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Lyon (Municipality, Grand Lyon, France)

Last modified: 2022-03-11 by ivan sache
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Flag of Lyon - Image by Arnaud Leroy, 11 May 2003

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Presentation of Lyon

The municipality of Lyon (513,275 inhabitants in 2015; 4,787 ha) is the third most populated French town.
Lyon, then called Lugdunum, was the capital of Gallia Lugdunensis, one of the divisions of the Roman Gaul. Lug was a Celtic god, while the suffix dun refers to an elevated place or a fortress (Châteaudun, Issoudun, Verdun, Verdun-sur-le-Doubs, Dun-les-Places, Dun-sur-Auron etc.).
Lyon is located at the confluency of rivers Rhône and Saône. There was probably a sanctuary dedicated to the god Lug on the hill of Fourvière, now the place of a 19th century basilica.

Lyon was evangelized in the 2nd century; its archbishop still bear the title of Primate of Gauls.
Lyon was one of the capitals of the Kingdom of Burgundy in the 5th century, became a free town in 1193 and was definitively incorporated to France in 1307.
The development of silk industry in the 16th century transformed Lyon in one of the richest towns of France. The silk workers (canuts) lived and worked in infamous conditions and two revolts in 1831 and 1834 were severely repressed.
During the Revolution, Lyon remained strongly Royalist and the population was severely punished by the Convention, which slaughtered a lot of people and changed the town's name in 1793 to Ville-sans-nom (Town-Without-Name).

The district known as Vieux-Lyon (Old Lyon), a group of ancient houses crowded around the St. John's primatial church and linked together by a dense networks of narrow passages (locally known as traboules) was inscribed on UNESCO's World Heritage List.
Lyon is the birth place of Guignol (17th century), a famous puppet character, who symbolizes with his fellow Gnafron popular opposition to the authority.
Lyon is also legitimally famous for its traditional restaurants, called bouchons, where you can enjoy the tasty local specialities, such as tablier du sapeur, cervelle du canut or rosette de Lyon.

Ivan Sache, 19 January 2001

Flag of Lyon

The flag of Lyon is a banner of the municipal arms, "Gules a lion rampant argent armed and langued azure a chief of the third three fleurs-de-lis or".

In the 13th century, the merchants' guilds revolted against the power of the Archbishop-Count of Lyon used on their banners a lion to express their own strength. In 1320, King of France Philip V forced Archbishop Pierre of Savoy to free Lyon, which was later direcrlty administrated by the King of France, therefore the chief of France on the coat of arms.
The province of Lyonnais was assigned the municipal banner of arms of Lyon.

Ivan Sache, 11 May 2003

Sports clubs

Aviron Union Nautique de Lyon


Burgee of AUNL - Image by Ivan Sache, 25 June 2004

Union Nautique de Lyon was founded on 29 April 1880 by André Grange. The club won its first national title in 1893 (eight). In 1975, the club was renamed to Aviron Union Nautique de Lyon (website). It has won more than 30 national since 1974 and was ranked first French men's rowing club in 1996 and 1999.
Several members of AUNL have won international titles. The most successful of them is Jean-Christophe Rolland, who won the bronze medal in Atlanta and the gold medal in Sydney in double scull. Rolland was also world champion in coxed four in 1993 and double scull in 1997. Every year, the AUNL organizes a rowing festival called La Traversée de Lyon, during which hundreds of rowers row down the river Saône until its confluency with the Rhòne in the center of Lyon.

The burgee of the AUNL dates from the early years of the club. Its design honours Andre Grange's wife, who was an American of Scottish origin.The burgee has five horizontal red and white stripes converging to the point of the flag. The canton is blue with a white saltire.

Ivan Sache, 25 July 2004