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Ten anecdotes about Lyon to impress people at dinner parties

Not to be missed in Lyon

Last updated date : 30/05/2023

Here’s some knowledge about Lyon to slip into conversations over dinner with friends. Learn the answers to questions that everybody wants to know about our city!

You will be the star of the evening for sure!

Place Bellecour - Tristan Deschamps

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1. What’s original about the equestrian statue of Louis XIV on Place Bellecour?

This statue made by the sculptor François-Frédéric Lemot is of Louis XIV riding a horse with no stirrups. Some say that Lemot killed himself after realising he forgot the stirrups, but this is nothing more than an urban myth: he deliberately depicted the king riding “Roman-style”.

2. Why is the Lyonnais saucisson called ‘Jésus’?

Because people made it at Christmas to celebrate the birth of Christ. What’s more, people kept the best pork cuts to make this cured sausage.

3. Why is the Jacquard pullover the quintessential Lyonnais clothing item?

This pullover is named after Joseph-Marie Jacquard, inventor of the semi-automatic weaving loom in 1801. This machine enables the making of patterned knitwear, particularly the famous Jacquard pullover.

4. Why do people in Lyon gather at the Institut Lumière each year on the 19th of March?

To celebrate the first motion picture in the history of cinema, made by Louis and Auguste Lumière – ‘Workers Leaving the Lumiere Factory’ – on the 19th of March 1895. Each year, the people of Lyon are invited to appear in a remake of the famous scene at the Institut Lumière.

5. How many famous local figures are depicted in the Fresque des Lyonnais?

36 famous Lyonnais are shown in this mural, including six contemporary figures. Viewers are taken back in time as their gaze travels up the floors, with the oldest figures placed at the top of the mural.

6. For how many years did Paul Bocuse maintain three stars in the Michelin Guide?

For 53 years, from 1965 until his death in 2018. Paul Bocuse is the only chef in the world to have kept their three stars for so long.

7. What was the profession of the creator of the puppet ‘Guignol’?

Tooth puller! Laurent Mourguet made puppets to distract his customers’ attention while he extracted their teeth. Lyon’s famous Guignol was born in 1808.

8. When did the traditional funfair ‘La Vogue des Marrons’, celebrated in the Croix-Rousse district, begin?

150 years ago. This local institution is held from October to the 11th of November.

9. When can you tuck into a ‘mâchon’ in one of Lyon’s authentic ‘bouchon’ restaurants?

In the morning, like the Canut silk-workers who gathered around this copious traditional Lyonnais meal after their morning’s work. It consists of pork products and tripe, washed down with some Beaujolais or Mâcon.

10. Since when has Lyon had its own currency?

The ‘gonette’, which is accepted in certain places in Lyon, was created in 2015.