The traboules are passageways that were integrated in the construction of buildings for the silk workers. They made it possible (and still do so today) to reach the Presqu'île peninsula in a straight path.
In 1862, the opening of the "Ficelle", the world's first funicular train, offered an effortless way to go up the steep hill. But in the Croix-Rousse, people may ride the Ficelle uphill, but they walk downhill via the traboules.
There are possibly 400 around town. Unfortunately, many of them are now inaccessible to the public due to private door codes or because they have been completely closed off.
You can pick up a free copy of the map of Old Lyon with al the Traboules at the Tourism Office, Place de la Republique.
If you walk around the Old Town and poke your nose into various passageways, you are bound to end up sooner or later at the Maison du Crible, which means House of the Screen.
This is a Renaissance house dating from the sixteenth or seventeenth century, depending on who you believe. The inscription on a stone at the entrance (fifth photo) says it was the seventeenth century.
The elaborate nailed door in the first photo was also made in the seventeenth century and is now the entrance to the Institut des Sciences Clavologiques. This is an institute that was founded in 1959 by Félix Benoit (1917-1995), a local historian and humorist who called himself the Grand Chancellor of the Order of the Nail and the Rector of the Institute of Clavological Sciences.
Clavological seems to be a word that he made up himself, having something to do with nails or keys. The main principle of Clavology is: Don't take anything seriously, starting with yourself.
Update: Thanks to VT member JLBG for pointing out that "Clavologie" was coined from the Latin clavum (nail) and therefore is the study of nails!
Second photo: People in the courtyard of the Maison du Crible.
Third photo: Art and souvenir shop with a painting of the Pink Tower on display.
Fourth photo: Looking up from the courtyard.
Fifth photo: Entrance to the Maison du Crible from the street.
This is a museum I really wanted to visit in Lyon, but when I was there it was unfortunately closed for the Easter holidays. Normally it is open Wednesday to Sunday from 11 am to 6:30 pm, closed Mondays and Tuesdays.
The part that sounds especially interesting to me is the Lyon History Museum, because of its "all-encompassing approach, from the Capital of the Gauls to the 21st century," which according to the museum's website makes it "a resource centre for understanding the city in all its facets: urban planning, economic, social, religious, political and cultural."
I rode past the Palais St Jean several times on my Vélo'v bikes, but never stopped to go inside, so I looked it up afterwards and found that this is a former Episcopal palace (meaning it used to be the residence of the reigning bishop), and that it was bought by the city of Lyon in 1909. It is now used as the public library for the fifth arrondissment of Lyon.
Since there are so many things in Lyon named after St Jean I looked up his hagiography and discovered that he was none other than John the Baptist, also known in France and Quebec as St-Jean-Baptiste. To us opera goers he is better known as Jochanaan from the opera Salome by Richard Strauss (1864-1949).
As with my tip on Nice, simply leave the hotel and walk - with no plans in mind - just walk around and admire the beautiful architecture, the immaculate parks and have a look at the great shops! This photo was taken at the park at Place Carnot - a wonderful park for families!
When the French dramatist Molière (1622-1673) was twenty-three years old he was forced to leave Paris with his company of actors because of debts they had run up.
They spent thirteen years as an itinerant theater company in different parts of France, for instance in Pézenas, Narbonne, Albi, Carcassonne, Toulouse, Nantes, Poitiers, Bordeaux, Agen, Grenoble and Dijon, among other French cities and towns.
For at least six of these thirteen years they spent the winters in Lyon, and Lyon was where Molière wrote his first play, "L'Etourdi ". This was a five-act comedy in verse (known in English as "The Blunderer") which was first performed in February 1655 at the Tour Rose (Pink Tower) in the rue du Boeuf in Lyon.
Three and a half years later Molière and his troupe of actors finally returned triumphantly to Paris under the protection and patronage of the king's brother. "L'Etourdi" was one of the first plays they performed after returning to Paris, and it was a huge success.
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The name of this district to the west of the Saone river was not chosen just like that, at random. This, in fact, is the oldest district of the city of Lyon, and one of the most picturesque, with colorful buildings (red, yellow, blue, orange and of many other colors) with flowers in their windows nestled along the banks of the Saone. But these houses are not the oldest things you'll find here... In the area there are rests from the 2nd century BC's settlements.
Banking and trading activities that made possible the construction of these wonderful buildings were transferred to the other river bank at the beginning of the 18th century as the city of Lyon grew and developed, incorporating what had before been just villages. They became the most modern and popular parts of Lyon afterwards. A couple of centuries of gloom for the 'Vieux Lyon' (the part of the city that once was fashionable) followed. There were even plans to demolish the area. But 'Vieux Lyon' was classified as a protect area in 1964 and thus preserved for the following generations.
Lyon's Old Town (Vieux Lyon) is on the right bank of the Saône. It is said to be the largest district of Renaissance buildings in all of France.
This is the one place in Lyon where I noticed post card stands out on the street, so I guess it would qualify as being a fairly touristy district. But don't let that bother you, okay?
Second photo: A wider place in Rue St Jean.
Third photo: Place du Petit Collège.
Fourth photo: Houses in the Old Town.
Fifth photo: Rue St Jean on a Saturday morning.
Vieux-Lyon, covering the districts of Saint-Georges, Saint-Jean and Saint-Paul, is a protected area in Lyon, as it gathers a fine ensemble of Renaissance buildings (XV and XVI Centuries), and there you'll find some traboules , the covered passageways of Lyon.
The Old Town of Lyon is reputed to be a very artistic place, so I wasn't surprised when this young lady suddenly sat down on a doorstep in the rue du Boeuf, whipped out a pencil and drawing pad and started sketching very concentratedly.
I walked around for a while and when I came back she was still there and still sketching.
I'm sure Victor Hugo would have appreciated this.
By the way, this doorstep is the front entrance to the Studio Galerie Frédéric Jean Photographe, but most people seem to go in through the back entrance in the courtyard.
Second photo: This is what she was sketching. No, not the houses or the people, but the motor scooter.
Vieux Lyon is a great place to get yourself lost and just wander the streets. It is bounded by the Saone and Fourviere Hill, and is full of history and character. There are plenty of restaurants and cafes to stop for a quick rest. It is also full of stops and of the covered passageways, which are also very interesting.
Lyon is renowned for puppet shows. The most famous character in the shows is Guignol. The Theater is on rue Carrand just beyond r. Juiverie. Set upon the window sill in another part of the Old Town we came upon another type of figure called "une gorgouille du Gourguillon". Nearby was a fine old store fronting a modern store at the beginning of a main shopping street. We found three or more traboules on our visit to walk through.
On leaving the Place St.-Jean we headed north and came to the first of the tall buildings, all at least four stories high, and approached the Maison des Avocats from the rue Bombarde. The building was built in the mid-16C and is 5 stories high. Several similar structures closed it in but left inner court yards. The three lower levels had open galeries. Adjacent was another similar building with inner courtyard. From the courtyard we traversed a passageway under the buildings called a traboule and after coming out we walked on to the corner of rue de Boeuf and Neuve St.-Jean where on the wall is a very old quasi-statue of a bull.
Two facades of the house at #14 on r. Lainerie have interesting sculptures. First there is a Ste. Mary standing at the junction of the two sides. Note the shell above Mary's head and also the accolades over the adjacent windows Small busts are carved of the owner of the house on the main surface (is he one-eyed?), his wife on the short side and the son to the left of the senior owner.
Old Lyon (traboules, basilica, roman theatres...) and peninsula (museums, squares...)
Tete d'or garden (zoo, garden)
festival of lights (each 8th of december)
Festival 'les nuits de Fourviere'
tours (from april to october)in vineyards (Beaujolais region) at 30 km in the north of Lyon.
Museums visits like the fine arts one, fabric and decorative art museum,silk workshops (Croix-Rousse), Maison des Canuts (museum of weaving).
Shopping: Bellecour area (Printemps stores) and Part-Dieu commmercial center (Galleries Lafayette)a 3 floor-building in front of Part-Dieu railway station)
Boat cruises on river Saône or Rhône from april to october.
Guided tours organized by the visitors bureau.