I had seen pictures of this square in preparing for this trip but seeing it in person was quite different. Even filled with people it was just amazingly huge, perhaps even more so because it doesn't have any trees.
Located on the Presquile, the peninsula between the Rhone and Saone rivers, this piece of land has gone through many uses over the years. Louis XIV redeveloped it for use as a public square.
At its center is the equestrian statue of Louis XIV with bronze statues representing the Rhone and Saone rivers on each side.
The view of basilica on the hill was particularly good.
This bell tower is all that remains of an old hospital, L'hôpital de la Charité, which was built in 1633 and enlarged in the eighteenth century in order to serve the poorest people of the region.
The tower was built in 1804 for use as a baby hatch, where destitute mothers could anonymously leave their newborn babies. The mother was supposed to put the baby in a wooden cylinder and then ring the bell to alert the nurses that a baby was there. This baby hatch was in use from 1804 to 1843. The hospital itself was torn down in 1934 to make room for a public square, the Place Antonin Poncet, but the tower was left standing.
This is a large empty square in the center of the peninsula and hence the center of Lyon. When I was there in the spring of 2011 there was some construction work going on, so it may be that the square will look different, and not quite so empty, in the future.
In the first photo the Saône River is in the foreground, Place Bellecour in the middle and the Rhône River behind it.
The streets on the four sides of the square are open to motor traffic, but no cars are allowed in the square itself.
Second photo: The other way around, i.e. Fourvière as seen from Bellecour. The man on the horse is none other than King Louis XIV, in a statue that was made in 1826 by a sculptor from Lyon named François Lemot. Up on the hill in the center of the photo is the Basilica Notre-Dame de Fourvière, and off to the right is the Metallic Tower.
Just to the north of the Place Bellecour at its west end is the Place des Jacobins which has in its center the Dominican's erected in 1888 in memory of four local artists dressed in the styles of their times. Beyond to the southeast is the large Place Bellecour.
This is a large open space in the center of the Presqu'ile from which one can look across the Saone river to the Fourviere Hill. To the north but running north and south are rue de la Republique and rue du President-Herriot the shopping streets. To the southeast is the bell tower of the 17C former alms house.
There is a unique shop in Lyon, near Place Bellecour. In Cuisine is a well-know shop for the food lovers who wish to discover a lot about food, taste some tradtional local products and even learn how to cook.
Place Bellecour is enormously large. I would say: it hurts… when it’s hot in Lyon.
Until 13th century is was known as Bella Curia. For a long time it was a marsh area and belonged to rich families of Lyon. Only in 17th century it became a public square. Under Luis 14th it became a Royal Square and the monument was built back then. During revolution it was ruined and reconstructed under Napoleon in 1802.
You will find a Tourist office here and will be able to buy tickets or passes to almost anything in a town. The excursions will also meet here. It is a short walk from this square to Old Town.
There are interesting shops along the perimeter of the square. I found one with unbelievable gastronomic delights made out of any kind of fish.
Located between the Saone and Rhone rivers, this square offers a fantastic view of the Basilica. It was formerly known as the Royal Square and has a statue of Louis XIV on horseback in the center. If you are walking around Lyon, you can't help but stumble upon the square. During some of my morning runs, while getting lost, I always managed to get back to this place eventually. The views of the Basilica as a backdrop to the statue is worth a quick stop for a kodak moment.
Formerly known as the Royal Square, la Place Bellecour is located between the Rhone and the Saone rivers in the Presqu'ile district. In the center of this square (one of the largest in all of Europe) is the famous statue of Louis XIV on horseback by Francois Lemot.
Bottom-line: The square itself doesn't have much character, but it is located in a very vibrant part of town, and allows for some nice views of the Fourviere Hill. Also, the official Tourist Office is located here.
Formerly the Place Royale, located at the heart of the Peninsula, between the Rhoône and the Saône, is one of the largest squares in Europe. In the centre of the square stands Francois Lemot's statue of Louis XIV.
Bellecour Square is one of Europe's famous public squares. It's marked by a majestic statue of Louis XIV on horseback and is slap bang in the middle of the main shopping and entertainment district. You can get a good view of it from Fourvière Hill .
PLACE BELLECOUR is the heart of Lyon. This open square is where folks go to take a stroll, meet up with friends, or -for visitors- get information from tourist bureau. In the surroundings you have shops, restaurants, bookstores, etc.