Lyon : photos of the skyline


Some photos of Lyon’s skyline, composed of Tour Incity, Tour Oxygène and Le Crayon.

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Lyon, sunrise on the skyline

Lyon’s skyline at sunrise from Fourvière, with Mont Blanc in the background

(Tour Incity on the left, Tour Oxygène in the middle and Le Crayon on the right)

It is a euphemism to say that in the 20th century, Lyon has experienced many difficulties in finding its way to modernity without jeopardizing its glorious heritage. The modern skyline that is developing in Part-Dieu district gives hopes that it has finally managed to find a way  of successfully combining its past with the modernity it pursues.

At the beginning of the 20th century, Lyon still bore much of its medieval face. Despite the creation of two main streets (Rue de la République and Rue Edouard Herriot) on the Presqu’Île in the 19th century under Claude-Marius Vaïsse’s term as mayor of the city, the development of two main squares in the city (Place des Terreaux and Place des Cordeliers) and other building works that were inspired by the modernisation project Baron Haussmann had designed for Paris, Lyon remained a second-rank city compared to its main rival in France.

Edouard Herriot, mayor of the city in the beginning of the 20th century, tried to make Lyon one of the most modern cities in Europe. New hospitals were built, old ones were destroyed (Hôpital de la Charité, near Bellecour), Gerland and Brotteaux districts were developed according to architect Tony Garnier’s plans… In the 50’s, the successor of Edouard Herriot, Louis Pradel, followed what his predecessor had done. He ordered the construction of Part-Dieu’s new district, destroying the old one. He made Lyon the second French city to be equipped with a subway network. Unfortunately, he also made poor choices for Lyon : he ordered the construction of a highway along the Rhône river, which cut the city in two at Perrache. He also allowed the construction of many concrete-made high-rise blocs in Lyon downtown and in its suburbs, following Le Corbusier’s architectural and urbanistic precepts. However, its worst decision was to destroy the Vieux Lyon district to replace it with a highway. Fortunately, though, he was stopped by an association of inhabitants from Lyon before he could put his plans into practice, even though some beautiful Renaissance buildings had already been destroyed (in Montée de la Grande-Côte and Rue Mercière especially).

In the following years, Lyon learned from these mistakes, and since Louis Pradel’s last term, Lyon’s mayors have tried to develop the city in a more respectful way for its rich past. In the 6th arrondissement, La Cité Internationale was built. Though the buildings have a very modern architecture, they are not made in opposition with what was existing before. In Confluence district, a whole new city is being invented, while the highway will soon be transformed in a bicycle-friendly boulevard. Perrache will no longer be the slowly-dying district of industries from the past, but the first eco-friendly and connected district of Lyon. Part-Dieu district, which is the commercial center of Lyon, is being modernised, with a new train station which will be built in the years to come, and new skyscrapers which will rise in the new skyline of Lyon.

As a Lyonnais, I can only hope all these new projects for the city of Lyon will be successful. Judging by what has already been built and the current skyline, I think it is on track for achieving its goals.

Lyon, skyline at sunset

Lyon’s skyline at sunset from Croix-Rousse

Lyon, sunset over Part-Dieu Skyline

Lyon’s skyline at sunset from Croix-Rousse

Lyon, sunrise on the Skyline

Lyon’s skyline at sunrise from Rouville

If you want to see more pictures of Lyon’s skyline, don’t hesitate to visit my other articles on Lyon :

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