The Terreaux square with fountain in Lyon city, France; Shutterstock ID 281818262; Your name (First / Last): Daniel Fahey; GL account no.: 65050; Netsuite department name: Online Editorial; Full Product or Project name including edition: Lyon BiT

Shutterstock / Aurelien Laforet

Place des Terreaux


The centrepiece of the Presqu'île's beautiful central square is a 19th-century fountain made of 21 tonnes of lead and sculpted by Frédéric-Auguste Bartholdi (of Statue of Liberty fame). The four horses pulling the chariot symbolise rivers galloping seawards. The Hôtel de Ville fronting the square's east side was built in 1655 but was given its present ornate façade in 1702. Daniel Buren's polka-dot 'forest' of 69 granite fountains are embedded in the ground across much of the square.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Lyon attractions

1. Musée des Beaux-Arts

0.04 MILES

This stunning and eminently manageable museum showcases France's finest collection of sculptures and paintings outside of Paris, from antiquity onwards…

2. Opéra de Lyon

0.15 MILES

Lyon's neoclassical 1831-built opera house was modernised in 1993 by renowned French architect Jean Nouvel, who added the striking semi-cylindrical glass…

3. Place Sathonay

0.18 MILES

At the foot of Croix Rousse, this tree-shaded square has a small village atmosphere, with its bars, restaurants and cafes.

4. Musée de l'Imprimerie

0.24 MILES

From early equipment through to computerised technology, this absorbing museum traces the history of the city's printing industry.

5. Fresque des Lyonnais

0.26 MILES

Well-known Lyonnais peer out from this beautifully executed seven-storey mural, including loom inventor Joseph-Marie Jacquard (1752–1834), Renaissance…

6. Le Petit Musée Fantastique de Guignol

0.36 MILES

The star of this tiny, two-floor museum is Guignol, the Lyonnais puppet famous for its slapstick antics and political commentary. Various animated scenes…

7. Musées Gadagne

0.38 MILES

Housed in a 16th-century mansion built for two rich Florentine bankers, this twin-themed exhibition space incorporates an excellent local history museum,…

8. Palais de Justice

0.47 MILES

Facing the river in old Lyon, the grandiose neo-classical Palais de Justice is well worth a gander.