When and how was Lyon listed as a UNESCO Heritage Site?
Lyon was listed on the UNESCO world heritage of humanity register in 1998. At the time I was Director of Culture and Heritage for the City of Lyon and was in charge of our application. The commitment and support shown by the people of Lyon for this candidacy was incredible and it's perhaps this which made a vital difference in comparison with the other applicant cities. This listing is a source of great pride to Lyon's inhabitants. Being registered in the urban site category means that Lyon has been officially recognised as one of the world's finest cities!
Which are the main UNESCO listed sites/areas?
In all, 500 hectares have been listed and in particular four districts which superbly represent Lyon's history. Fourvière, the first of the historical sites, gives us a very accurate idea of the ancient world in Lyon thanks to its Gallo-Roman site. Old Lyon is a magnificent mediaeval and Renaissance district. La Croix-Rousse was listed for its industrial heritage, concerned mainly with the silk industry. Finally, the Presqu'île area features an architectural style typical of the 19th century. UNESCO chose Lyon as this is a city which has been faithfully preserved throughout the years. Nothing has been destroyed in these districts. Lyon's construction has always been based on the outskirts, expanding outwards, as is the case today with the superb new Confluence district.
Why do you love Lyon?
Firstly I love its well preserved historical areas! As an example, while strolling through Old Lyon, I can easily imagine myself back in the Middle Ages or the Renaissance! This is also a modestly sized city and not at all stifling. Finally, Lyon is a living, human city, where people still live in the most popular tourist areas and in no way could be described as a museum city. To get a feel for this, I would strongly advise that you come along to Lyon and climb Fourvière hill to admire our town. You certainly won't be disappointed, as this is a truly magical spot!