I’ve often talked about the two rivers that run through Lyon (the eastern Rhône and the western Saône), but I don’t know if I’ve ever really talked about the geography of Lyon and how it is set up. As you might know, one of Lyon’s unique points is that it was settled from west to east. This is surprising because the Romans expanded east to west; it’s quite unusual for a city to have been settled in the opposite direction. So, the west of Lyon – the area to the west of the Saône – is composed of Vieux Lyon and Fourvière Hill, the, the area between the two rivers is the presqu’île/centreville, and the area to the east of the Rhône is the newer part of the city. The Croix-Rousse is north of the presqu’île.
So why am I telling you this? Well, the two rivers meet at the southern tip of the centreville at a point called la confluence. This area is undergoing some major renovations and improvements right now in order to beautify the city. It’s not exactly allowed for people to walk directly on the confluence, but it is possible to see it from the banks of the Rhône river.
I suggest taking a few hours to visit la confluence, in order to visit both of the parks along the Rhône. When Amritaa and Lauren were here, this was the last thing we did before they left.
Start from the north. From the entrance of the Parc de la Tête d’Or, it’s around 3.75 miles along the banks of the Rhône to reach La Confluence. It’s a perfect ride for a Sunday afternoon. Start at the Tête d’Or, pick up a bike on Lyon’s ingenius bike rental system, do a quick ride through the park, and then head south. You’ll know you’ve reached it when you see a few specks of rock in the middle of the river. Then if you continue going south, you’ll reach the Parc de Gerland and its community garden. Bring some snacks and drinks if you so desire for there are plenty of places to stop for a quick pause.