Top Historic Sights in Lyon, France

Explore the historic highlights of Lyon

Hôtel de Ville

The Hôtel de Ville is the city hall of Lyon and one of the largest historic buildings in the city. In the 17th century, Lyon was developed and the Presqu"île became the city center with the place of Terreaux, and the Lyon City Hall was built between 1645 and 1651 by Simon Maupin. Following a fire in 1674, the building was restored and modified, including its facade, designed by Jules Hardouin-Mansart and ...
Founded: 1645 | Location: Lyon, France

Lyon Cathedral

Lyon Cathedral was founded by Saint Pothinus and Saint Irenaeus, the first two bishops of Lyon. The cathedral is also known as a Primatiale because in 1079 the Pope granted to the archbishop of Lyon the title of Primate of All the Gauls with the legal supremacy over the principal archbishops of the kingdom. It is located in the heart of the old town, less than five minutes away from the banks of the Saône river, with a l ...
Founded: 1180 | Location: Lyon, France

Museum of Fine Arts of Lyon

The Museum of Fine Arts of Lyon is housed near place des Terreaux in a former Benedictine convent of the 17th and 18th centuries. It is one of the largest art museums in France. Its collections range from ancient Egypt antiquities to the Modern art period and make the museum one of the most important in Europe. The paintings department has European paintings of 14th- to mid-20th-century paintings. They are arranged chron ...
Founded: 1801 | Location: Lyon, France

Basilica of Notre-Dame de Fourviére

The Basilica of Notre-Dame de Fourvière was built with private funds between 1872 and 1884 in a dominant position overlooking the city of Lyon. The basilica, which offers guided tours and contains a Museum of Sacred Art, receives 2 million visitors annually. At certain times, members of the public may access the basilica"s north tower for a spectacular 180-degree view of Lyon and its suburbs. On a clear day, M ...
Founded: 1872-1884 | Location: Lyon, France

Historic Site of Lyons

The Historic Site of Lyons was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1998. The long history of Lyons, which was founded by the Romans in the 1st century B.C. as the capital of the Three Gauls and has continued to play a major role in Europe"s political, cultural and economic development ever since, is vividly illustrated by its urban fabric and the many fine historic buildings from all periods. The specific reg ...
Founded: 0-100 BC | Location: Lyon, France

Metallic tower of Fourviére

The Tour métallique de Fourvière (Metallic tower of Fourvière), a landmark of Lyon, is a steel framework tower which bears a striking resemblance to the Eiffel Tower, which predates it by three years. With a height of 85.9 metres and weight of 210 tons, the 'metallic tower' was built between 1892 and 1894. During the Exposition universelle of 1914 in Lyon it had a restaurant and an elevator ...
Founded: 1892-1894 | Location: Lyon, France

Temple du Change

The Temple du Change or Loge du Change, formerly used for the stock exchange of Lyon, was originally built after plans by architect Simon Gourdet between 1631 and 1653. It was then rebuilt under the direction of Jacques-Germain Soufflot in 1748-1750. It has been assigned to Protestant worship since 1803, hence its designation Temple. The first Loge du Change was a small classical building with four arches in front and tw ...
Founded: 1631/1748 | Location: Lyon, France

Église Saint-Polycarpe

The Église Saint-Polycarpe (Church of St. Polycarp) is the oldest church of the Oratory of Saint Philip Neri. The church, built by the Oratorians installed on the slopes, was completed in 1670, with the exception of the façade that was built in 1756 by architect Toussaint Loyer who also lengthened the nave. On 19 June 1791, the Oratory Church became a parish church and took the name of St. Polycarp, as a tr ...
Founded: 1670 | Location: Lyon, France

Saint-Bonaventure Church

The Saint-Bonaventure church"s history is intimately related to the convent of the Cordeliers whose it was a part. It was built originally in the 13th century. The current church was built in just two years between 1325 and 1327. It housed the remains of Jacques de Grolée, died on 4 May 1327, which is under the high altar, before being moved somewhere near the epistle in 1599. The church was consecrated on 18 ...
Founded: 1325-1327 | Location: Lyon, France

Amphitheatre of the Three Gauls

The Amphitheatre of the Three Gauls was part of the federal sanctuary of the three Gauls dedicated to the cult of Rome and Augustus celebrated by the 60 Gallic tribes when they gathered at Lugdunum (Lyon). The amphitheatre was built at the foot of the La Croix-Rousse hill at what was then the confluence of the Rhône and Saône. Excavations have revealed a basement of three elliptical walls linked by cross-wall ...
Founded: 0-100 BC | Location: Lyon, France

Fourvière Roman Theatre

The Roman theatre is a Roman ancient structure in Lyon built on the hill of Fourvière, which is located in the center of the Roman city. The theatre was built in two steps: around 15 BC, a theatre with a 90 m diameter was built next to the hill. At the beginning of the 2nd century, the final construction added a last place for the audience. The diameter is 108 m, and there were seats for 10,000 people. Having been well ...
Founded: 15 BC | Location: Lyon, France

Saint-Nizier Church

The Church of Saint-Nizier name refers to Nicetius of Lyon, a bishop of the city during the 6th century. The first religious building on the site of the present church was a Roman monument, perhaps a temple of Attis, whose worship was probably the cause of the Christian persecution in Lyon from 177. In the 5th century, according to tradition, Eucherius of Lyon, 19th bishop of Lyon, built on the ruins of the building a bas ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Lyon, France

Chapelle de la Trinité

The Chapelle de la Trinité is the first church in baroque style built in Lyon. It was created by the architect Étienne Martellange, a Jesuit brother who introduced architectural models of the Counter-Reformation in Lyon. Built between 1617 and 1622, the chapel is located within the building of the Grand Collège, under the direction of the Jesuits since 1567. It was devoted to college students. It was ...
Founded: 1617-1622 | Location: Lyon, France

Sainte Marie de La Tourette

Sainte Marie de La Tourette is a Dominican Order priory on a hillside near Lyon designed by architects Le Corbusier and Iannis Xenakis. It was constructed between 1956 and 1960. Le Corbusier"s design of the building began La Tourette is considered one of the most important buildings of the late Modernist style. In July 2016, the building and several other works by Le Corbusier were inscribed as UNESCO World Heritage ...
Founded: 1956-1960 | Location: Lyon, France

Hôtel-Dieu de Lyon

Hôtel-Dieu de Lyon was a hospital. First erected in medieval times, the building originally served as a pontifical meeting-place and refuge for both traveling and local members of the clergy (est. 1184). However, when the first doctor Maître Martin Conras was hired in 1454, Hôtel-Dieu became a fully functional hospital, one of the most important in France. As Lyon was a city known for its trade and seaso ...
Founded: 17th century | Location: Lyon, France

Basilica of Saint-Martin d'Ainay

The Basilica of Saint-Martin d"Ainay is a Romanesque church in the historic centre of Lyon. Legendary origins of a remarkably large church, which may once have stood on this site, are noted by Gregory of Tours. A Benedictine priory was founded on the Lyon peninsula in 859. When later it was raised to the rank of an abbey, major building works began: the abbey church was built at the end of the 11th century under Abb ...
Founded: c. 1100 | Location: Lyon, France

Church of Saint-Bruno des Chartreux

The Church of Saint-Bruno des Chartreux is the only Baroque church in Lyon. The first monastic communities here were established by Carthusian monks from Grenoble, thanks to their good relations with the church in Lyon. They initially came to help the clergy of Lyon when the city was pillaged by Forez Guy in the 12th century and later obtained privileges such as an exemption from tolls on their journeys to Lyon. On a visi ...
Founded: 1590-1690 | Location: Lyon, France

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Moszna Castle

The Moszna Castle is one of the best known monuments in the western part of Upper Silesia. The history of this building begins in the 17th century, although much older cellars were found in the gardens during excavations carried out at the beginning of the 20th century. Some of the investigators, including H. Barthel, claimed that those cellars could have been remnants of a presumed Templar castle, but their theory has never been proved. After World War II, further excavations discovered a medieval palisade.

The central part of the castle is an old baroque palace which was partially destroyed by fire on the night of April 2, 1896 and was reconstructed in the same year in its original form by Franz Hubert von Tiele-Winckler. The reconstruction works involved an extension of the residence. The eastern Neogothic-styled wing of the building was built by 1900, along with an adjacent orangery. In 1912-1914, the western wing was built in the Neo-Renaissance style. The architectural form of the castle contains a wide variety of styles, thus it can be generally defined as eclectic.

The height of the building, as well as its numerous turrets and spires, give the impression of verticalism. The whole castle has exactly ninety-nine turrets. Inside, it contains 365 rooms. The castle was twice visited by the German Emperor Wilhelm II. His participation in hunting during his stay at the castle was documented in a hand-written chronicle in 1911 as well as in the following year. The castle in Moszna was the residence of a Silesian family Tiele-Winckler who were industrial magnates, from 1866 until the spring of 1945 when they were forced to move to Germany and the castle was occupied by the Red Army. The period of the Soviet control caused significant damage to the castle's internal fittings in comparison to the minor damage caused by WWII.

After World War II the castle did not have a permanent owner and was the home of various institutions until 1972 when it became a convalescent home. Later it became a Public Health Care Centre for Therapies of Neuroses. Nowadays it can be visited by tourists since the health institution has moved to another building in the neighbourhood. The castle also has a chapel which is used as a concert hall. Since 1998 the castle housed a gallery in which works of various artists are presented at regular exhibitions.

Apart from the castle itself, the entire complex includes a park which has no precise boundaries and includes nearby fields, meadows and a forest. Only the main axis of the park can be characterised as geometrical. Starting from the gate, it leads along the oak and then horse-chestnut avenues, towards the castle. Further on, the park passes into an avenue of lime trees with symmetrical canals running along both sides of the path, lined with a few varieties of rhododendrons. The axis of the park terminates at the base of a former monument of Hubert von Tiele-Winckler. On the eastern side of the avenue there is a pond with an islet referred to by the owners as Easter Island. The islet is planted with needle-leaved shrubs and can be reached by a Chinese-styled bridge. The garden, as part of the whole park complex was restored slightly earlier than the castle itself. Preserved documents of 1868 state that the improvement in the garden's aesthetic quality was undertaken by Hubert von Tiele-Winckler.