Lyon: France's Best Kept Secret (II).
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|Four neighborhoods, at the convergence of the Rhône and Saône rivers, are registered on this list because of their special urban character and historical importance:
* The Fourvière hill. This picturesque district is located to the west of the Saône and one of Lyon's two hills and contains some of the most charming models of urban parks in the world. Still known today as "the hill that prays," in ancient times it was known as Lugdunum, the Gallic capital city, founded in 43 BC.
* 'Vieux Lyon' (Old Lyon). Located at the base of the Fourvière hill, it took on its present appearance in the 16th century, when Lyon became the capital of silk, finance and printing. Today it represents the second-largest Renaissance townscape in Europe. Vieux Lyon offers travelers opportunities to stroll through its "traboules" (networks of covered passageways), pay visits to breathtaking cathedrals, view an astronomical clock, and browse in lovely galleries.
* The Presqu'île. Located between the two rivers is the Presqu'île, a neighborhood where one can witness one thousand years of architecture. In the 17th century, the Presqu'île became the political and bourgeois centre of the city. The area boasts Place Bellecour, a square built in honor of Louis XIV, the Museum of Fine Arts, and many exquisite churches. The Lyon Opera truly represents a convergence of old and new, as it was built in the 19th century and was entirely restored and fitted with a sleek glass dome in 1990 by the architectural wizardry of Jean Nouvel.
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