Draped around the ancient Roman edifices atop Fourviére Hill, this enchanting Rennaissance-era neighborhood of beautifully preserved buildings is without a doubt Lyon's most charming attraction. It was the first protected historic distric in France, with good reason, an remains one of its most beautiful.
The oldest major buildings of Vieux Lyon date to the 11th and 12th centuries, but almost certainly many of the more modest homes, today filled with colorful cafes and appealing shops, are much older. Many have been restored since the 1960s.
The most famous sites are a trio of churches around which "Old Lyon" was constructed: famed St Jean Baptiste Cathedral; graceful St Paul, known for its bell tower and traboules (passageways between regular streets); and Gothic St Georges, overlooking the Saône. But the real pleasure here is simply meandering through the well-worn streets, enjoying every detail.
"Old Lyon" is a supremely strollable neighborhood, a twisting maze of narrow streets lined with beautifully preserved buildings that designed to protect a millennia of pedestrians from the heat, rain, and cold. The Metro D line drops you off at the Vieux Lyon station, where you can also catch the funicular to the top of Fourviére Hill, just above.