Perched on the hill of the same name, the Fourvière basilica has watched over the Lyonnais since the 19th century. Its inauguration was even at the origin of the famous Festival of Lights, which illuminates Lyon every December. The rest of the year, this emblematic monument in the city’s silhouette has subtle lighting, with varying intensity according to the different parts of the monument, creating the effect of a mysterious halo.
Notre-Dame de Fourvière (French only)
In Lyon, when you say ‘Place’ you say fountain! The one in the Place des Jacobins is undoubtedly one of the prettiest in the city. Already beautiful by light of day, the white marble fountain made by Gaspard André is sublime at dusk thanks to a clever game of light between water and stone, highlighting the statues representing four famous local artists.
Lyon boasts two rivers to its name, the Rhône and Saône, which form a peninsula at the very heart of the city. The various bridges and footbridges that span them are privileged points of view to admire the city, while the quaysides promise pretty walks, day or night. The two rivers benefit from dedicated lighting: white for the Rhône with its glacial source, and yellow for the Saône and its alluvium.
This building, designed by architect Louis-Pierre Baltard, is one of the first to be highlighted by the city. The 24 Corinthian columns that make up its neo-Classical façade lend themselves to magnificent plays of light – and three different paintings are projected onto them every evening. Equally majestic on the inside, the Palais de Justice houses a room of lost steps of 625m² under a 17-metre-high vault. Spectacular!
Camped opposite the Hotel de Ville between the Rhône and Saone, the National Opera of Lyon doesn’t go unnoticed. Its huge cylindrical canopy rests on the historic façade of the opera from 1831, the only original element kept by architect Jean Nouvel during its reconstruction in the early 90s. It’s even more amazing come nightfall and evening performance time, when its dome and eight muses decorating the façade are illuminated in red, a nod to the traditional velvet of theatres.
National Opera of Lyon (French only)
This 19th-century building is named after the convent of the monks of the Order of Celestine who occupied the site for almost three centuries. In 1792, the convent gave way to the Théâtre des Variétés. But it wasn’t until the end of the 19th century and the intervention of Lyon architect Gaspard André – to whom we also owe the Jacobins fountain – that the theatre took its present form, namely an Italian-style hall. The Théâtre des Célestins is today a key stage of the Festival of Lights.
Théâtre des Célestins
This former hospital – in which Rabelais notably officiated – was transformed in 2015 into a vibrant place dedicated to the art of living. Restaurants and businesses have already taken up residence and we’re looking forward to the opening of a five-star InterContinental hotel, as well as the Cité de la Gastronomie. Until then, one never tires of admiring its 325-metre façade and its Grand Dome by architect Germain Soufflot, reminiscent of another of his designs: the Pantheon in Paris.
Located along the Rhône on a former industrial site, the Gerland Park is dedicated to leisure and walking. At nightfall, it becomes an extraordinary garden thanks to colourful lighting and a sound installation highlighting the vegetation. A dreamlike world to discover from dusk until 10pm.
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