Lyon, also written Lyons in English, is the third largest city in France and centre of the second largest metropolitan area in the country. It is the capital of the Rhone-Alpes region and the Rhône département. It is known as a gastronomic and historical city with a vibrant cultural scene. It is also the birthplace of cinema.
Founded by the Romans, with many preserved historical areas, Lyon is the archetype of the heritage city, as recognised by UNESCO. Lyon is a vibrant metropolis which makes the most out of its unique architectural, cultural and gastronomic heritage, its dynamic demographics and economy and its strategic location between Northern and Southern Europe.
It is more and more open to the world, with an increasing number of students and international events.
The city itself has about 480,000 inhabitants. However, the direct influence of the city extends well over its administrative borders. The figure which should be compared to the population of other major metropolises is the population of Greater Lyon (which includes 57 towns or communes): about 2.1 million.
Lyon and its metropolitan area are rapidly growing and getting younger, because of their economic attractiveness.
Lyon is shaped by its two rivers, the Rhône (to the East) and the Saône (to the West), which both run North-South.