Lyon Architectural Tour in France

in Architecture+Design4 months ago (edited)

Our evenings are spent watching episodes of Recherche Appartement ou Maison, a French TV reality show on M6 with a Real Estate Celebrity and Actor, Stephane Plaza along with other real estate experts in different regions of France. The title of the show is translated into English as "Apartment or House Search." They basically help residents who have plans of relocating to look for properties within their budget.

Riverside parks at Saône River

The episode we watched last night was about a search for an apartment in Lyon. Recognizing the streets they featured inspired me to write about our architectural tour of Lyon one fine Sunday during a cross-country road trip with @iamyohann in 2019. I recorded short videos on my phone and I decided to edit them in the hopes of inviting you to vicariously experience the architecture walk with us. Here it is:


According to wiki, Lyon is the second-largest urban area in France at the junction of two rivers - Rhône and Saône.

View of the Rhône River

We left the car at the hotel and explored the streets on foot. The best way to explore the old city of Lyon is by walking. While doing so, I spotted several interesting architectural buildings. Given the limited time we had, we didn't get to explore the interior of these beautiful structures. Rather, we admired the facades and the materials used.

The first building we came across as we crossed the bridge from the hotel is this museum, Musée des Confluences in the Deconstructivist style of architecture designed by Coop Himmelb(l)au, an Austrian architectural, urban planning, and design firm. This anthropology museum and science center is nestled at the confluence of the 2 rivers, beautifully admired from the stunningly designed bridge.

Pops of colorful murals adorn the pavements. Here's a closer look at various building facades.

The white apartment building next to the railway as shown is Ycone La Confluence Residential Tower (Photos above and below right). It was completed in 2019 and designed by Ateliers Jean Nouvel. Confluence meaning convergence of various styles. It's a mixed-use building that would accommodate retail outlets. The facade design incorporating green terraces and balconies filters the noise, creating a quiet space for dwellers from their neighbors and the busy neighborhood.

Taking the shortcut through Confluence Mall, along Cours Charlemagne.

On our way to Old Lyon, we chanced upon this area. There were open spaces, a petanque court, and a skate park overlooking the river. This is where you could find Les Bateaux Lyonnais, to experience cruising on the Saône River.

Vieux Lyon (Old Lyon)

Towards the end of the Quai, we crossed a footbridge called La passerelle Paul-Couturier ou passerelle Saint-Georges

The Neo-Gothic Style church that you immediately spot from the footbridge is Saint George Church of Lyon ( Église Saint-Georges) a Roman Catholic Church in the Vieux Lyon Quarter. According to wiki, it was built in 550 and was destroyed. It was later rebuilt and redesigned by Architect Pierre Bossan and is now considered a historical monument.

I spotted this apothecary selling natural herbs. The labeled drawers were neatly organized and I couldn't help but take photos.

One could get lost wandering the narrow cobblestone alleyways in Vieux Lyon. Immerse in the old architecture and enjoy the various sounds on a weekend.

Below is Maison du Crible / La Tour Rose (The Pink Tower), a UNESCO World Heritage site. It was built in Italian Renaissance Style. Explore the secret passageways of this quiet neighborhood that lead to the inner courtyard. The central staircase tower, known as la tour rose connects every floor of the building.

Saint-Jean-Baptiste Cathedral is referred to as the majestic old crown of Lyon. It's a Roman Catholic church in a combined Romanesque and Gothic Style of Architecture in the 5th District. It faces a public square surrounded by restaurants and specialty shops with a link to the metro.

We continued our walk towards the steep steps even though there is a funicular that could easily transport you to the popular cathedral.

La Basilique Notre Dame de Fourvière

The Basilica of Notre-Dame de Fourvière's ornate facade and its location at the top of the hill instantly commanded a presence. What's so special about it is the view from the cathedral grounds and the nearby hilltop garden.

According to wiki, the basilica was built on a shrine dedicated to Virgin Mary for saving the city from the bubonic plague in 1170.

Architect Pierre Bossan designed the cathedral which contains two churches in 1872 and was only completed in 1884. 12 years of work. He drew inspiration from Romanesque and Byzantine styles. The churches are stacked on top of each other with the upper church in ornate design while the latter is a simpler version.

The gorgeous view of Lyon could be seen from the basilica's main entrance.

View from Fourvière and Jardin du Rosaire - Le Parc des Hauteurs

Le Parc des Hauteurs is a hilltop urban park in Fourvière Hill, part of the urban planning developments of the city in 1906 to alleviate the lack of public parks and open spaces. There was a terraced rose garden (Jardin du Rosaire) and a botanical garden, that descends back to the city center. It was early spring and the roses weren't in bloom yet. Nevertheless, we enjoyed the walk through these arches and canopies of trees.

Place Bellecour

We continued to walk towards our hotel and we visited this large square at the heart of Lyon. I read a french book about an American exchange student living with a family in Lyon and they mentioned this a few times in the story. This inspired me to take a detour to check this out.

According to wiki, it is one of the biggest public squares in Europe and the third-largest in France. That's the statue of Louis XIV from a distance.

Gastronomy in Lyon

One shouldn't miss culinary exploits, cooking classes, gourmet boutiques, bars, and restaurants while in Lyon.

Indulge in authentic Lyonnaise cuisine in warm family-run bistros called Bouchons Lyonnais. The most popular Lyon dish to try (that sadly we missed) is an oval-shaped dumpling in a thick cream sauce made of ground meat or fish called Quenelle.

There are also several Michelin-starred restaurants in the city by Paul Bocuse if you have refined tastes.

As much as I wanted to try these culinary destinations, we ended up having a burger in a fast-food. You might think, "What?" Oh well. If I were alone, you'd find me inside one of these bouchons. I will definitely return one day to do that. Any Lyonnaise cuisine you highly recommend?

Thank you for reading and if you have managed to reach this far in my post.
Hope you enjoyed the walking "architectour" in Lyon!

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"I create spaces that tastefully marry function and aesthetics. I intend to immerse myself in beauty not only by tangible objects but also by the unseen." -


Curiosity and imagination lead to unexpected experiences. Interested in Nature, Places, anything French, International Cuisine, and Architecture + Interior Design. Co-founder of Architecture + Design Community. Feel free to follow her, re-blog, and upvote if you enjoy her content.


The walk almost covered everything, I hope you try those Michelin-starred restaurants the next time. The buildings were amazing, this city has lot to offer from cleanliness to hotels and structures. moreover it's quite less populated out in streets. seems like it was amusing day. Keep flourishing and posting :)

Thank you for your beautiful comment. I came across some articles on ArchDaily tagged under Lyon about new buildings that we have missed that are also worth visiting there. Such as the Lyon Saint Exupery TGV Station and many other buildings designed by world-renowned architectural firms.

Nice post! Thank you for "walking me through" Lyon 😀

Hello @luca1777 thank you for your kind words, glad to hear that you enjoyed the "walk" 😀.

Hi @discoveringarni. Wow! How beautiful, beautiful, sublime. Thank you for showing those beautiful places. Congratulations and thanks for the ride. Excellent. Greetings and blessings to you and your loved ones

Hola @discoveringarni. ¡Wow! Que bello, hermoso, sublime. Gracias por mostrar esos lugares tan lindos. Felicitaciones y gracias por el paseo. Excelente. Saludos y bendiciones para ti y para tus seres amados.

Thank you for your lovely words @marcosmilano71. Have a beautiful day!

     Impressive, excellent photographs, magnificent structures and its urban design is great. Thank you for the tour to lyon, although we are far away, its publication allowed me to travel "indirectly" the beautiful city of lyon.

     Thank you, I really liked your post. I wish you great success and health, to continue visiting and touring magnificent architectures.

     Impresionante , excelentes fotografías , magnificas estructuras y su diseño urbano es grandioso. Gracias por el recorrido a lyon, aunque estamos lejos, su publicación me permitió recorrer "indirectamente" la hermosa ciudad de lyon.

     Gracias, me gusto mucho su publicación. Le deseo mucho éxitos y salud, para seguir visitando y recorriendo magnificas arquitecturas.


Hello @memj0310, thank you, it's the advantage of being connected online we are able to discover many different places and it was a pleasure to write and re-live those moments again through writing. Wishing you the same and have a lovely weekend!

     Thank you very much, that is one of the things that motivate me to write good content. The human experience.

"Human experiences teach us and convey emotions."

     Muchísimas gracias, eso es una de las cosas que me motivan a escribir buenos contenidos. La experiencia humana.

"Las experiencias humanas , nos enseñan y transmiten emociones ".


Beautiful places. As a civil engineer, I want to explore these places. I am sure that those structures aside from the aesthetics, show great functionality as well. That Cathedral looks really beautiful!!!

I am certain you'd be able to appreciate and explore such sites looking at them through the eyes of a civil engineer particularly the methods of construction and structural innovations and solutions to enhance not only the aesthetics but the user experience as well. Thank you @reewritesthings and have a great weekend!

Have a great weekend too. Yup! I agree. I am curious on what are the building techniques used by other countries.

Absolutely stunning buildings!
The dried herbs got my attention for sure :)

You'll definitely have fun in the Herbal Shop. I was fascinated by all the different herbs and how they're used for certain ailments.

Yes, herbs are amazing.
I had a detailed book when I was living in the UK...I hope to replace it when I go back.

Weather-permitting, these are the types of walking tours I'd really enjoy! Aside from feeding my eyes with all the visual pleasures of the surrounding architectural sceneries, I'd be extremely busy clicking my camera away...haha! Thank you so much, Arni for showing us the impressive metropolis of Lyon! 😀

We just skimmed the tip of the iceberg. Lyon is such an architecturally rich city. I am certain you'll enjoy it there 😀

Looking at the building up there, one could have easily guessed that it's a catholic church.
I am surprised that I haven't seen any coffee shop around here, knowing you are one coffee lover :)

I am sure you had a great time in Lyon and it indeed majestic.

Hello @zanoz,'re right, I missed the coffee here. We were too engrossed 😊

Lol, I can totally understand:)
Hope you wouldn't next time.
How have you been by the way wonder lady ;)

Hehe, I'm having one while typing this. Doing okay and catching up on the Hive. What about you? How are you doing?

Lol, oh that's cool.
I am doing just okay thank you 😊

Time flies so fast I can't believe it's the weekend soon 😊

Hahaha, I can't believe either.
Feels like just yesterday it was Sunday :)

Lol, I can totally understand:)
Hope you wouldn't next time.
How have you been by the way wonder lady ;)

Beautiful post! Thanks for sharing

Hello @stefano.massari, thank you so much, wishing you a wonderful Saturday!


This is such a stunning post, you make me want to pack my bags and visit Lyon right now! Beautiful photos @discoveringarni!

Thank you so much @lizelle, I am glad you liked it. If given the chance I'd love to return for more interior design discoveries there as well as culinary tours. Have a lovely day ahead!

This post was quite detailed. It almost feels like I went on this walk with you. These are some marvelous structures and I have that itch to explore mine as well.

Hello @belemo, thank you for reading and for your kind words. I'm glad you enjoyed the virtual tour. Please do share your own explorations soon.

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I couldn't decide which part I should choose of this Lyon city because both are very unique and different from each other. One gives me modern vibes and the other is completely historical. I really like that Deconstructivist style museum, a very innovative unique style, and looks iconic to me. For me Old part is good for exploration but if I wanna live there I would choose new Lyon. Such a clean beautiful city...

The old and the new harmonized well. I think I would be in a dilemma if I were to pick an apartment between the charming old-style flat or in a state-of-the-art building. Although the latter assures ease of living and the absence of maintenance hassles that come with old buildings. Thank you for your lovely comment

Well, here people prefer Soviet Building apartments for living rather than New building apartments, even these old Soviets flats are more expensive than the new ones. I always wonder why because unfortunately I now live in a new style studio. I asked many people and they said comfort, insulation and longevity, durability matters, and considering these things, they prefer Soviet Buildings. But yes, as you have said, maintenance matters a lot...

That's interesting to know, the preference towards Soviet Buildings there. How's your new studio treating you? Hope all is well.

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