On our third day we spent 6 hours on two tip based walking tours of Lyon, an excellent way to get a detailed view of the city’s major monuments and features. Vieux Lyon, the World Heritage Renaissance old town, is the subject of these tours. Vieux Lyon is divided into three neighborhoods, Saint Jean, Saint Paul and Saint Georges. The Gothic Cathedral, on the site of the first church built in 549 CE, is in the Saint Jean quarter, it’s facade bearing the injuries delivered by the Protestant iconoclasts who removed the heads of most of the sculptures. The current structure dates to the 12th century. Attached to it is the Manécanterie, originally built for the monks’ dining.
In the middle ages Lyon was the main producer and processor of silk in France. There’s a small silk museum that shows the process from silk worm to final product. The workers were called Canuts. The Canuts transported materials up and down the steep hill ascending from the city’s rivers through alleys called traboul. These alleys and steep staircases snake through heavily populated areas. The twists and turns we walked through proved useful to the Resistance during the Nazi occupation.
Lyon is known for its murals, two of which are famous. The Fresque des Lyonnais depicts the city’s most reknown residents. It is painted on the six-story building located at the corner of 49 quai Saint-Vincent and 2 rue de la Martinière near the Saône River.
Another major mural is Le Mur des Canuts.