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Culture of Lyon



*    Since the Middle Ages, the residents of the region, speak several dialects of Arpitan language. The Lyonnais dialect was partly replaced by the French language as the importance of the city grew. However, it is still alive and, in addition, some "frenchified" Franco-Provençal words can also be heard in the French of the Lyonnais, who call their little boys and girls "gones" and "fenottes" for example.

*    Lyon was an early centre for printing books, and nurtured a circle of 16th century poets.

*    The Lumière brothers pioneered cinema in the town in 1895. The Musée Lumière, built as Auguste Lumiere's house, and a fascinating piece of architecture in its own right, holds many of their first inventions and other early cinematic and photographic artefacts.

*    8 December each year is marked by the Festival of Lights (la Fête des lumières), a celebration of thanks to the Virgin Mary, who purportedly saved the city from a deadly plague in the Middle Ages. During the event, the local population places candles (lumignons) at their windows and the city of Lyon organizes impressive large-scale light shows onto the sides of important Lyonnais monuments, such as the medieval Cathédrale St-Jean.

*    The church of Saint Francis of Sales is famous for its large and unaltered Cavaillé-Coll pipe organ, attracting audiences from around the world.

*    The Opéra Nouvel (New Opera House) is the home of the Opéra National de Lyon. The original opera house was re-designed by the distinguished French architect, Jean Nouvel between 1985 and 1993 and is named after him.

*    Lyon is also the French capital of "trompe l'œil" walls, a very ancient tradition. Many are to be seen around the city. This old tradition is now finding a contemporary expression, for example in the art of Guillaume Bottazzi.

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