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Hotels & Travel » About Lyon

Lyon is a city in east-central France, in the Rhône-Alpes region, situated between Paris and Marseille. Lyon is located approximately 470 kilometres (292 miles) from Paris, 320 km (199 mi) from Marseille, 420 km (261 mi) from Strasbourg, 160 km (99 mi) from Geneva, 280 km (174 mi) from Turin. The residents of the city are called Lyonnais.

The small municipality (commune) of Lyon proper has a population of 491,268 (January 2011),  and as such is France's third largest city after Paris and Marseille, but together with its suburbs and satellite towns Lyon forms the 2nd-largest metropolitan area in France with a population of 2,188,759 at the January 2011 census.  Lyon is the capital of the Rhône-Alpes region, as well as the capital of the smaller Rhône département.

The city is known for its historical and architectural landmarks and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Lyon was historically known as an important area for the production and weaving of silk. Since the late 20th century, it has developed a reputation as the capital of gastronomy in France and in the world.

It has a significant role in the history of cinema due to Auguste and Louis Lumière, who invented the cinematographe in Lyon. The city is also known for its famous light festival, 'Fête des Lumières,' which occurs every 8 December and lasts for four days, earning Lyon the title of Capital of Lights.

Legend says that the Virgin Mary saved the city from the plague. To thank her, a statue was commissioned. On the day it was erected, the whole city was lit by candles that its citizens had put at their windows.

The local professional football team, Olympique Lyonnais, has increased Lyon's profile internationally through participation in European football championships.

Economically, Lyon is a major centre for banking as well as for chemical, pharmaceutical, and biotech industries. The city contains a significant software industry with a particular focus on video games, and in recent years has fostered a growing local start-up sector. Lyon hosts the international headquarters of InterpolEuronews and International Agency for Research on Cancer. By some measures, Lyon is ranked 2nd in France as an economic centre and convention centre. Lyon was ranked 8th globally and 2nd in France for innovation in 2011.  It ranked 2nd in France and 38th globally in Mercer's 2010 liveability rankings.