The Mystique of Vieux Lyon

Wandering through passageways in Vieux Lyon

As newcomers to this fabulous city, we were fortunate to make an acquaintance with a native, who knew every twist and turn in Vieux Lyon.  Our new friend guided us through his turf, introducing us to exceptional bistros, boutiques and secret little passageways in the old city.

Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Lyon is steeped in history with centuries-old ties to Rome. The Old Town area of Saint-Jean and the Croix-Rousse area offer stunning examples of Renaissance and Roman architecture.

Throughout Vieux Lyon, fascinating traboules – secret passages – thread their way between houses and tiny streets, passages that were once a salvation for silk merchants en route to work and, more famously, a protective route for resistance members to elude German soldiers. Lyon was so important to the resistance movement, that General Charles DeGaulle in 1944 declared Lyon the “Capital of the Resistance.”

We walk along and suddenly, our friend pushes through an ordinary door.  With our guide, we find our way from “here to there” along passages we would never have known existed. They open on to large courtyards and dimly-lit halls, around corners and across cobblestones.  They are quiet, holding perhaps only the silent whispers of those who walked their corridors in the past.  And that was just one fascinating discovery in one of France’s most enchanting cities.

 

historic passageways of old Lyon

The mystique of Vieux Lyon’s traboules

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