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Lyon is the third largest French city and one of the most important urban centers in the whole of France. It is also the second most visited city after Paris and the capital city of French cuisine, home of a great number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites... Lyon is all that and many more besides! Due to its firm ""position"" at the confluence of the rivers Rhône and Saône, Lyon is by itself a museum city: here, you will discover ruins from the Roman era, historical industrial areas, as well as the 19th-century artistocratic quarter of Presqu'île, complete with impressive buildings and commercial streets. Lyon is bound to surprise you, because it is a city that transforms as the day turns into night... Explore the traboules, the city's secret passageways, built in the 4th century so that merchants could go all around the city without being seen. Filled as they are with houses, courtyards and narrow stone-paved walkways, far from the noise of the streets, the traboules are a serene hideaway that will take on a journey through both the past history and the modern life at Lyon. Discover the Vieux Lyon, one of the greatest old renaissance neighborhoods in Europe, where you can admire the luxurious houses built in gothic, Italian and French renaissance styles by rich merchant families between the 15th, 16th and 17th centuries. Naturally, you should also take the opportunity to try out the rich cuisine of Lyon, ideally in one of this famous bouchons. These traditional taverns can offer you a combination of homely atmosphere, delicious dishes, and fantastic wine. Do you really need anything else to feel satisfied from your journey? Lyon opens its arms wide and beckons you to discover it!
The history of Lyon reflects its rich heritage as second largest city in France, and this heritage has greatly influenced its contemporary appearance. From the Roman era to the 20th century, and from the Renaissance to the French Revolution, the history of Lyon features particularly turbulent periods. In 43 B.C., the Romans established a military colony that they called Lugdunum, which eventually became the capital city of the Gaul region. Lyon reached the peak of its classical growth in the 2nd century A.D., when Christianity was first introduced, and was afterwards incorporated into the Holy Roman Empire in 1032, and was finally annexed to the kingdom of France in 1312. The Renaissance marked a period of economic prosperity and spiritual splendor. The establishment of trade exhibitions in 1464, along with the arrival of Italian trade bankers, provided Lyon with the opportunity to grow. In the 17th century, it became the silk capital of Europe. The years of the French Revolution were hard for the Lyon: its domestic market collapsed, and the closing of foreign markets resulted in a recession in the silk industry. To make matters worse, in 1793, Lyon was laid under siege by the republican Montagnards. Lyon's prosperity was restored in the 19th century, yet the city's urban development began as late as 1950's, after periods of stagnation and recession between 1920 and the end of the Second World War.
This quarter, situated between the Fourvière hill and the Saône river, has lost nothing of the allure that permeates its narrow renaissance-styled alleys. Vieux Lyon is a mystical and mysterious district, revealing itself behind closed doors, where secret passageways - the fabled traboules - allowed people to discreetly move from one street to the other without exiting the buildings. The steet of Rue Saint-Jean, near the gothic cathedral of Saint-Jean, is home to many restaurants and stores. Furthermore, at Rue du Boeuf, you will come across designer boutiques that will grab your attention, along with Michelin-starred restaurants listed in the famous French guide. So, don't hesitate to stroll and lose yourselves in the narrow stone-paved alleyways of the neighborhood!
The quenelles are on of the most famous delicacies in Lyon, and a must-try food for every visitor to the city. They are usually served with a side of white rice, and their spongy texture and delicate taste are bound to keep you warm, especially during the cold winter days. The quenelles are a sort of long and thin pasta, prepared with flour or semolina dough, water, milk, butter and eggs, and served with meat or fish. The pasta is afterwards topped with sauce. The traditional Lyonnese choice is nantua, which is a mixture of béchamel and crayfish butter.