Mysterious passageways, hidden towers

The oldest quarters of Lyon are punctuated with mysterious towers and courtyards, connected by street-level or underground passages. Dating back many hundreds of years, these passageways, called traboules, were originally constructed so that residents could more easily get from homes and workshops to the river, and the merchants there. You can often see the influence of the Italian Renaissance architects who came to Lyon at about the same time as the silk trade was developing.

During World War II, Lyon was a centre of French resistance, and the traboules were important as hiding places, and also for communication within the resistance network.

About 40 traboules are open to the public, and still often lead to private residences. We’ll probably see at least one of them during our walking tour.

Lyon courtyard tower

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