Top Historic Sights in Lyon, France

Explore the historic highlights of Lyon

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Monet's Garden

Claude Monet lived for forty-three years, from 1883 to 1926, in Giverny. With a passion for gardening as well as for colours, he conceived both his flower garden and water garden as true works of art. Walking through his house and gardens, visitors can still feel the atmosphere which reigned at the home of the Master of Impressionnism and marvel at the floral compositions and nymphéas, his greatest sources of inspiration.

In 1890 Monet had enough money to buy the house and land outright and set out to create the magnificent gardens he wanted to paint. Some of his most famous paintings were of his garden in Giverny, famous for its rectangular Clos normand, with archways of climbing plants entwined around colored shrubs, and the water garden, formed by a tributary to the Epte, with the Japanese bridge, the pond with the water lilies, the wisterias and the azaleas.

Today the Monet's Garden is open to the public.