Life unfolds in this beautiful and busy central square, home to a superb fountain sculpted by Statue of Liberty designer, Frédéric-Auguste Bartholdi.
Terreaux Square (Place des Terreaux) is a bustling and busy square where both city inhabitants and tourists convene. Make this your starting point to visit major shopping streets, restaurants, bars and cafés, as well as the Hôtel de Ville (City Hall).
The square is located in the 1st arrondissement in the center of Lyon. In the past, Place des Terreaux was used as a site of executions; crowds would have gathered here to watch public beheadings. It was redesigned in 1994 by architect Christian Drevet and artist Daniel Buren, who installed 69 jet fountains into the ground.
Look at the 19th-century Bartholdi fountain, the square’s eye-catching centerpiece. This magnificent lead fountain was created in 1888 by Frédéric-Auguste Bartholdi, a prominent French sculptor best known for designing the Statue of Liberty. Walk around the fountain to admire the impressive monument from all angles. The female in the middle represents France, while the four horses of the fountain symbolize the country’s main rivers.
Turn to the east side of the square to see the Hôtel de Ville, Lyon’s city hall. This grand building was originally established in the mid-17th century, but the façade you see today is from a later modification, following a fire in 1674.
While in the area, visit the Musée des Beaux-Arts, located on the south end of the square, where you can admire treasured paintings from artists including Renoir, Monet and Cézanne.
The square is a popular meeting place for workers enjoying lunch during the day and shoppers browsing the nearby stores on Rue de la République. Have a coffee in one of the cafés and watch the people on Terreaux Square meeting and mingling. Come back at night to admire the square when it’s attractively lit. After dark, it’s a busy spot for young people, who come here to socialize in nearby bars.
Reach Terreaux Square by taking the metro to the Hôtel de Ville–Louis Pradel stop. To avoid crowds, it’s best to visit in early morning.