Lyon: three of the city's most unusual highlights

C&IT checks out three options for groups in Lyon that highlight the city's colourful and unusual past.

The banks of the Saone: Formerly the city’s main waterway, countless vessels of all kinds once travelled the river Saone in both directions. On the right bank, the houses often directly overlooked the water. On the left bank, a market was created very early on. The construction of the river’s embankments and bridges, the serious flooding, the trials with steam vessels, the many nautical riverside businesses and activities, the waterway festivals and the royal entrances are just some of the themes covered during this tour. The itinerary also includes a look at the banks of the Saône project.

The Franco-Chinese Institute: China is a part of Lyon’s history. In 1920 Lyon was selected for setting up the only Chinese University outside China. The Franco-Chinese Institute received students from 1921 until after the end of the second world war, 473 Chinese students, 11% of whom were girls. Pass under the porch of the Fort Saint Irénée, engraved with Zhong Fa Da Xue ideograms, and visit the exhibition on the Institute, illustrated by numerous library photographs, with texts in French and Chinese. Groups can discover an unknown part of history between Lyon and China via the destinies of seven former students.

A taste of old Lyon: Discover Old Lyon with its courtyards and traboules, and explore the Lyon history museum with a guide who will explain the city’s history over the centuries. Discover the Cathedral of St-Jean and its astronomical clock, take a stroll through the narrow cobbled streets of Old Lyon and explore the secrets of the traboules as you admire the inner courtyards, galleries and spiral staircases. At the end of the tour, a curator from the Musées Gadagne, a listed monument, will present the history of Lyon through some of the main items in their collections. 

Visit C&IT's Lyon Destination Guide here

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