Lyon : City of Light, Colour, CultureLyon : City of Light, Colour, Culture

The Lyon Opéra during the festival of light 2006


The 13th CEC Assembly will be held in one of Lyon’s most modern facilities, the Cité Internationale. Located between the river Rhone and the beautiful Parc de la Tete d’Or, this is a 21st century centre offering a whole range of conference facilities, within easy reach of the city centre.

With nearly 500,000 inhabitants and 130,000 students, Lyon is one of France’s largest and most vibrant cities, as well as being classed as a UNESCO world heritage site. Situated above the confluence of the Saone and the Rhone, its history goes back to the Romans, who chose the town for its convenient geographical position, colonising the two main hills (Fourvière and Croix Rousse) and have left their mark there today in the form of two large amphitheatres.

An artistic city at the outset, Lyon became France’s premier silk trading city from the 16th century; there are still silk workshops in the Croix Rousse area today and the museum of fabrics houses some fine examples of what the Lyonnais industry once produced. Later, the Lyonnais were threatened with a Prussian invasion but managed to resist it thanks to a prayer to Mary. As a sign of thanks, the impressive Fourvière basilica was built, which now dominates the city. Lyon is known as the gastronomic capital of France, and nowadays is also an important economic and business centre, marked by the striking Crédit Lyonnais tower (nicknamed the pencil).

To learn about the history of Lyon as a Christian city, please click here.

Reels of silk in Lyon's 'traboules' (Festival of Light 2006)

Lyon has the advantage of having expanded East over the centuries, and so preserves a series of distinct areas of individual character. From the cobbled streets, hidden passageways, murals and cosy restaurants of the old town to the Napoleonic pomp of the Presqu’ile, from the new riverside paths on the right bank of the Rhone  to the exotic delights of the 7th arrondissement, Lyon has everything a city could want. With a modernised Opera house, a biennial dance festival, and a thriving Café Théatre tradition, Lyon is full of art and music all year round, and there is a three day festival of light held in the city every December.

To find out more about Lyon and our Assembly venue, try the links on the right hand side of this page.