Please note that there is an itinerary available at the bottom of this page.


On which districts of Lyon does the peninsula extend?
a) The 1st and 2nd arrondissements
b) The 3rd and 4th arrondissements
c) The 5th and 6th arrondissements
d) The 8th and 9th arrondissements

Check below if you answered correctly.


The Presqu’île (French meaning peninsula.) is the heart of Lyon. Extending from the foot of the Croix Rousse hill to the confluence of the Rhône and the Saône rivers, it has a preponderance of cafés, restaurants, luxury shops, department stores, banks, government buildings, and cultural institutions. The 1st and 2nd arrondissements of the city (as well as the southern part of the 4th) are located here, along with the Hôtel de Ville (city hall). The spires of the church of St. Nizier, reconstructed starting in the 14th century, are at the foot of the former Saône river bridge. Though the business centre is located to the east in the 3rd arrondissement, road signs pointing to the centre of the city take drivers to Place Bellecour in the 2nd.



  • Gallo-Roman period

The Peninsula’s history began with the foundation of Lugdunumm in 43 BC: the Celtic village of ‘Condate' in the north and the 'Canabae', a crafts and trade district in the south. Navigation on the Saône and Rhône rivers allowed for numerous exchanges with other regions and countries.

At the end of the II century, after an assault on the city by the troops of Septime Sévère, the town became poor and people left the heights of  Fourvière for the right-hand banks of the Saône; some people also settled in the territory known as the 'Canabae' on the Peninsula. A church commemorating Sainte-Blandine and the Martyrs of 177 was supposedly built around this time on the site of the Saint-Nizier crypt.

In the V century, the Burgundians invaded Lyons and made it one of their capitals. The town progressively depopulated but enjoyed a slight population increase at the start of bridge building in the XI century. From the VI to the IX centuries, the town lost its political importance, saw its population decrease and became a rather deserted territory.

At the Carolingian period Charlemagne undertook the revival of the city. In spite of this the south of the Peninsula remained neglected; only the Ainay abbey thrived, annex of the large Ile Barbe abbey which until the XIV century maintained its rural character. In 1077 the Saône bridge, called 'pont de Pierre', revitalised the Peninsula. Its name was changed to the pont du Change and it stood where the actual place du Change and the Saint-Nizier church are. It was destroyed in 1843. Around Saint-Nizier and the rue Mercière merchants and craftspeople set up their businesses and houses were built. In the XIII century a solid bridge over the Rhône allowed the town to develop and increase its exchanges with Italy. From then on economic power was concentrated in the Peninsula whereas the right bank of the Saône maintained its religious power.

  • Renaissance

At the Renaissance, at the beginning of the XV century, and thanks to its fairs, Lyons progressively took on its European importance. The Italians, masters of new payment means (exchange letters), vitalised economic exchanges and activities of the city thus making it a cosmopolite centre which attracted large numbers of German and Spanish people.
From 1743 onwards, as a result of Barthélémy Buyer, the printing industry began to develop which also contributed to the Peninsula’s dynamics; in 1500 there were 50 printers in Lyons. In the XVI century the silk industry took off: on the Peninsula, at Saint-Georges on the right-hand banks of the Saône and then later on the slopes of the Croix-Rousse. This was the period known as the great textile age, the "Grande Fabrique", which lasted until 1880.

Many transformations took place on the Peninsula during the XVIII and XIX centuries, the most important being the extension towards the south due to the construction of a large dyke by Michel PERRACHE in 1775. After that quays were built, which served as dykes between 1858 and 1865 to protect from flooding, and the roads gradually became wider, radically transforming social life in the sector. These large works ended in the Second Empire with the urban planning of the Department chief Vaïsse.

  • Modern times

Germain Soufflot expanded the hospital located near the old Rhône bridge, building the Hôtel-Dieu along the banks of the river. Nowadays the hospital is closed. Works is underway to renovate the building, which will host a five stars hotel, shops, offices, habitations and the new Cité de la gastronomie. Numerous hôtels particuliers were built in the vicinity of the place Bellecour. The Hôtel du Gouverneur, built in 1730, now houses the Musée des Tissus (Museum of Fabric) and the Hôtel de Lacroix Laval, designed by Soufflot, is now the Museum of Decorative Arts. In 1855, during France’s Second Empire period, Claude-Marius Vaïsse, Prefect of the Rhône département, created the rue de la République and the rue Edouard Herriot as part of a series of large construction projects. The Stock Exchange, built in 1860, is an example of the Napoleon III style and is in the heart of the banking district. In the 19th century, two theatres were built: the Célestins Theatre and the Grand Theatre, the latter of which is now the opera house, rebuilt in 1993 by Jean Nouvel. These are two of the city’s major cultural centres.

A Biography

Marie François Sadi Carnot

Marie François Sadi Carnot 11 August 1837 – 25 June 1894) was a French statesman, who served as the President of France from 1887 until his assassination in 1894.

  • Early life

Marie François was the son of the statesman Hippolyte Carnot and was born in Limoges, Haute-Vienne. He was educated as a civil engineer, and was a highly distinguished student at both the École Polytechnique and the École des Ponts et Chaussées. After his academic course, he obtained an appointment in the public service. His hereditary republicanism caused the government of national defence to entrust him in 1870 with the task of organizing resistance in the départements of the Eure, Calvados and Seine-Inférieure, and he was made prefect of Seine-Inférieure in January 1871. In the following month he was elected to the French National Assembly by the département Côte-d'Or. He joined the Opportunist Republican parliamentary group, Gauche républicaine. In August 1878 he was appointed secretary to the minister of public works. He became minister in September 1880 and again in April 1885, moving almost immediately to the ministry of finance, which post he held under both the Ferry and the Freycinet administrations until December 1886.

  • Presidency

When the Daniel Wilson scandals occasioned the downfall of Jules Grévy in December 1887, Carnot's reputation for integrity made him a candidate for the presidency, and he obtained the support of Georges Clemenceau and many others, so that he was elected by 616 votes out of 827. He assumed office at a critical period, when the republic was all but openly attacked by General Boulanger.

President Carnot's ostensible part during this agitation was confined to augmenting his popularity by well-timed appearances on public occasions, which gained credit for the presidency and the republic. When, early in 1889, Boulanger was finally driven into exile, it fell to Carnot to appear as head of the state on two occasions of special interest, the celebration of the centenary of the French Revolution in 1889 and the opening of the Paris Exhibition of the same year. The success of both was regarded as a popular ratification of the republic, and though continually harassed by the formation and dissolution of ephemeral ministries, by socialist outbreaks, and the beginnings of anti-Semitism, Carnot had only one serious crisis to surmount, the Panama scandals of 1892, which, if they greatly damaged the prestige of the state, increased the respect felt for its head, against whose integrity none could breathe a word. He was in favour of the Franco-Russian Alliance, and received the Order of St Andrew from Alexander III.

  • Death

Carnot was reaching the zenith of his popularity, when, on 24 June 1894, after delivering a speech at a public banquet in Lyon in which he appeared to imply that he would not seek re-election, he was stabbed by an Italian anarchist named Sante Geronimo Caserio. Carnot died shortly after midnight on 25 June. The stabbing aroused widespread horror and grief, and the president was honoured with an elaborate funeral ceremony in the Panthéon on 1 July 1894.

Caserio called the assassination a political act, and was executed on 16 August 1894.



Cobblestone red as blood

A red cobblestone is inserted somewhere in one of Lyon’s street to mark the place where President Sadi Carnot was assassinated in 1894. Can you find it?

Clue 1: The street is a great place for shopping.
Clue 2: It is highly ironic for a president to have been assassinated in such a street.


Solution: rue de la République, Palais de la Bourse

Itinerary Presqu'île North



Details of the Traboules:

38 : 1 place Louis-Pradel :
open, wide door. Door hammer. The different layout of the traboule revolves around a room where the caretaker lives. Glazed doors, wide exits.

Info: the creation of this square was made necessary by the decision to include the metro in the structure of the new Morand Bridge. It was also the opportunity to build an underground car park, the Opera car park. In 1977, when it was not yet developed, it was named after Louis Pradel.

1. Who was Louis Pradel?

39 : 2 place Louis-Pradel :
open, wide door. Glass door in the driveway. Courtyard different from the others, high, two stair climbs. Alphonse Daudet lived in this house from 1849 to 1853.

2. Who was Alphonse Daudet?

40 : 16 rue Pizay :
open. Traboule parallel to the one of number 14. Narrow building crossings, serving wide north-south lanes.

Info: This district has been occupied since medieval times, the eastern part retains its narrow and winding character. The main part was partly transformed in the middle of the 19th century by the work promoted by the Prefect Vaïsse. Jean Baptiste Say was born there on January 5, 1767, Louis Gabriel Suchet in 1770.

3. Who was Jean Baptiste Say and Louis Gabriel Suchet?

41 : 10 rue Pizay :
open, short and melancholic courtyard on the ground floor but screened at the exit.

Info: in 1553, Philippe de Pizeys, the king's commissioner, owned the house that gave his name to the street.

4. When did courtyards appear for the first time?

42 : 8 rue du platre :
open, old Tolozan passage, welcoming traboule. Courtyard with a larger balcony staircase. A very busy Traboule.

Info: the place has been occupied since the early Middle Ages, the street took shape in the 12th century along the Abbey de Saint-Pierre-les-Nonnains (currently Musée des Beaux-Arts).

5. When did the Abbey de Saint-Pierre-les-Nonnains turn into the Musée des Beaux-Arts?

43 : 12 rue Mulet :
building, gate, vaulted driveway with edges.

Info: the name would come from an inn that chose a Mule as its sign. At the end of the Middle Ages it was a street of taverns that went as far as the rampart of the Rhône. Jean-Claude Fulchiron was born at number 2 on this street.

6. Who was Jean-Claude Fulchiron?

44 : 2 rue des Forces :
building, double door. Staircase vault giving access to the Bank and Printing Museum. Large courtyard followed by three long galleries along large green plants. Wrought iron gate.

Info: the rue des Forces has existed since the Middle Ages. Until the upheavals of the 19th century, it served the seminary of Saint Charles. Pierre Jacques Willermoz lived there before buying the convent of Les Collinettes in 1796.

7. Who was Pierre Jacques Willermoz?

45 : 25 quai St Antoine :
open, modest façade, vaulted driveway, redone courtyard. Ridge vault. Exit lane in poor condition.

Info: in the 13th century there was a hospital here founded by the brothers of Saint Antoine in 1245, which is why this quay adopted this patronage.

8. Who was Saint Antoine (Saint Anthony of Padua)?

46 : 26 quai St-Antoine :
open, traboule-passage, one of the most busy in the city, wide gate door, on each side of the Lyon traffic jams.

9. What is the Franciscan Order?

47 : 45 rue Mercière :
open, building, courtyard with stairs, seven steps up under door, exit by door.

Info: rue Mercière was on the only passage from the Rhône to the Saône, it was the main street on the peninsula from the 13th to the 18th century. The indirect route was imposed by the flood vulnerability of the rest of the peninsula.

10. Why is this treet called rue Mercière?






1. He was mayor of Lyon for nearly twenty years - from 1957 to 1976- and successor to Édouard Herriot, who had long governed the city of Lyon.

2. Alphonse Daudet (13 May 1840 – 16 December 1897) was a French Novelist, short story writer, playwright and poet.

3. Jean-Baptiste Say was a French economist and businessman who had classically liberal views and argued in favor of competition, free trade and lifting restraints on business. Louis-Gabriel Suchet, Duke of Albufera, was a French Marshal of the Empire and one of the most successful commanders of the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars.

4. The courtyard house makes its first appearance ca. 6400–6000 BC, in the Neolithic Yarmukian site at Sha'ar HaGolan, in the central Jordan Valley, on the northern bank of the Yarmouk River.

5. Starting off as an upper-class convent, it turned into a Royal Abbey, became a place of worship with the building of a Church, and was then extravagantly remodelled by Louis XIV. Only in 1801 it was turned into a museum.

6. Jean-Claude Fulchiron (24 July 1774-22 March 1859) was a French politician and writer.

7. Pierre-Jacques Willermoz (28 August 1735-26 June 1799) was a French doctor and chemist who also collaborates in the Encyclopedia of Diderot et D'Alembert.

8. Saint Anthony of Padua , born Fernando Martins de Bulhões (15 August 1195 – 13 June 1231) was a Portuguese Catholic priest and friar of the Franciscan Order. He was born and raised by a wealthy family in Lisbon, Portugal, and died in Padua, Italy. Noted by his contemporaries for his powerful preaching, expert knowledge of scripture, and undying love and devotion to the poor and the sick, he was one of the most quickly canonized saints in church history.

9. It is a group of related mendicant religious orders within the Catholic Church, founded in 1209 by Saint Francis of Assisi.

10. Etymologically, Mercière refers to the term "marchand", in english“merchant”, and pays tribute to the past life of the area, and to trade and exchanges that were taking place on a daily basis in the street.