Lyon, France

General Information

Regional secretariat


Historic Site of Lyon

Registration Year


Historical function

Important player in Europe's political, cultural and economic development

Location and site

Located in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region, at the confluence of the Saône and the Rhône Rivers, the city of Lyon is dominated by two hills: Fourvière to the west and Croix-Rousse to the east. The long history of Lyon, which was founded by the Romans in the 1st century B.C. as the capital of the Three Gauls and has continued to play a major role in Europe’s political, cultural and economic development ever since, is vividly illustrated by its urban fabric and the many fine historic buildings from all periods.

Urban Morphology

Humans have settled at this site destined for urbanization for more than two thousand years and built a city whose stages of development are still visible today: from the Roman vestiges of antique Lugdunum to the medieval streets on the slopes of Fourvière and the Renaissance dwellings of Vieux-Lyon, from the peninsula with a wealth of classical architecture to the slopes of Croix-Rousse with its very particular canut dwellings, which bear witness to an essential page in the history of the labouring classes of the 19th century.

The specificity of Lyon is its progressive expansion towards the east while preserving, at each stage of its growth, the richness of its earlier dwellings. Unlike many other cities where the centre was destroyed in order to be rebuilt in the same place with new architecture, Lyon’s centre has shifted location, enabling the safeguarding of whole districts whose permanence renders the history of the city visible on the buildings themselves.

Registration criteria

Criterion (ii): Lyon bears exceptional testimony to the continuity of urban settlement over more than two millennia on a site of great commercial and strategic significance, where cultural traditions from many parts of Europe have come together to create a coherent and vigorous continuing community.

Criterion (iv): By virtue of the particular manner in which it has developed spatially, Lyon illustrates in an exceptional way the progress and evolution of architectural design and town planning over many centuries.




M. Grégory Doucet

Ville de Lyon

Hôtel de ville 1, place de la Comédie Cedex 1 - B.P. 1065
Lyon, France

[email protected]

M. Sylvain Godinot

Adjoint au Maire de Lyon
Délégué à la transition écologique et au patrimoine

Mairie de Lyon - 69205 cedex 01
Lyon, France

[email protected]

Mme Piéranne Gausset

Service Gestion et Développement des Patrimoines
Direction des Affaires Culturelles - Ville de Lyon

Lyon Cedex 01
Lyon, France

04 72 10 37 94
[email protected]