Rutronik News

City of Light

  Newsletter Article

It is the third-biggest city in France as well as an Evangelical Reformation city and Catholic episcopal see, cultural metropolis, bastion of fine cuisine, and, not least, the birthplace of cinema. In 1895, the Lumière brothers captured the first moving images on screen in Lyon and created the first film, albeit barely 50 seconds long, entitled Workers Leaving the Lumière Factory. The huge potential for the new technology quickly became clear and in the same year the brothers presented a number of short films to a paying audience.


People often feel a little hungry after watching a good film - and there is no better city than Lyon in which to placate a rumbling stomach. Believe it or not, gourmets can choose between 14 different Michelin-starred restaurants. Those who prefer things a little more down-to-earth, however, should head for the bouchons - small establishments with tables close together, check tablecloths, and simple, yet tasty regional specialties on the menu. The bouchons can be traced back to the 18th century when the first cooks who had no classic chef training initially worked in the service of wealthy bourgeois families before going self-employed and opening up their own little eateries.

Lyon not only has a rich culinary history, however: During the French Revolution the city was a place of refuge for royalists as well as Girondins that had split from the Jacobins. After the Jacobin city administration had been driven out, the National Convention launched a military assault on the rebellious city. Having been besieged for 66 days, Lyon was finally conquered on October 9, 1793. There was a call for the houses of all "opponents of the revolution" to be razed to the ground; Lyon was to become a "city with no name." The demolished houses were ultimately rebuilt under Napoleon. At the time of the Nazi occupation during the Second World War, Lyon was at the heart of the French Resistance. In the struggle against the Germans, the members of the Resistance used the traboules - special passages and staircase structures that made it possible to get from one street to many others, sometimes via inner courtyards and across different levels.

Incidentally, France's third-biggest city is not just hugely important from a culinary and cultural perspective. A number of notable companies - including Crédit Lyonnais, Sanofi-Aventis, and Rutronik - also have offices here. Lyon is also one of the oldest French centers specializing in the production of faience - the handcrafted earthenware has been made in the city since 1512.

Old Lyon and part of the Presqu'île (French for "peninsula") were declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1998 and have clearly fascinated one entrepreneur so much that he now wants to build "Lyon-Dubai City" in Dubai, including landmarks, bars, statues, and restaurants. Thus far, however, the ambitious project seems to be in a race with Berlin's Brandenburg Airport (BER) to see which can be completed first. In any case, there has been no concrete information on any progress for a number of years. It is nonetheless clear why people would want to copy Lyon's works of art: Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi, designer of the Statue of Liberty, created the Fontaine Bartholdi at the Place des Terreaux - a 21-ton sculpted fountain whose water freezes in winter to produce an even more impressive spectacle. Yet delicious food, fantastic sculptures, and secret passageways are by no means all: The city is also home to Interpol, the international police commission with 190 member states.

And if you are among the 60 percent of visitors who are in Lyon on a business trip, we have one or two tips to help you combine business with pleasure. If, on the other hand, you are among the other 40 percent, the tips naturally still apply.

Hot spot: Fourvière
The Fourvière is a hill located to the west of Lyon that offers an impressive view over the city's rooftops. The Romans founded the city on the summit of the hill. Today's basilica stands on the site of the ancient Forum Vetus, the city center during Roman times.

Hot spot: Place Bellecour
Measuring 62,000 square meters, Place Bellecour is the biggest square in Lyon and the third-biggest in France. Three important shopping streets lead there. In the center of the square is an equestrian statue of the Sun King, Louis XIV.

Restaurant: Chabert et Fils (
Chabert et Fils is a typical lyonnaise bouchon. As such, the menu features regional specialties, including salmon dishes, escargots, and various menu combinations.

Restaurant: Le Carnegie Hall (
This restaurant opened in 1990 and was inspired by Gallagher's Steakhouse in New York. It has been serving various exquisite meat specialties to passionate meat eaters ever since.

Restaurant: Paul Bocuse (
The name says it all: Paul Bocuse - the legendary "Pope of Gastronomy" - personally ran the three-star Michelin restaurant that bears his name. It serves exquisite dishes for connoisseurs of haute cuisine.

In addition to an extensive selection of beers and cocktails, the NINKASI Saint-Paul serves burgers and holds cultural events, mainly in the form of concerts by local artists.

Bar: La Taverne du Perroquet Bourré (
Guests can choose between numerous different cocktails with and without alcohol at La Taverne du Perroquet Bourré. Lovers of rum will especially get their money's worth here.

Hotel: Mob Hotel (
Good food, live music, a library, and an avant-garde ambience can all be found at the Mob Hotel in Lyon.