Lyon

Festival of lights

Every year in December since 1989, Lyon has been celebrating the Festival of Lights, an event illuminating the town with new colours and attracting some four million visitors from France and abroad. For the 14th edition last year, a hundred artistic projects animated 65 of the most famous sites in Lyon for the four days of the festival. The idea was to rediscover Lyon's historical and architectural heritage form another viewpoint. The most spectacular show in 2012 took place Place des Terreaux, on which the Town Hall was deconstructed then reshaped by a ray of light.

On Place Bellecour, illuminations around the statue of King Louis XIV were powered by visitors pedalling on bicycles displayed around the square. In the Old Lyon, a World Heritage site, an "earthquake of lights" unveiled the hidden treasures of the cathedral. The festival also highlighted the new district of La Confluence and the new Region Hall recently built on the site.

Originally, the Festival of Lights was a religious celebration honouring the installation of a statue of the Virgin Mary at the top of the chapel on the Fourviere hill. Since 1643, the Virgin Mary is considered as the protector of the city against the plague. As a tribute to their protector, Lyon people have since then lit thousands of lanterns and lamps from their windows or balconies in December.

Web sites

Festival of Lights - ©Ville de LyonFestival of Lights - ©Ville de LyonFestival of Lights - ©Ville de Lyon
16 previous stages
Population: 480,000
Prefecture of Rhone (69)
Signature: the town as we like it
Specialities: quenelles (fish sausage), tablier de sapeur, cervelles de canut, Beaujolais wines.
Economy: banking, printing, mechanics, research, textile, health, chemicals, pharmacy.
Sport: Olympique lyonnais (football),  ASVEL Lyon-Villeurbanne (basket), LOU (rugby).
Celebrities: Claudius, Francois Rabelais (writer), André-Marie Ampère (scientist), Joseph-Marie Jacquard (industrial), Lumiere brothers (cinema pioneers), Antoine de Saint-Exupery (airman and writer), Edouard Herriot (mayor and prime minister), Paul Bocuse (chef), Raymond Barre (prime minister), Jean-Michel Jarre (musician), Bernard Pivot (journalist), Bertrand Tavernier (film director), Jacques Deray (film director), Guignol (puppet).  
Festivals: Festival of Lights (December). Festival des nuits de Fourvière. Biennale de la danse. Biennial of Contemporary Art, Quais du polar (crime book fair)  
Labels: UNESCO World heritage (old Lyon).

Timeline

  • 43 BC

    Foundation of Lugdunum by Lucius Munatius Plancus, governor of Gallia Comata, by order of the Senate to relocate the war veterans expelled from Vienne.
  • 27 BC

    Lugdunum becomes a provincial capital then the capital of Gaul.
  • 10 BC

    Birth in Lyon of future emperor Claudius.
  • 470-474

    Invasions by the Burgundians.
  • 567-570

    Meeting of a synod in Lyon.
  • 1079

    Lyon archbishop becomes Primate of the Gauls.
  • 1312

    King Philip the Fair annexes Lyon to the kingdom of France (treaty of Vienne).
  • 1316

    Jean XXII is crowned pope in Lyon.
  • 1420

    First Lyon fairs. Four fairs are created and attract Florentine bankers who will make the wealth of the city.
  • 1540

    King Francis I grants a monopoly for the making of silk to Lyon.
  • 1600

    King Henri IV marries Marie de Medici in Lyon.
  • 1793

    Lyon rises up against the Convention, is besieged, defeated and renamed Ville Affranchie (free town).
  • 1800

    Napoleon lays the foundation stone of the new Place Bellecour.
  • 1831

    Canut revolts.
  • 1832

    The St Etienne to Lyon line is the first passenger railway link in France.
  • 1851

    Creation of Lyon agglomeration.
  • 1894

    Assassination of president Sadi Carnot by anarchist Caserio.
  • 1895

    The Lumiere brothers shoot the first films in the history of cinema in Lyon.
  • 1905

    Edouard Herriot is elected mayor of Lyon. He remained in function until 1940.
  • 1935

    Curnonsky baptises Lyon "world capital of gastronomy".
  • 1942

    Klaus Barbie is appointed to Lyon in charge of the repression against Communists and Jews.
  • 1943

    Jean Moulin is arrested Caluire.
  • 1944

    51 Jews are rounded up in Izieu.
  • 1969

    Creation of Grand Lyon urban community.
  • 1981

    Inauguration of the Paris-Lyon TGV.
Fourvière ancient theatre, Lugdunum, ancient site of Lyon ©Vincent BlochPortrait of Maria di Médici, by Frans Pourbus the YoungerBattle in the streets of Lyon in front of the Saint-Nizier church - Révolt of the Canuts, 1831 – Domaine Public des Etats-Unis
16 previous stages
Population: 480,000
Prefecture of Rhone (69)
Signature: the town as we like it
Specialities: quenelles (fish sausage), tablier de sapeur, cervelles de canut, Beaujolais wines.
Economy: banking, printing, mechanics, research, textile, health, chemicals, pharmacy.
Sport: Olympique lyonnais (football),  ASVEL Lyon-Villeurbanne (basket), LOU (rugby).
Celebrities: Claudius, Francois Rabelais (writer), André-Marie Ampère (scientist), Joseph-Marie Jacquard (industrial), Lumiere brothers (cinema pioneers), Antoine de Saint-Exupery (airman and writer), Edouard Herriot (mayor and prime minister), Paul Bocuse (chef), Raymond Barre (prime minister), Jean-Michel Jarre (musician), Bernard Pivot (journalist), Bertrand Tavernier (film director), Jacques Deray (film director), Guignol (puppet).  
Festivals: Festival of Lights (December). Festival des nuits de Fourvière. Biennale de la danse. Biennial of Contemporary Art, Quais du polar (crime book fair)  
Labels: UNESCO World heritage (old Lyon).

Web sites

Lyon and cycling

The first finish of the Tour de France stage took place in Lyon in 1903. Francois Faber later signed an impressive treble in the Capital of the Gauls by winning stages in 1908, 1909 and 1910. In 1909, in the middle of a hailstorm, the Luxembourg rider was even forced to finish on foot in the deluge, his bike on his shoulders. The Tour did not return to Lyon before 1947. In 2003, 100 years after Maurice Garin, Alessandro Petacchi won a bunch sprint in town. In the meantime, Lyon had hosted the Grand Depart of the 1991 edition. Thierry Marie won the prologue and took the yellow jersey for the third time after his prologue wins in 1986 in Boulogne-Billancourt and at the Futuroscope in 1990. The next day Greg LeMond took the jersey away from Marie by taking part in the final sprint.

Several time-trials took place in Lyon in the 50s and 60s and saw victories by Louison Bobet, Jacques Anquetil or Rik Van Looy.

The stage win by Jean Forestier in 1954 had a special flavour as it was the Frenchman's first on the Tour and in his hometown.
More recently, Sylvain Calzati and Samuel Dumoulin, both Tour de France stage winners, were also born in Lyon.

Faber François, Tour de France 1912 - ©PresseSportsJacques Anquetil, winner of stage Bourgoin/Lyon in Tour de France in 1962 - ©Presse SportsRobert Marchand, 100, the world one-hour record holder for the 100-year-old, received a medal from French Federation president David Lappartient in front of sprint world champion Gregory Bauge. - ©Presse Sports
16 previous stages
Population: 480,000
Prefecture of Rhone (69)
Signature: the town as we like it
Specialities: quenelles (fish sausage), tablier de sapeur, cervelles de canut, Beaujolais wines.
Economy: banking, printing, mechanics, research, textile, health, chemicals, pharmacy.
Sport: Olympique lyonnais (football),  ASVEL Lyon-Villeurbanne (basket), LOU (rugby).
Celebrities: Claudius, Francois Rabelais (writer), André-Marie Ampère (scientist), Joseph-Marie Jacquard (industrial), Lumiere brothers (cinema pioneers), Antoine de Saint-Exupery (airman and writer), Edouard Herriot (mayor and prime minister), Paul Bocuse (chef), Raymond Barre (prime minister), Jean-Michel Jarre (musician), Bernard Pivot (journalist), Bertrand Tavernier (film director), Jacques Deray (film director), Guignol (puppet).  
Festivals: Festival of Lights (December). Festival des nuits de Fourvière. Biennale de la danse. Biennial of Contemporary Art, Quais du polar (crime book fair)  
Labels: UNESCO World heritage (old Lyon).

Web sites

Places to see

Place Bellecour:

It is Lyon's most famous square with its statue of King Louis XIV. Dedicated to the Sun King, the square was built between 1713 and 1738 and modified under Napoleon. It is one f the largest squares in Europe
(310x200 metres).

Old Lyon:

The Old Lyon was the first preserved sector in France in 1964 and was listed as a World Heritage site by UNESCO in 1999. In the early 1960s, the quarter was in a sorry state. Several buildings were seriously damaged and there were projects to destroy and maim the medieval area. The action of a preservation society, Renaissance du Vieux Lyon, and the then Culture minister Andre Malraux made the old town the first preserved sector in France in 1964. Since then, two thirds of the buildings were rehabilitated while the population of 7,000 remained socially mixed. Many restaurants and shops make Old Lyon a lively area both daily and nightly.


La Croix-Rousse:

Croix-Rousse, "the working hill", is the working class equivalent of Fourviere, "the praying hill", on which the town's main church was built. The quarter, home of the silk workers known as Canuts, was built in the early 19th century on religious lands. Its slopes are part of the area listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage site. The steep slopes of Croix-Rousse resulted in picturesque little streets going up and down the hill and sometimes finishing in stairs. The houses of the Canuts have notably high ceilings as space was required for their trade.

Saint-Jean cathedral:

In the heart of Old Lyon, the St Jean cathedral, also known as St Jean Primatial cathedral, mixes Romanesque and Gothic styles. Its construction took place over three centuries between 1175 and 1481. One of the most interesting items in the church is an astronomic clock designed in the late 16th century. It gives time, date, the positions of the moon, the sun, the earth and the main stars above Lyon. The given date is expected to remain accurate until 2019 and given the beliefs of the time, the sun is turning around the earth. The cathedral also holds remarkable stained glass windows from the early 12th century. The façade, with its beautiful rose window, is composed of three gates whose statues were destroyed during the Wars of religion. Several historical events took place in the cathedral: pope Jean XXII was crowned in it in 1316; in 1600, King Henry IV married Marie de Medici while Richelieu became cardinal in it in 1622.


Fourviere basilica:


Overlooking a large part of Lyon, the Fourviere Basilica, topped by a monumental gilded statue of the Virgin Mary, is one of the most representative buildings of Lyon. The church was built in 1896 by Pierre Bossan to celebrate the Virgin Mary, whose cult had been extremely active for centuries. The legend goes that the first bishop of Lyon, St Pothin, had brought with him an icon of the Virgin Mary in town in 150. A first chapel was built on the hill in 1168. In 1643, a plague epidemic threatened Lyon but finally did not affect the city. As a mark of gratitude, the local leaders vowed to walk up the Fourviere hill every year on September 8. In 1870, the archbishop decided to build a new basilica should Prussian troops spare Lyon. The construction started in 1872. While the outside aspect of the church is rather sober, the inside decoration is luxurious and tells the tales of the local saints. The statue was set at the top of the building in 1852 but the scheduled celebrations and fireworks could not take place because of a storm. As a result, the Lyon people decided to place lights at their windows and balconies, starting what would later become the Festival of Lights.


Fourviere Roman remains:

Spread over three hectares, the Roman remains of the Fourviere hill are now an archaeological reserve. During three centuries, the area was the heart of the town's social life. The theatre, built in the first century BC, was later completed by an Odeon (2nd century) dedicated to poetry and lyric arts. The two monuments could entertain up to 13,000 people. The site was abandoned in the 3rd century. The remains were discovered and restored in the 20th century. Today the theatre is enjoying a new life by hosting every year the Nuits de Fourviere Festival.

Tete d'or Park:

With its 117 ha, it is the largest park locaterd in the heart of a big French city. It houses a zoo, dating from 1865, a botanic garden (1887), a 17 ha lake and several other attractions.

Place Bellecour - ©Ville de LyonOld Lyon on the docks- ©Ville de LyonOld Lyon - ©Ville de LyonTraboule, 5 rue des feuillants - ©www.b-rob.comFourviere basilica - ©Jacques LeoneOpera house- ©Franchelle Stofleth-Aderly
16 previous stages
Population: 480,000
Prefecture of Rhone (69)
Signature: the town as we like it
Specialities: quenelles (fish sausage), tablier de sapeur, cervelles de canut, Beaujolais wines.
Economy: banking, printing, mechanics, research, textile, health, chemicals, pharmacy.
Sport: Olympique lyonnais (football),  ASVEL Lyon-Villeurbanne (basket), LOU (rugby).
Celebrities: Claudius, Francois Rabelais (writer), André-Marie Ampère (scientist), Joseph-Marie Jacquard (industrial), Lumiere brothers (cinema pioneers), Antoine de Saint-Exupery (airman and writer), Edouard Herriot (mayor and prime minister), Paul Bocuse (chef), Raymond Barre (prime minister), Jean-Michel Jarre (musician), Bernard Pivot (journalist), Bertrand Tavernier (film director), Jacques Deray (film director), Guignol (puppet).  
Festivals: Festival of Lights (December). Festival des nuits de Fourvière. Biennale de la danse. Biennial of Contemporary Art, Quais du polar (crime book fair)  
Labels: UNESCO World heritage (old Lyon).

Web sites

Canut revolts

The Canut revolts in 1831 were one of the first movement by workers against mechanisation and against the liberalism of early capitalism.

The Canuts are the silk workers who made the fortune of the city since King Francois I granted Lyon the monopoly of silk manufacturing in France in the 16th century. In 1801, Joseph-Marie Jacquard, the son of a Canut, perfected a revolutionary loom that dramatically increased productivity but also lowered the revenue of the Canuts. The introduction of the loom and the low prices applied by the silk factory owners spurred a revolt which started in 1831.

The heads of the silk workshops asked the prefect of Rhone to impose a minimum price for the Canuts work. After a demonstration of 6,000 silk workers, a meeting between representatives of the Canuts and their bosses led to the introduction of such a minimum fare. But the factory owners immediately refused to respect the deal, citing freedom of trade and falling sales.

Their position spurred an insurrection in town. Canuts spread in the quarter of La Croix Rousse ordering their colleagues to stop their looms, fought with the National Guard and erected barricades in the streets. Infantry vainly tried to stop the demonstrators as they marched towards the town centre but the National Guard took sides with the Canuts. The suburbs of Croix-Rousse and La Guillotiere fell to the rebels who brandished black flags with the words "to work and live or fight and die".

While the authorities fled, Republican activists tried to take advantage of the revolt but were turned down by the Canuts.

The Duke of Orleans and Marshall Soult eventually attacked Lyon with 20,000 soldiers to crack the revolt down. The government fired the prefect, suppressed the new tariff and decided to build fortifications to isolate Lyon from La Croix-Rousse. Ninety workers were arrested and eleven taken to court, but released. Prime minister Casimir Perier insisted that the Canuts had wanted to stand up against "free trade and industry" and that society would not "be threatened without reacting".

Three years later, after a dispute over wages, another revolt took place and also ended in a bloodshed: 600 persons were injured and 10;000 workers were detained and deported. Other movements in 1848 and 1849 were also severely punished.

The Canuts are now considered as the pioneers of trade unionism.

A loom perfected by Lyon’s Joseph Marie Jacquard in 1801 - ©David MonniauxMarshall Soult painted by Louis Henri de Rudder in 1856Revolt of the Canuts in Lyon, April, 1834 – Domaine Public des etats-Unis
16 previous stages
Population: 480,000
Prefecture of Rhone (69)
Signature: the town as we like it
Specialities: quenelles (fish sausage), tablier de sapeur, cervelles de canut, Beaujolais wines.
Economy: banking, printing, mechanics, research, textile, health, chemicals, pharmacy.
Sport: Olympique lyonnais (football),  ASVEL Lyon-Villeurbanne (basket), LOU (rugby).
Celebrities: Claudius, Francois Rabelais (writer), André-Marie Ampère (scientist), Joseph-Marie Jacquard (industrial), Lumiere brothers (cinema pioneers), Antoine de Saint-Exupery (airman and writer), Edouard Herriot (mayor and prime minister), Paul Bocuse (chef), Raymond Barre (prime minister), Jean-Michel Jarre (musician), Bernard Pivot (journalist), Bertrand Tavernier (film director), Jacques Deray (film director), Guignol (puppet).  
Festivals: Festival of Lights (December). Festival des nuits de Fourvière. Biennale de la danse. Biennial of Contemporary Art, Quais du polar (crime book fair)  
Labels: UNESCO World heritage (old Lyon).

Web sites

Jersey wearers after the stage 14

Classifications after the stage 14

Subscribe

Receive exclusive news about the Tour de France

Survey

Will Chris Froome lose some of the advantage he holds over his GC rivals in stage 14?

  • Yes0%
  • No0%
0 vote

Partners of Le Tour