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Exploring the Traboules of Lyon

Exploring the Traboules of Lyon

Once used by silk merchants to reach the bustling markets of Lyon without damaging their wares, the city's traboules, or passageways, hark back to a bygone era. Here's how to escape the city streets and explore these hidden, secret alleyways.

 

Lyon Traboules History

The traboules of Lyon date back to the fourth century, when residents of what's now known as Vieux Lyon needed swift and simple access from their homes to the banks of the Saône River for water. Come the 18th century, Lyon's silk-weaving industry boomed and the traboules also became the perfect way for silk workers—known as canuts—to transport their products from their homes on the outskirts of town to the markets in the new city center on the Presqu'ile, between the Rhône and Saône rivers. Still in place today, the passageways offer access to many of Lyon's residential apartment buildings, with some 40 of them open to the public.

Ways to Experience Lyon's Traboules

  • Follow a tour guide on a walking tour of Lyon's historic Old Town, and hear colorful stories dating back to Renaissance France.

  • Take a theatrical walking tour in Lyon to learn of city life in the 16th century, and listen as an actor-guide sheds light on the best spots to buy silks.

  • Stroll through the UNESCO World Heritage–listed streets—from Bellecour Square to Terreaux Square and Fourvière Hill—and explore the historic courtyards and traboules of Saint-Jean Square.

  • Sample some of the praline sweet treats for which Lyon is famous at a local patisserie, then head to the Museum of Fine Arts and discover Lyon's silk-printing history.

  • Wander through the Croix-Rousse district to the ancient traboules and feel like a true Lyonnais.

  • Explore streets such as Rue du Boeuf and Rue Saint-Jean, where daily life ticks by at a relaxed pace.

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4 Tours and Activities

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Lyon Old Town Half-Day Walking Food Tour with Local Specialties Tasting & Lunch
Likely to Sell OutLikely to Sell Out

Lyon Old Town Half-Day Walking Food Tour with Local Specialties Tasting & Lunch

star-5
67
Tour and taste your way around Lyon on this half-day Old Town food tour. Save hours researching where to find the best local food, and instead, have insider knowledge from your guide. Meet local producers, and learn about Lyon’s wonderful gastronomy scene. You won’t have to worry about translation problems—your guide translates for you, as you enjoy several tastings throughout the day.
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  • 4 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$88.87
From
$88.87
Taking safety measures

Lyon Hop-On Hop-Off Tour with Audio Commentary

Lyon Hop-On Hop-Off Tour with Audio Commentary

star-4
158
The perfect introduction to France’s history-filled city, this hop-on hop-off tour of Lyon makes stops at several attractions. Enrich your visit with audio commentary in multiple languages as you listen to anecdotes about the city, its people, and its heritage. Your pass is valid for the whole day, so you can get down—and back on—as many times as you’d like.
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  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$24.88
From
$24.88
Taking safety measures

Private Gourmet walking tour of Lyon and Les Halles Paul Bocuse covered market
Likely to Sell OutLikely to Sell Out

Private Gourmet walking tour of Lyon and Les Halles Paul Bocuse covered market

Discover Lyon’s famed gastronomy with this private half-day culinary walking tour. Follow your guide to explore different neighborhoods and taste cheese, chocolate, and wine. Learn about the city’s culinary history including its bouchons (small, traditional restaurants). Visit Halles Paul Bocuse and taste several local specialties at one gourmet market. 
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  • 3 hours 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$473.98
per group
From
$473.98
per group
Taking safety measures

Private Gourmet Tour of Lyon's Historic Center
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Private Gourmet Tour of Lyon's Historic Center

star-3.5
3
Get personalized attention on this 2.5-hour private culinary tour in Old Lyon. Explore the UNESCO World Heritage-listed neighborhood and stop for tasting sessions to refuel during your walk, including chocolate, cheese, marzipan, and wine.
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$355.48
per group
From
$355.48
per group
Taking safety measures