There is water everywhere, flowing under 28 bridges. Lyon is divided into different areas by two rivers, the Saône and Rhône, and two hills, La Croix-Rousse and Fourvière. In the west, by the Fourvière hill, is the bustling, historic city centre with its Renaissance pomp. It bears witness to the riches that the city’s profitable silk industry earned, following François the First’s tax reductions in 1536.
In 43 BC, the Romans founded the capital city of the Gallic provinces on a peninsula, at the foot of La Croix-Rousse and in the area around the Town Hall and the Opera, France’s most prominent architects and artists were given a free hand in the 1990s. The result was Post-Modern glamour: a Rococo opera with a glass dome, a grand square with columns and 69 water jets.
From the Town Hall and the Opera, the main shopping, restaurant and café streets, the rue de la République and rue Président Herriot, extend in a north-south direction. The Congress Centre with the 3,000 seat amphitheater built by Renzo Piano, the Contemporary Art Museum and Interpol sandwiched between the Rhône River and the Park de la Tête d’Or, are part of the business centre on the left bank of the river. The underground railway system is extensive - you seldom have to walk for more than 15 minutes.