Sunday, 28 October 2012

Night photos of Lyon, France

My sister came over from Liverpool to visit me here in Lyon during summer a few years ago. It was her first-ever visit to Lyon and she instantly fell in love with the city's elegance and architecture, insisting that we visit as much of it as possible during the few days she was here and telling me how "lucky you are" to be living in such a place.

And so it was that we would spend very little time at my apartment. One thing that particularly impressed her was how Lyon dresses itself up in its finest lights each evening and shows off its rivers, streets and buildings for all to see.

Which is why I thought I'd share some photos of Lyon at night. Some were taken with a mobile phone, others with a camera, and none of them are exactly David Bailey masterpieces but hey ho, I hope you like them anyway.

Much of Lyon's activities are centred upon its two rivers, the Rhône and the Saône, with the Rhône in particular being featured in the evening as it has a very wide left bank which has been developed into a leisure zone, full of barges which have been transformed into floating bars and restaurants. Thousands of people stroll along it in the evening during the balmy summer months, taking in the air and the sights. One of those sights is the river's 10 bridges, most of which are tastefully illuminated at night. Here are a few of them.

The 'Pont de l'Université was built in the early 1900s to link the Left Bank's university buildings to the centre of the city.

Pont de l'Université

Here's the Pont Wilson. First built in the 1830s, it has been rebuilt a couple of times, this incarnation being inaugurated in 1918. Like many of the other bridges it was partially destroyed by the occupying German troops as they fled the city in 1944 to avoid the allied advance in WWII. It was subsequently restored.

Pont Wilson

This is the Pont Lafayette, which began its life as the Pont Charles X before being rebaptised Pont Lafayette in 1830 after Lafayette crossed it. He played a major role in the French Revolution as well as in the American war of Independence. A quick look at Wikipedia tells me that he was made an Honorary Citizen of America in 2002.
Pont Lafayette

Meanwhile, back on the Left Bank, people are enjoying themselves on the barges, walking along, or sitting down and relaxing on the terraces and lawns.
Barge restaurant, with the Opera building at top left

One of my favourite hangouts
Hangin' out an' chattin' on the Left Bank


Some of the city's finest buildings are to be found along the Rhône, including the beautiful Hôtel Dieu. It was built as a general hospital before being used as the city's central maternity hospital, hence its nickname - 'l'Usine à Bébés', or 'The Baby Factory.'
L'Hôtel Dieu

This is one of Lyon University's faculty buildings. And guess where many students eat their lunch? Yup, down on the riverbank.
Lyon University faculty building

Here's another landmark, one of the towers at the municipal swimming bath complex, which overlooks the river. It makes me think of Star Trek...
A spaceship with its ladder deployed

There isn't just the Left Bank to see at night in Lyon though, so here are some pictures taken elsewhere. I took this sunset whilst crossing one of the bridges on my way to the city centre. You can see the swimming pool towers to the left.
On a bridge in Lyon, early evening

This is the sumptuous Célestins Théâtre. It, like many other buildings in Lyon, is a part of a UNESCO Heritage Site.
The Célestins Theatre

This church is on the banks of the Saône. Maybe it's just me but it looks like a rather forbidding place...
L'église Notre Dame St Vincent

Some of Lyon's best and most intimate restaurants are to be found tucked away in side-streets. This picture was taken from inside one of them and it shows one of the rear entrances to l'Hôtel Dieu, pictured further up the page.
Candlelit dinner anyone?

It's the same for bars. The big Brasseries on the main thoroughfares are okay, but I prefer the smaller bars which are to be found hidden nearby in back streets. This is an excellent and unassuming wine bar with a clientele of locals. Change-the-world discussions and hangovers the next morning guaranteed.
"Are you nuts? Don't tell me you voted for HIM!!!"

One of the city's well known characters, here on a bus. He can often be seen around town and he likes to sing Sinatra songs and others in his wonderful crooning style. He smells faintly of whisky, he's a real charmer, and the ladies love him..
This could have been taken in NYC. Classy guy

I read in the press this morning that it snowed last night in various parts of France for the first time since the end of last winter. It didn't snow here but it surely will soon, giving me the chance to take more photos like these. Snow? It's incredibly photogenic.
Lady, dog, snow. Near my place
Nature at work in the city

Lyon, not being like New York or Tokyo, does finally put the lights out and go to sleep, leaving the roads to late-night revelers, municipal maintenance staff and those going to work early.....
It's almost 4am and just the street lights remain to guide people home

May I wish you an excellent day, full of good stuff.


  1. Thanks so much for your visit, glad to see you there My one and only visit to Lyon was on the 25th January 1953, I guess a lot of things have changed since then, I was also too young to take it all in. These are great photos and they give a fantastic idea of how colourful it is at night.
    Please do not bring the snow any earlier than necessary :-) Keep well and enjoy the rest of the day. Diane

    1. The pleasure's mine Diane, and I'll be back often to your pages to find some good and warming winter recipes.

      I wasn't even born until later in 1953 but I do know that Lyon has changed enormously since then due to the research I have done into its history. Even Gerland, the area of Lyon I live in, has changed enormously since I moved here 15 years ago and the number of new University buildings, research centres and new apartment housing developments springing up all around me (which are snapped up by eager buyers the minute they become available) testify to that. In fact there are still cranes all over the place, a sure sign of development.

      Economic crisis? Wot ecoonomic crisis?! :)

      Take care,


  2. Europe travel all the time, and hang around at the moment. Thank you very much for the very good articles. I love to write blog. Travel writing my notes here. The next trip to Lyon.