Lyon, France- A Cultural Treasure Trove


Lyon (often spelled “Lyons” by Anglophones) and its suburbs form the largest metropolitan area in France after Paris. Located in the Rhone-Alpes region, Lyon is known for its contributions to the world of art and gastronomy. Moreover, Lyon is where Auguste and Louis Lumiere, the fathers of cinema, attended school (at La Martiniere, Lyon’s largest technical school) and invented early film technology. Listed below are some of the cultural institutions that make Lyon a cultural treasure.

Lyon Opera

Performing Arts

The National Opera and Opera Orchestra (Palais de Congres), directed by Luis Langree, and the Lyon National Orchestra, directed by David Robertson, present world-class concerts year-round.
The National Opera
1, place de la Comedie,
Tel: (04) 7200 4500

Lyon National Orchestra
149, rue Garibaldi,
Tel: (04) 7895 9595

auditorium de Lyon

Auditorium de Lyon

Opera Orchestra, Palais des Congres
50 quai Charles de Gaulle,
Tel: (04) 7267 0188

Dance is an important aspect of Lyonnais culture. Some of the most famous dance companies in Lyon are Maison de la Dance () for contemporary dance and the Lyon Opera House Ballet.
Maison de la Danse
Avenue Jean-Mermoz
Lyon, 69008
Tel: +33 (04) 7278 1818

Lyon Opera House Ballet Company

Place de la Comedie,
Tel: +33 (04) 7200 4545

Lyon boasts a rich and diverse theater scene. Both Celestins Theatre  and Le Theatre des Jeunes Annees perform innovative theatrical pieces throughout the year.
Celestins Theatre
4, rue Charles Dullin,
Tel: (04) 7277 4000

Compagnie Laurent Cappezone
2, rue Louis Carrand,
Tel: (04) 7828 9257

Le Theatre des Jeunes Annees

23, rue de Bourgogne
Tel: (04) 7253 1515

Visual and Decorative Arts

Lyon Museum of Contemporary Arts

Lyon’s Musée d’art contemporain opened in 1995 at the Cité International near the Tête de l’Or park. Due to the size of the museum’s permanent collection of works by renowned international artists, they rotate the works on view each six months.

Lyon is also home to the charming and thoughtfully curated Musée des Tissus et des Arts Décoratifs (Textile and Decorative Arts Museum ), located in a well-preserved 18th century residence. The museum’s collection of silk, furniture, china, rugs, clocks and paintings is sure to both delight and educate.


Cafe des Federations, Lyon

Cafe des Federations, Lyon

Lyon is known for its “bouchons” (small bistros with quaint decorations and reasonably priced fare) and fine restaurants that have been serving up tantalizing dishes since the 16th century. With the cornucopia of local products available to Lyonnais chefs, it’s no surprise that Lyon is one of the culinary capitals of France.

From the farms in the regions of Bresse and Charolais to the wild game of Dombes, to the fish from the Savoy, there is no shortage of local inspiration. And let’s not forget both the fresh and fermented fruits of the Rhone Valley. Lyon’s gastronomic specialties are as diverse as the Rhône-Alpes region itself.

A few of my favorites are quenelles dumplings (made from a mixture of butter, herbs semolina and fish), paillasson fried herbed potatoes, and poularde demi-deuil (hen with black truffles). Pair these local delicacies with a glass (or two) of Beaujolais or Côtes du Rhône wine and you’ve got yourself a meal to remember.

Written by Jen Westmoreland Bouchard for

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