Port of Lyon
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The original medieval town, Vieux Lyon, was founded in 43 B.C. by a lieutenant of Julius Caesar on the hilltop district known today as Fourviere. Ruins of this Roman settlement are recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with concerts and operas still held at the (partially intact) ancient amphitheater every summer.
In the Middle Ages, the city expanded to the east bank of the Saone, and it has belonged to multiple provinces over time. It wasn't until the Renaissance era that Lyon truly flourished, largely in the industries of silk-weaving and printing. Almost 500 years later, it still holds its status as a leading world center for textile design.
Modern Lyon is most famous for its excellent gastronomic scene, as well as many striking buildings, such as the Basilica of Notre Dame de Fourviere, which looms over the city; La Tour Metallique, sometimes called the Eiffel Tower's "little sister"; and almost 100 walls painted with huge murals.
Top Lyon Itineraries
S.S. Catherine7 Night Burgundy & ProvenceLyon, Lyon, Avignon, Arles, MarseilleNow
River Royale21 Night Ultimate FranceMontreal, Bordeaux, Bordeaux, Paris, Rouen, Paris, Paris, Lyon, Lyon, Tournon-sur-Rhone, Avignon, MarseilleNow
Viking Delling7 Night Lyon & ProvenceAvignon, Arles, Avignon, Lyon, LyonNow
AmaCello7 night Colors of ProvenceLyon, Lyon, Tournon-sur-Rhone, Tournon-sur-Rhone, Avignon, Arles, ArlesNow
Viking Buri7 Night Lyon & ProvenceLyon, Lyon, Avignon, Arles, MarseilleNow
Where You're Docked
Ships dock along the Quai Claude Bernard, on the east bank of the Rhone, near the University of Lyon.
Good to Know
Crime is not a major concern in Lyon, but pickpockets are known to operate in tourist areas, so it is sensible to take the usual precautions.
Also, be careful when crossing the street, as French drivers do not always slow down for disoriented tourists.
Currency & Best Way to Get Money
As part of the European Union, France uses the euro. Visit XE.com for current exchange rates. Credit cards are widely accepted, and ATM's are easily found throughout the city.
The official language is French. English is spoken, but not all shopkeepers or waiters are fluent. It is best to start with bonjour (hello) and ask parlez-vous anglais? (do you speak English?). Always say merci (thank you) when leaving a store or restaurant. People will smile politely at your poor pronunciation, but they appreciate the effort.
Silk is the top purchase among shoppers, and cruise lines' shore excursions probably will include a stop at a store selling beautiful scarves, ties and clothing. Croix-Rousse is the main region for silk production and can be conveniently visited on a guided tour.