Relax at a café in one of Europe’s largest open squares and enjoy the French ambiance generated by street performers and live music.
Bellecour Square is an enormous square that serves as the central hub of Lyon. Join locals and other travelers at this common meeting spot on a peninsula between the city’s two rivers. Gaze up at the equestrian statue of Louis XIV standing proudly in the heart of the plaza.
Capture photos of the stately structures surrounding the expansive pedestrian site. The city’s tourist office and central post office are housed in these majestic buildings. Dine at one of the restaurants and cafés with tables spilling out into the square. Have coffee or a glass of wine and enjoy people-watching in this busy area.
In the western part of the plaza, see the statue of the Little Prince from the famous children’s tale by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. It honors the legendary writer, who was born in Lyon, depicting him sitting in front of his literary creation.
Notice the central statue of King Louis XIV atop a horse, typical of squares throughout France. The original version was destroyed during the French Revolution and replaced in the 1800s.
Skate on the ice rink in winter, when the square has a particularly romantic atmosphere. A Ferris wheel is installed before Christmas and is a hit with the kids. Check for concerts and other live events in the large plaza, which also hosts rallies and demonstrations.
The square has changed names many times over the centuries to reflect the changing French attitudes towards the monarchy. It began as Beautiful Garden and Royal Square before becoming Louis the Great Square, in honor of the king. During the French Revolution it was known as Federation Square and Equality Square.
Bellecour Square is just north of the Ainay district in the center of Lyon between the two rivers of Le Rhône and La Saône. Nearby attractions include the Grand Synagogue of Lyon, the old town and several beautiful bridges. Take the metro to Bellecour station.