Vieux Lyon, Old Town

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Vieux Lyon

In 1954, Vieux Lyon, the city’s oldest district, became the first place in France to be protected under the Malraux law to defend France’s cultural sites. Covering an area of 424 hectares at the foot of the Fourvière hill, it is one of Europe’s most extensive Renaissance neighborhoods.

Lyon Old Town is divided into three districts, all referring to the Christian Saints, Saint Paul’s district, which was named after the surrounding church, that was created by adepts of St Paul, the old town center is named after Saint-Jean, The Cathedral of St Jean also known as Cathedral of Lyon is called after the Saint-Jean, and the Southern old town districted is named after Georges district, the church in the region is named after Eglise Saint Georges.

The Saint Georges section, silk weavers settled here beginning in the sixteenth century before moving to the Croix Rousse hill in the nineteenth century. In 1844, the architect Pierre Bossan rebuilt the St George’s Church on the banks of the Saônein a neo-Gothic style. In the Middle Ages, when there were only a few parallel streets between the hill and the Saône, the first traboules were built. Derived from the Latin trans ambulare, meaning to pass through, traboules are corridors through buildings and their courtyards, connecting one street directly with another.

In 1998, UNESCO declared “Vieux-Lyon” as a World Heritage site.

Lyon old district roofs
Lyon old district roofs Photography by Flickr user: Olivier

How to get there

Vieux Lyon has its own subway service that takes you straight to the district

  • Vieux Lyon Subway Service: D
  • Funiculars: F1 and F2

If you are traveling by car, just of the A6, take the 39b exit and then on to ‘Rue de la Quarantaine’, this road will take you straight to the Vieux Lyon District.

  • Exit 39C and 37 can also be taken but it will take you on a longer path.


  • Area: 30 ha


Address: 5th arrondissement of Lyon, France | Coordinates: 45°45′47″N 4°49′41″E

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