Stretching along the banks of the River Saône, Lyon’s 5th Arrondissement is home to the city’s most popular tourist attractions. Wander around the 5th Arrondissement to view Lyon’s hidden passageways, the monumental basilica on Fourvière hill and the quaint squares and cobbled streets of the Vieux Lyon.
Begin in Vieux Lyon, the colorful Renaissance quarter of the city that stretches from the River Saône to Fourvière. Admire the well-preserved and colorful historic houses as you amble along, and look for signs indicating that there are hidden passageways, known as traboules, nearby.
Dating back to the 4th century, covered traboules were used by silk workers in the 5th Arrondissement to carry their precious textiles from their workshops to the river, thus avoiding damage during inclement weather. Many of the traboules are now at least partially open to the public, so if you see a sign, feel free to venture in. Try to keep noise to a minimum though, as many of these secret passageways lead through private properties.
Visit the trio of famous churches in the Vieux Lyon neighborhood. Start at Saint-George, which overlooks the River Saône, before continuing farther north to the St. Jean Cathedral and the Gothic Saint-Paul. Check out the souvenir shops on Rue St. Jean or browse the collection at museums, such as the movie-themed Musée Miniature et Cinéma and history-focused Musées Gadagne.
Walk or catch the funicular up Fourvière hill, where you can visit the Roman Theatres of Fourvière, the informative Musées Gallo-Romains and the iconic Notre-Dame Basilica. Bring your camera with you; this hilltop vantage point at Fourvière offers some of the best panoramic views in the city.
When you’ve had enough sightseeing, the 5th Arrondissement also has plenty of interesting cafés, bars and restaurants to relax in, as well as independent boutiques for shopping.
Find maps and further information for the 5th Arrondissement at the tourist office on Place Bellecour, just across the Saône. The neighborhood is served by the Vieux Lyon metro station and by funicular stations at Minimes, St. Just and Fourvière.