Lyon was an important centre for the production and weaving of silk and this aspect of the city’s history can still be explored today. When in Lyon, the city’s famous traboules (narrow passageways used by canuts (textile workers) to travel from their workshops to the silk merchants) are not to be missed! These can be found in Vieux Lyon, the city’s Renaissance district, and the Croix-Rousse, where much of the city’s silk production was centred. Both of these areas, as well as Fourvière and the Presqu’île, make up a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Facing Croix-Rousse, or la colline qui travaille (the working hill), is Fourvière, or la colline qui prie (the praying hill). This 19th century basilica dominates the city’s skyline and is dedicated to the Virgin Mary, who the Lyonnais believe delivered them from the plague. The basilica takes centre stage during the city’s famous Fête des Lumières which takes place in early December, during the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. During the festival, the Lyonnais place bougies (candles) in their windows and on balconies. The festival has, in recent years, developed somewhat to feature incredible light shows which take place at key points throughout the city, including the basilica.
Lyon is considered the gastronomic capital of France and to discover why, you really must visit one of the city’s traditional bouchons. These small restaurants usually serve local dishes, most of which are pretty meaty and quite fatty, and were regular haunts of the city’s canuts (silk workers). Traditionally, bouchons were often run by a husband and wife team, with the husband serving at front of house and the wife cooking the food. These great little restaurants offer the perfect environment in which to soak up the city’s culture and are not to be missed on a trip to Lyon.
This is just a small taste of what Lyon has to offer. Our French Language Study Tours to Lyon include French lessons at a specialist language school in the city, where your students will receive lessons tailored to your specific learning objectives, delivered by fully-qualified, native French-speaking teachers. For further information, please do not hesitate to contact us.