Open
While in Lyon, be sure to attend one of the wonderful theatrical performances - the city has plenty of cultural institutions for this. At the Théâtre des Celestins designed and built in 1877 by Gaspard André, you can watch both modern and classical performances. A similar situation exists in the Opera National, which presents beautiful operas written in the 20th century and earlier, while the Auditorium Orchestre National is mainly focused on the classical theatrical productions. It is worth noting that all the above buildings are also remarkable from an architectural point of view, therefore, it's hardly possible to ignore them. The unique museum Les Pin-Up de Marc Curial presents a collection of exhibits related to the 50s and 60s of the last century, most of which are advertising posters of those years.
Lyon Among other museums that would be of interest to every tourist, the Musee Miniature et Cinema stands. Here you can learn about how special effects and miniatures for movies are created. Here you can get into rooms themed on cult films, each with its music, interior and atmosphere - “Perfumer”, “X-Men”, “Alien”, “Gremlins”, “The Mask”. A noteworthy detail is that all the exhibits are original and brought directly from the shooting stage. Another interesting museum is the Musee des Automates where various scenes from fairy tales, novels, musicals, operas are recreated with the help of mechanisms. Among other things, you can see models that were used at different times. And if you take children with you, they will be genuinely happy.
Lyon Cathedral, Ancient Theatre of Fourviere, Town Hall, Eglise Saint Georges, Eglise Saint-Pothin, as well as many others, they all become the world's cultural heritage objects and remain as iconic monuments for Lyon … Open
Get acquainted with the history of the city in the following cultural institutions: the Centre d'Histoire de la Résistance et de la Déportation that mainly touches on the theme of World War II and the French Resistance, as well as the Musée d'Histoire, which tells the history of the city from the Roman Empire to modern times. The Musée des Confluences will appeal to those who like interactive exhibits and interesting presentations allowing to learn a lot of interesting things about the world around. Specifically, about the fauna and evolution of species. The building draws the eye immediately thanks to its beautiful modern design. Its functionally allowed to build the route on which nobody can miss one or another exposition.
Lyon Hotel de Ville is another interesting architectural monument. Its luxurious baroque building was erected in 1676. Despite the fact that it was damaged by a fire two years after its completion, the authorities could not afford to lose such beauty, so it was decided to restore the building. Subsequently, it has been restored several times. It is worth pointing out that the building is of equal interest to those who wish to go inside - here they can find amazing sculptures of Roman gods, beautiful murals on the walls and ceilings, stucco molding. What impresses tourists the most is an elegant staircase and an armorial hall.
Lyon is a large city in France that is located near Saone and Rona Rivers. The population of Lyon estimates over 1 million of inhabitants with suburbs. The city was founded yet during … Open
A peculiar attraction and one of the symbols of the city is L’arbre à Fleurs located right on the bank of the Rhone. It was built in 2003 and immediately attracted the attention of the public - not every day and not in every city one can see a wonderful sculpture depicting a tree in the form of a blossoming bouquet of flowers. The sculpture looks particularly outstanding in the evening when the illumination is turned on. Nearby you can find a beautiful fountain - it is from here that the most marvelous views of the attraction can be enjoyed. One more kind of attraction is Cimetiere de Loyasse attracting those who want to spend time in solitude and peace enjoying beautiful works of art - tombstones and crypts.
Lyon Lyon is rich in religious sights. Among them is Cathédrale Saint-Jean-Baptiste, the main church of Lyon since the 13th century and a monument of sacred architecture inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. A church striking with its scale and grandeur - that's how the cathedral can be described at first glance. Once inside, visitors can enjoy the view of a magnificent astronomical clock, which is the oldest in France (14th century). In addition to the clock, of interest are magnificent stained-glass windows (including 13th-century windows), a chapel housing the tomb of Cardinal Charles de Bourbon, as well as the statue of John the Baptist and an organ of 1841. As for the building, it is worth noting that the construction of the majestic Gothic temple began in 1165 and was completed only by 1481.
Lyon has many unusual amusement parks. One of the most original is Mini World Lyon. In this beautiful miniature park, there are many interesting expositions thought out to the smallest … Open
Another outstanding religious attraction is Paroisse Saint-Bruno-Les-Chartreux, which was a monastery before the French Revolution. This is one of the few buildings in Lyon built in the Baroque style. The cathedral was erected in 1750 but acquired its modern look in the 19th century when the facade of the building was slightly redesigned. Eglise du Saint-Sacrement built back in 1920 deserves special mention. The style of the building is a mixture of two styles - Neo-Gothic and Neo-Byzantine, which makes it look quite unusual. In addition to Christian shrines, the city also has a Muslim one - Grande Mosquée de Lyon opened to the public in 1994. It ranks sixth among the largest mosques in France.
In the section below, you can get one of our excursion, activities or city discovery tours over Lyon and surroundings. Our website offers 10-30% lower ticket prices, when compared to the offline purchase on the spot.

City tours, excursions and tickets in Lyon and surroundings

Plan your own excursion through Lyon: churches, museums and castles

Basilica of Notre-Dame de Fourviere, Lyon

» The Basilica of Notre-Dame de Fourviere is a landmark of Lyon that is under the protection of UNESCO. It is located on top of the Fourviere hill and seen from any parts of the city.
»  The basilica was built in 1168 at the site of an old church. When it was destroyed, the chapel remained undamaged and has survived to this day.
»  The magnificent church with four towers and a belfry has two naves. The upper one is decorated with stained glass windows, sculptures, and mosaics. In the basement, there is the crypt of St. Joseph. The basilica was completed only in 1964.
»  The chapel preserved since ancient times was restored in 1845. Its top is decorated with the huge golden statue of the Virgin Mary. Exactly in this chapel, Anne of Austria prayed for the birth of a son in 1630.

Lyon Cathedral, Lyon

» Lyon Cathedral is an oldest temple of the 12th century, which, together with the medieval part of the city, is included in UNESCO’s World Heritage List. The Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist had been built for a long time, until 1481.
»  The 14th-century clock, which, in addition to time and date, demonstrates the astronomical position of celestial bodies and some stars over Lyon, has survived to our days. It chimes four times a day with mechanical human figures showing religious scenes.
»  The cathedral’s 13th-century stained-glass windows have been preserved to the present day. In the burial chapel, there’s Cardinal Bourbon’s tomb (1488).
»  The square in front of the cathedral has a sculpture of John the Baptist made by sculptor Blaise in 1780. The Cathedral is adjacent to a church singing school, which houses a museum of church treasures.
»  The temple witnessed a few remarkable medieval events. In 1600, the wedding of Henry IV and Marie de Medici took place here, and in 1622, Armand Jean du Plessis Richelieu became the cardinal of France here.

Museum of Fine Arts, Lyon

» The Museum of Fine Arts opened its collection in 1860. Before that, the building belonged to a convent. After the dissolution of the convent in 1806, a drawing school worked in the palace that had a collection of paintings belonging to the church.
»  In 1860, the building was redesigned into a museum. The 70 exhibition halls display works by French, Italian, Spanish, German artists from the 15th century on.
»  The sculptural collection consists of 1,300 items. A part of the collection – bronze sculptures of the 19th century – is displayed in the museum garden.
»  A collection of ancient Egyptian art exhibits occupies 9 halls. Egyptologists Alexandre Varille and Victor Loret gave over 1,000 artefacts to the museum, including the sarcophagi of Ptolemy III and Ptolemy IV.
»  The museum also exhibits the country’s largest numismatic collection consisting of 50,000 items.

Saint-Nizier Church, Lyon

» The Church of Saint-Nizier is a beautiful Gothic temple building having a long history of existence and construction. The first building was erected in the 5th century on the site of the ruined Roman temple.
»  Over centuries, it was gradually acquiring its current appearance: the facade was made in the 14th century, the pink-stone bell tower was made in the 15th century, the side chapels were built in the 16th century, one of the spires appeared here in the 19th century. Therefore, the spires are different.
»  There is a burial place of Bishop Nicetius (573) in the church and an ancient 6th-century crypt with an epitaph of St. Sacerdos, a bishop that is also buried here, in the dungeon.
»  A picturesque statue of the Virgin Mary by Antoine Coysevox (17th century) and original stained-glass windows have been preserved here.
»  The last renovation lasted for 20 years, until 1993. Today, the Church of Saint-Nizier has a parish and holds regular services.

Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Lyon

Location on the map:   Facts: » The Palais de la Bourse is a large, skillfully decorated building that attracts tourists and is the pride and landmark of the city.
»  Architect René Dardel used balconies, columns, allegorical statues, and stone carvings to decorate the building.
»  The construction was completed in 1860. Its opening was attended by Napoleon III and his wife.
»  The building housed trade companies, courts, banks. Today, it is the city’s chamber of commerce and industry.
»  In 1894, the Palais de la Bourse hosted an exhibition that was attended by French President Sadi Carnot. During President’s speech, a criminal attacked him and mortally wounded him with a knife.
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What to visit during two-day excursion in Lyon

Musée des Beaux Arts
Where: Palais Saint-Pierre 20, place des Terreaux, Lyon; Telephone: +33 (0)4 72 10 17 40;
Musée d’Art Contemporain
Where: 81 quai Charles de Gaulle, Lyon; Telephone: +33 (0)4 72 69 17 17 or +33 (0)4 72 69 17 18; Tickets: 10€ / Free acess with the Lyon card;
Musée des Tissus
Where: 34, rue de la Charité, Lyon; Telephone: + 33 (0)4 78 38 42 00; Tickets: 5€ / Free access with the Lyon city card;
Fourvière Basilica
The Old Town
La Place des Terreaux/Bartholdi Fountain
Le Centre d’Histoire de la Résistance et de la Déportation
Where: 14 Avenue Berthelot, Lyon; Telephone: +33 (0)4 78 72 23 11; Opening hours: Monday to Friday 9.00 - 17.30 Saturday and Sunday 9.30 - 18.00; Tickets: 4 € / Free access with the Lyon city card and for children;
Institut Lumière
Where: 25 rue du Premier-Film, Monplaisir, Lyon;
Walk along the Rhône
Reference information
Map of all art museums
Art galleries in Lyon and around
♥   Art museum 'Musée des Beaux-Arts' Lyon, 0.2 km from the center. On the map   Photo
Map of all churches
Cathedrals and basilicas near Lyon
♥   Basilique Saint-Martin d’Ainay, Lyon, 1.8 km from the center. On the map   Photo
♥   Basilique Saint-Just, Lyon, 1.8 km from the center. On the map   Photo
♥   Basilique Saint-Sixte, Ars-sur-Formans, 24.9 km from the center. On the map   Photo
♥   Ancienne cathédrale Saint-Maurice, Vienne, 27.4 km from the center. On the map   Photo
♥   Cathédrale Saint-Charles Borromé, Saint-Étienne, 50.5 km from the center. On the map   Photo
♥   Co-cathédrale Notre-Dame de Bourg, Bourg-en-Bresse, 57.3 km from the center. On the map   Photo
♥   Ancienne cathédrale Saint-Vincent, Mâcon, 59.8 km from the center. On the map   Photo
Car rental on OrangeSmile.com Rentals in Lyon

Photogallery of cultural heritage of Lyon

Landmarks of culture on Lyon map: art-galleries, monuments, palaces, etc

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Excursions over cultural sights of neighbours of Lyon

Culture guide to Lyon. Which fascinating sights to visit once you are in Lyon: temples, churches, museums, theaters and castles. Recommendations (with addresses, phone numbers and links) on the places 'must visit' in Lyon. Plan your own city excursion by using this page info!
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