Urben Explorer - Lyon

The fantastic La Fabrique de la Cite conference took Urben to Lyon for a enjoyable and interesting few days, as Urben director Liz was invited to speak about her work on Underground Urbanism. The annual, invitation only, conference moves around the world, with recent events held in Singapore, Berlin and Lisbon. The conference's namesake organisation, La Fabrique de la Cité is a think tank promoting discussion and leadership on urban innovation. The organisation is focused on three areas: adaptation of existing cities, sustainable mobility and urban economy. 

Lyon Rooftops

Lyon Rooftops

Lyon was a good choice for the conference - with a mix of current urban challenges, and recent urban improvements to explore and debate. Regeneration of the heavily contaminated former port and manufacturing area known as chemical valley has been costly and slow. Progress is however being made on regeneration of this area at the confluence of the Rhone and Saone rivers. The Musée des Confluences is a striking contemporary addition to the landscape and its focus on anthropological history has proved popular. Completed in 2014, the museum was designed by Coop Himmelb(l)au, and states the city's clear intention to revitalise the surrounding area. Nearby, is another prominent development - Le Sucre is a bar, night club and exhibition space (hosting one of our conference sessions), housed in a former sugar factory, it is run by a non-profit arts organisation. 

Lyon Waterfront

Lyon Waterfront

Some enjoyable experiences: 

  • It is hard to have a bad meal in Lyon, with gastronomic excellence being important to the cultural identity and economy of the city. Suggestions however include Daniel and Denise or Les Adrets in Vieux Lyon old town, or for fine dining with a spectacular view there is Restaurant Tetedoie.
  • For a good ice coffee after a long walk, or to buy design led fashion and homewares try Maison Metagram http://maisonmetagram.fr/ 
  • Visit one of the city's museums such as the Musee des Confluences by Austrian architects by Coop Himmelb(l)au (http://www.museedesconfluences.fr/), or the Musee Gallo-Romain by architect Bernard Zehrfuss (http://www.museegalloromain.grandlyon.com/)
  • Explore the hidden "traboule" passageways and courtyards of the Vieux-Lyon Renaissance district. Silk workers used these as a shortcut  to walk from their workshops to merchants along the river. Our tour guide was very knowledgable, explaining the agreement between the city and property owners that allows continued access to these semi private spaces, and also the city's support for affordable housing(https://www.visiterlyon.com/renaissance-vieux-lyon-cathedral-courtyards-and-traboules.html)
  • Visit during one of the city's many festivals for art, music, food, or illumination.